dog owner walking dog

Owning a pet is a big responsibility. Not only do you have to take care of their physical health, but you also need to make sure they stay mentally healthy and happy. There are different ways to achieve this, but one of the best is simply getting them outside and walking them around your neighborhood.

Walking your pet helps you stay fit too! It’s a great way to burn calories and reduce stress—so you can feel good about yourself while having fun with your dog.

And since January is National Walk Your Dog Month, these are some of the reasons why walking your pet is so important. 

Walking Promotes Weight Control

Walking your dog is an excellent way to ensure they get enough exercise. Try to walk for a minimum of 30 minutes per day—more if possible. Some experts recommend two sessions of 30 minutes daily. If your pet’s not accustomed to this type of exercise, start by walking around the block once and watch how they respond to the activity. The next time you go out, add another block onto your route, building up gradually to a longer route.

Alternatively, build up to a 30-minute walk by focusing on the duration of the walk instead of distance. Try to increase the duration of the walk by five-minute increments every day or two until you’ve built up to the desired time.

You can do several things to get the most out of your daily strolls. For example, it can be both helpful and motivating to measure the amount of exercise your dog is getting by using either a pedometer or activity tracker.

Walking Stimulates Mental Health

Walking your pet offers many physical benefits for the human and canine household members. But did you know that it also helps contribute to mental wellness?

Exercise can reduce stress and anxiety in humans, and; the same is true with pets. Your pet’s mental health may suffer without sufficient activity. Lack of exercise can lead to lethargy or stress and may cause them to act out in negative ways. Encouraging your pet to get up and move around regularly will improve their quality of life. 

Walking Improves Cardiovascular Health

Walking your dog for at least 30 minutes daily can significantly improve your pet’s heart and lung health. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), “exercise helps to lower blood pressure and cholesterol, improves circulation, and provides relief from pain.”

Walking Builds the Human/Pet Bond

It can be challenging to carve out 30 minutes or more each day to walk your pet. But since this simple activity provides so many physical and mental benefits, it’s important to find the time and make it a priority.

Additionally, walking your pet allows you to bond with them in ways other activities don’t. Dog walks let you experience the outdoors, see new sights and smells, and feel the sun on your face while getting exercise—all while spending quality time with your best friend.

Walking Helps Prevent Destructive Behavior

Walking your pet is an easy way to help them stay calm and prevent destructive behavior. Dogs are happier, healthier, and less likely to develop behavioral problems when they get regular exercise.

Finding the time to walk your pet can be challenging, but you can make this commitment with some planning and preparation. Walking your pet promotes weight control, heart and lung health, good mental health, and discourages behavior problems—making it well worth the effort. And your own health will benefit too!The team at Blue Valley Animal Hospital wishes you and your pet a happy and healthy New Year in 2023!