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Top 3 Benefits of Walking with Your Dog

 

It’s no secret that we love dog walking, but it’s also great for you to hit the pavement with your pup as well. Both you and your dog will benefit from frequent walks. Here are the top 3 benefits you can reap by walking with your four-legged friend.

1.) Helps with weight control

Physical activity plays a role in keeping excess weight off. Routinely walking with you pet will not only keep them from getting wider, you’ll notice that you are also keep off unwanted weight. Plus, it improves your mood which make you less likely to stress eat and you’ll have more energy to fix healthy food.

 

2.) Deepens your bond

Our days are busy and they fly by at a record pace. It’s easy to get caught up in daily schedules and forget to spend quality time with your pet. But, when you do take the time out to spend with your dog, you will grow closer. This time is extremely important to your dog’s behavioral development and will provide the foundation for a trusting relationship.

3.) Stronger physical and mental health

Both humans and dogs alike have several health issues that benefit from regular exercise. Plus, the extra activity is great for overcoming  boredom. You’ll start to see improved behaviors around the house because they won’t be as bored or have as much pent up energy.

 

Of course, we love being able to walk your dog while you’re not around, but it’s never too late for you to start walking too. Start out slow and work your way up to longer and longer walks. And make sure to check out these tips for finding the best collar and leash for you and your dog. Soon you’ll feel and see all of the benefits of the new routine.

 

What Are Dog Walking Options for My Older Dog?

 

As our dogs age their needs also change. Depending on your dog’s breed, they may be considered a senior pet at different ages.  Large breeds as young as 6 years old can sometimes be considered older, while smaller breeds may not be senior status until about 10-12 years. Walking your dog only gets more important as they age, here are some things to take in account when thinking about dog walking with your older dog.

  • As dogs age they tend to be less active throughout the day.

Older dogs do a lot more laying around the house than they did when they were young. Gone are the days of crazily batting around a water bottle or chasing balls around the house. Because of this, they also get far less exercise which is undeniably important to their health.

Weight management is one of the biggest benefits of walking with your older dog. Since they are moving less, sometimes this is the only real exercise they get all day. It also helps loosen their muscles, wards of fat, and stimulates their minds, both of which keep them fresh and feeling good.

  • Most senior dogs need more potty breaks.

As your pup creeps up to senior citizen status they may have a harder time holding in their bathroom needs all day. They need more frequent trips to the bathroom to avoid accidents, UTI’s and overall be more comfortable throughout the day.

  • You may need to change the duration and frequency of their walks.

While it is very important to get your dog out and moving every day, the dynamic of the walk will likely need to change. Senior dogs benefit more from shorter walks at least twice a day (morning, noon and night would be the best).  Sometimes the weather does not agree with the older dog, if it’s too hot or too cold in the morning or at night, walking them at the warmest/coolest part of the day is key.

If they’ve had the same leash and collar for the last decade, it may be time to give them an upgrade.  Opting for a shorter leash and a harness will help keep their neck and joints safe. Even though they may feel like a puppy again on beautiful days, if they jolt to try and get a squirrel they could end up with an injury.

There’s something special about senior dogs. When they flick those loving yet all-knowing eyes in your direction your heart melts. That’s why it’s so important to make sure they continue to live a long and healthy life.

 

How to Safely Go On a Dog Walk After Dark

 

I know, that evening walk around the block is a lot harder and somewhat scarier this time of year. It becomes very dark so early in the evening and with the snow, ice, wind, and those scary noises that turn out to be the bunny under the bush, it is easy to just say “we’ll go tomorrow, Fido”. Here are some suggestions that will help give you the confidence to go ahead and take your dog in the dark for a nice evening stroll.

Wear Reflective Gear

Both you and your dog should wear something reflective. Remember that reflective means it requires an outside light source to work. Items like reflective collars, leashes, and vests work best when used on the sidewalk or wherever headlights will illuminate you and are not much help if you are walking on a nature trail. Be sure that the leash you choose has the reflective material on both sides to be very visible.

LED Wear

There are some very cool, small dog-safe LED lights on the market now. These work in different ways (some push on while some twist) but they all easily attach to the dogs collar and hang near the ID tags. Some of the above mentioned gear also have LED lights embedded within them. The LED lights are very bright and can be some from a long distance in complete darkness.

