Owning a dog is a big responsibility. There’s a lot more to it than feeding it once or twice a day and patting its head every now and then when you pass by.
I won’t go into all the requirements to ensure your dog is healthy in body and mind in this post, but will focus on just one of the important factors – walking.
To remain happy, dogs need stimulation. Even if you have a big backyard, dogs will generally not exercise on their own. Sure, you can play with them in the garden and throw toys for them to chase, but getting outside of their ‘four walls’ at least a few times a week, if not daily, will benefit their well-being in the following ways:
- Allows them to sniff new smells and check ‘wee-mails’ from other dogs in the neighbourhood.
- Stops them being bored and destructive in the backyard or house.
- They get some interaction with other dogs and people – very important for a well-socialised dog.
- Keeps their muscles worked and toned, which aids in maintaining a healthy weight.
- Gives them a purpose and something to look forward to.
- Provides an opportunity for you and your dog to strengthen your bond and perhaps do some training.
However, along with the benefits to your dog of going for a walk, there are benefits for you too! Yes, it’s a win-win!
A brisk walk for 30 minutes a day has been shown to
- Increase cardiovascular and pulmonary (heart and lung) fitness
- Reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke
- Improve management of conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, joint and muscular pain or stiffness, and diabetes
- Strengthen bones and improve balance
- Increase muscle strength and endurance
- Reduce body fat
These are very similar things your dog will benefit from so you’re helping both you and your dog by going for a walk.
But wait, there’s more!
In addition to the physical health benefits of taking your dog for walk, it’s a chance for you to have some ‘me’ time. You can turn off your phone, rest your eyes from the glare of screens, escape the demands of family and work.
Just you and your dog. His smile as he looks up at you by his side is priceless. The wagging tail and flip flop flapping ears as he trots along is magical. His enthusiastic sniffing of bushes is comical. His joy for life is contagious.
The ‘noise’ inside your head quietens. You notice a lovely breeze as it washes over you. You can smell the heady scent of roses wafting in the air. You can see bees darting from flower to flower. You hear birds high in the trees chirping happily to each other. You smile. You take a deep breath. You relax. You reach down and pat your dog. He wiggles all over.
Together you’re ready to face whatever LIFE throws at you next.
Walking your dog is not a chore, it’s a life saver