Daily walks can help improve your dog's physical and mental health. Walks enable your dog to burn calories, and this could help in maintaining a healthy weight. Canines are naturally social creatures, and walking helps them get to know their neighborhood and meet other dogs. In addition, daily walks are an ideal time to teach behavioral skills and commands like sit and stay. When taking your dog for a walk, always use a leash. You may want to use a harness if your dog pulls on the leash too hard. A harness will take the strain off of your dog's neck and help make the walk more pleasant. If you are walking your dog on a hot day, you may want to carry a small container of water on the journey. Walking booties designed for dogs could make it safer for your dog to walk on hot or cold surfaces. The booties protect your dog's paws from being burned by hot pavement in the summer, and they will help prevent ice burns during winter walks. Always check with your veterinarian for recommendations about safe walking practices for your dog's health needs.
The guide below discusses some of the major benefits associated with daily walks for dogs.
Along with calorie control, most veterinarians believe a daily walk prevents obesity in dogs. Roughly fifty-four percent of dogs and cats in the United States are overweight or obese. Daily walks keep your dog active and allows them to burn more calories than they would through resting. Daily walking may increase your dog's metabolism, allowing them to burn more calories throughout the day. To prevent obesity, veterinarians recommend that dogs be walked for at least an hour and a half per day. Ideally, you should walk your dog at a pace of fifteen minutes per mile. Research suggests a dog who weighs twenty pounds will burn approximately sixty-four calories per hour when walking at this pace. Walking should be used in conjunction with a calorie-controlled diet, and experts recommend that you do not reward your pet with treats after the walk. Your veterinarian can help you determine a healthy weight and calorie intake for your dog.
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A daily walk mitigates boredom for your dog by enabling them to see new sights and experience different smells and changes in the weather. Just like people, dogs can get bored and even depressed if they are kept indoors or in the same place for several hours, and walking serves as a source of stimulation for their minds. Bored dogs could start to engage in destructive behaviors at home, including chewing household items. Walking may reduce these behavioral issues. To reduce boredom as much as possible, veterinarians suggest you consider walking your dog in several different locations. You might want to vary your dog's walking route around the neighborhood, and you could also try walking your dog at a local park or on a trail if possible. For maximum stimulation, it can be beneficial to walk your dog once in the morning and again in the evening.
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A walk increases socialization opportunities for your canine companion. During your daily outings, your dog will likely encounter other dogs. If the other dog appears friendly and the owner agrees, you may want to allow your dog to go over and visit with the other canine. Never let your dog try to greet a dog who barks aggressively or displays threatening behavior. To maximize your dog's opportunities to meet other dogs, you may want to take them on walks at a local dog park a few times a week. In addition to providing socialization with other animals, a daily walk gives your dog more opportunities to learn social and behavioral skills for interacting with people. Dogs are generally very protective when they are at their own homes, and walks offer your dog the chance to interact with your neighbors in neutral territory. Even if your dog would never allow a neighbor to pet them at home, you may find your canine companion is much more approachable during walks. They may gladly accept touch from a neighbor or total strangers during daily strolls. Socialization on walks could help improve your dog's behavior at boarding and grooming facilities and the veterinarian's office.
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Walking helps your dog build stronger muscles. Muscles help protect your dog's joints, and building muscle strength could reduce your dog's risk of developing arthritis and other painful orthopedic conditions. Walking will increase your dog's bone density, and it will also promote tendon health. Having stronger muscles could decrease your dog's likelihood of a leg or hip injury as well. Veterinarians recommend walking for dogs of all ages. If your dog has an underlying medical condition or appears to be in any pain while walking, you should consult a veterinarian before starting regular walks. Walking at an incline helps your dog build strength in the muscles of the hind legs, and it is recommended that you include some hills in your daily walks if possible. Some pet owners even choose to add weights to their dog's legs during walks for extra strength training, but this should only be done if approved by a veterinarian. Daily walks are particularly important for rebuilding muscle in dogs recovering from orthopedic surgery. Make sure to obtain medical clearance for your dog before starting any post-surgery workouts, and check with your veterinarian about the suggested frequency and duration of walks.
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Daily walks will help your dog have a healthy heart. Physical activity makes your dog's heart rate increase, and their heart will work harder during exercise. With regular exercise, your dog's heart will become more efficient, and their cardiovascular endurance will increase. A healthy heart could lower your dog's risk of cardiovascular disease and congestive heart failure, and it may increase their lifespan and quality of life. If your dog pants excessively after a walk or seems short of breath, seek veterinary care right away. To protect your dog's health, avoid taking walks during the hottest part of the day in the summer, since this may place too much strain on your dog's heart. Your veterinarian will assess your dog's overall heart health at every routine visit, and always ask about any concerns you may have.