Cold Weather Gear

Even the toughest dogs who love this type of weather can still feel the effects of the cold, snow and ice. Be sure to protect your dog’s feet with pad cream (be careful though as this might make slippery conditions a little trickier), or with the many different varieties of snow booties available today. These come in a range of sizes, styles, and prices but if you go out hiking often in this weather, you may want to invest in some. Fido may walk a little funny at first but will get used to them very fast.   A jacket of some type is also recommended for our dogs that have little hair or are very sensitive to the cold. Beagles, Boxers and other short haired dogs will thank you for the extra layer. These also are available in a ton of different styles and prices but if you shop around you will find the right one in no time.

Your Clothing

Now, we have Fido all decked out and ready to go but don’t forget yourself! Always wear reflective or LED as well and avoid dark clothing. You have to be as visible as your dog. Also, we’ve all heard about dressing in layers. Try to wear a few lighter layers with material that will wick away the moisture if you get wet (or work up a sweat) closest to your skin. Don’t forget your warm hat and gloves and always wear warm socks with your safest walking shoes. Remember that nobody will care what you look like and this is not style competition.

Other Gear

Always bring a flashlight. A small but bright flashlight can be helpful for finding those nighttime deposits that Fido leaves on the neighbor’s lawn and can also assist in visibility with other nighttime strollers. You might try a headlamp if you need your hands free.

Nighttime Distractions

You know they are out there. Those nocturnal animals that the darkness brings out create a whole new set of distractions. In the day time you are ready for the squirrel, rabbit or cat that might cross your path but at night you also get raccoons, fox and skunks. This is also where that flashlight can be helpful. Please have good control of your dog as well. A little sniffing and investigating can turn into a fight with something wild and possibly rabid so it is best to have already taught your dog what “leave it” and “let’s go” mean as well as have good leash manners.

Route Safety

Please be careful when considering and choosing your path for your nighttime walks. There are routes that are just more tricky in the dark than others. Stay away from those desolate roads, dark paths, very busy city streets or those parts of the city that just are not as safe at night for you or Fido. It is recommended that you stay in a familiar area or where other nighttime dog walkers are out and about.

Don’t worry. With the right gear and some planning, you can be sure that both you and your dog enjoy your walk and are back in the warmth and security of home with no problems. It can be a quiet and bonding time for you and your dog and you might come home with a great story to tell about that attack rabbit!

 

Reasons to Walk Your Dog Today!

 

Getting outside everyday to walk your dog provides them with mental and physical stimulation, socialization and training opportunities, and positive attention.  Putting your dog outside in your fenced-in yard will not force your dog to exercise and more often we see dogs will resort to boredom barking, trying to escape the yard, or becoming your best (or worst) landscaper.  Simply having a large back yard is not going to satisfy your dog’s need for exercise or mental stimulation.  According to the Clinician’s Brief, “Generally, people walk their dog for 4 reasons: elimination, mental stimulation, exercise, and training. Dogs like to go for walks to get outdoors, sniff and engage with their environment, exercise, and perhaps socialize with people and dogs outside the home. There is no reason that a walk cannot encompass and meet all the needs of both humans and dogs.”  And, we at Wet Noses Pet Sitting completely agree, it’s time to get outside and walk your dog!


3 types of walks

There are three kinds of walks that we suggest as a varied routine.

  1. Exploratory walks allow your pet to sniff, smell, and generally meander through its surroundings.
  2. Purposeful walks are to relieve herself or retrieve an item.
  3. Long walks to tire your pup out give her an outlet for all that pent up energy.

Varied mental and physical stimulation will allow your dog to be at her most trainable and calm.

Socialization – a bonus!

During a walk is a good chance to work on leash manners and while you’re out walking, your pooch is most likely going to meet other dogs. This helps your dog learn normal behaviors and etiquette by taking social cues from other canines.  It also helps your dog build confidence so that when she meets new friends she isn’t afraid.  Giving your dog lots of opportunities to work on socialization and training will help your companion be on her best behavior in a variety of situations without anxiety or fear.

Tired dog = a good dog

Getting out regularly to walk your dog gives them a sense of well-being.  They love the positive attention and quality time. Plus, dogs who are taken for daily walks, are less likely to be destructive, obsessive, have separation anxiety and/or dominance issues, among many other behavior problems.  A tired dog is a happy dog.  And a happy dog makes for a happy owner.

Remember, your dog depends on you for her quality of life. By taking advantage of different types of walks to stimulate her mentally and physically, providing opportunities for socialization and training, and spending quality time with your canine companion, you will help your furry friend be balanced, healthy and happy for a lifetime. If you have questions about dog walks or need help waking your dog regularly contact us at Wet Noses Pet Sitting!