It's below zero yet again and you have just gotten comfortable in your favorite sweatshirt, pair of jeans, and fuzzy slippers. Just as you’re about to start a great book, your dog approaches with her leash in her mouth. It’s time for her daily walk. If you feel tempted to shoo her aber that your dog needs this daily exercise for her well-being. As long as you dress for the weather, it’s just as good for you.
When you skip your dog’s daily walk too often, he will likely respond with behavioral challenges. This could include acting destructive in the house, barking too often, or even reverting in house training. It also increases the likelihood of your dog becoming overweight. In fact, the website Slim Doggy reports that just 30 minutes of walking each day is enough to help your dog maintain a healthy weight
. Although it may feel like the last thing you want to do on a cold February day, we encourage you to grab the leash and get going.
The Benefits of a Daily Walk from Your Dog’s Perspective
Walking through the neighborhood with you provides your dog with mental stimulation so that she doesn’t become bored and destructive. It also satisfies the desire to roam. Other benefits of daily walking for your dog include:
Regular exercise can help to prevent certain types of obesity-related diseases
Your dog receives social interaction with people and other dogs
Dogs that walk together every day bond as a pack
Your dog receives undivided attention from you
Walking helps to increase your dog’s confidence as she learns how to deal with a range of situations
As beneficial as it is to walk your dog daily, you do need to pay attention to signs that your dog may have had too much exposure to cold weather and is ready to go home. Common indications include anxiety, disorientation, fatigue, and whining. It’s fine to cut your walk short and try again tomorrow if your dog appears uncomfortable.
Walking Every Day is Good for People Too
Seasonal Affective Disorder is all too common in Minnesota and Wisconsin due to our long, cold winters with limited hours of daylight. However, depression can occur any time of the year. Research proves that walking releases serotonin in the brain that can significantly elevate your mood.
Walking also helps you to lose or maintain weight as well as lower your chances of developing diabetes, cancer, heart disease, or stroke. While you might grumble when your dog reminds you that it’s time for a walk, you should thank her instead! Finally, a daily walk helps to strengthen your bond with your dog and gives her something to look forward to every day.
Please contact Grantsburg Animal Hospital or Wild River Veterinary Clinic if you’re experiencing common dog walking problems such as your dog trying to take the lead or pulling on the leash. We are happy to recommend some behavioral training techniques. Be sure to check out our online store for walking supplies
such as leashes and harnesses as well.
Photo Credit: vitalytitov / Getty Images