Walking your dog.

At Blue Valley Animal Hospital, we want to help you to ring in the New Year right by celebrating National Walk Your Dog Month this January. Walking your dog is an important part of bonding with your pet as well as a great way to support pet health (and your own). Read on to learn how to do it right!

The Benefits of Walking Your Dog

There are so many reasons to get out and walk with your pet. Walking your dog supports pet health and human health in more ways than one. 

Going for a walk:

  • Promotes a healthy body weight and prevents obesity for pets and people
  • Improves cardiovascular health for everyone involved
  • Lowers stress levels
  • Strengthens the human-animal bond
  • Provides mental and physical stimulation
  • Promotes digestive and urinary health
  • Decreases behavioral problems
  • Can help you to meet new people
  • Allows your pet to socialize

Let’s not forget our feline friends, either. Some cats enjoy walking in a well-fitted harness as well. 

Getting the Most From Your Stroll

Not all walks are created equal, though. Maximize your pet health benefits by using our favorite tips when walking your dog (or cat).

  • Use a well-fitted leash or harness to keep your pet secure
  • Select a leash that is comfortable to hold and appropriately sized for your pet (Flexi-leads tend to be an unsafe choice due to lack of control)
  • Make sure to use reflective gear and/or lights if walking at night
  • Don’t let the weather stop you (within reason), but be careful on icy or snowy days or if temperatures dip below zero
  • Walk at a comfortably brisk pace to maximize health benefits
  • Take breaks for your pet to explore for ultimate mental stimulation
  • Bring along water for hydrating pets and people
  • Change up your route to keep everyone on their toes
  • Bring along baggies to take care of any waste
  • Listen to your pet’s signals about how far is too far (if you need help determining an appropriate length of time or distance for your pup, please ask us)
  • Be sure that your pet’s tags and microchip are up to date
  • Keep vaccinations and parasite prevention current (you never know what you might run into!)

Make it a goal this January to celebrate by getting out and walking your pet. New Year’s resolutions aren’t always easy to keep, but this one is full of so many benefits for you and your pet, we are willing to say that you won’t regret taking on this task.