Let’s face it: we could all use more exercise and outdoor time. And the same could be said of the nation’s four-legged woofers, more than half of which are reported to be overweight.
Such then was the thinking behind National Walk Your Dog Week (October 1-7), a public service campaign founded in 2010 that endeavors to heighten “awareness about the dangers of pet obesity”, curb destructive habits (like incessant barking and shoe-chewing), and, ultimately, deepen the bond between pet and person. From weight control to socialization, regular exercise has been tied to an assortment of health benefits for both walker and walkee.
Before you put your pup on parade, here are 4 things to know.
What’s Good For Them Is Good For You
Studies reveal that 3 30-minute strolls per week can reduce a dog’s weight by 15% — that’s a lot of kibble! — and a human’s by 5% (*glances at mirror, nods approvingly*). Secondary wins for both parties include lower blood pressure, increased stamina, and improved cardiovascular health.
More Walks, More Wags
As the creators of NWYDW note, a huge number of dogs are sheltered on account of behavioral issues, some of which stem directly from a shortage or lack of exercise. Getting pooches out of cramped crates, cages, and runs will swiftly remedy this: “Give your dog the exercise that he or she needs and you’ll find that a tired dog … is a good dog!”
It’s A Dog-Meets-Dog World
While cats might be content to laze the day away on the couch, canines crave interaction with people and, more importantly, other dogs. Walks on the regular afford them the opportunity to experience new things (so! many! things! to! smell!), see new places, and befriend other animals.
Dogs are also the original icebreaker so if that cutie at the park is flashing you a smile, that’s your cue to introduce yourself (and possibly find a new walking partner!). Like we said, what’s good for your pet is good for you. 🙂
Fur-r-r-iends That Walk Together Stay Together
Just like people, a relationship with a dog is what you make of it. As daily and weekly walks form the cornerstone of a trusting and loving relationship, it’s an easy way to show your dog how important they are to you.
Research also reveals that these benefits flow both ways: scheduled exertion eases anxiety and fights off loneliness and depression, which can be particularly acute for older pet owners who live alone.
Tell us readers: What’s your dog walking routine like? Share your tips and tricks in the comment section below!