January Is Walk Your Dog Month
What better way to start the year out right and get back into the habit of daily walks – or better yet, twice daily walks – than by celebrating Walk Your Dog Month!
There are so many benefits for dogs, including:
Exercise and weight control – moving those bones, building and maintaining muscles, and aiding circulation
Socializing – interaction with people and other pets
Energy outlet – without a positive way to release energy, some dogs can become a bit destructive and others may become anxious
Stimulating the senses – smelling the fresh air, taking in all the sounds and sights
Bonding time – with you
Unfortunately, daily dog walks aren’t always a given. According to a recent survey reported by rover.com, 79% of dog parents think their dogs should be walked two times per day, but 57% admit to skipping walks every week.
Helping to Prevent Obesity
Keep in mind that regular walks and exercise can help control your dog’s weight and limit the chances of them becoming obese. According to a 2017 clinical study by The Association of Pet Obesity Prevention, 56% of dogs in the United States are obese.
Obesity is a major contributor to arthritis, high blood pressure, kidney disease, and some forms of cancer. It can also shorten a pet’s life expectancy and reduce their overall quality of life.
Benefits for Pet Parents
For humans, these walks are beneficial for nearly all the same reasons. In addition, taking a walk during the day helps stimulate melatonin and serotonin production. Plus, it’s a great stress reliever and gives you irreplaceable, uninterrupted time with your best friend.
Tips For Fun and Stress-Free Walks
Be present. Instead of burying your face in your phone, pay attention to what your dog is experiencing. Instead of constantly pulling every time they pause, Let them sniff along the way. This is their version of social media. They are taking in communication from dogs and other animals.
Use a harness rather than a collar. This is because, over time, pulling can cause damage to the trachea. Harnesses also work well to even body weight and can be very helpful for dogs with mobility issues and sore joints.
If your dog seems anxious or reactive on walks, consider offering CBD around a half-hour before setting out on a trek. There are many excellent products available from companies including Treatibles, holistapet, Honest Paws, Doc Silver Naturals, Suzie’s CBD, and more.
During the winter months, it is also important to protect your pet’s paws from frostbite and cracking. Booties are now widely available. If your dog is not a fan, consider a balm made for those precious pads. Musher’s Secret, Paw Soother by Natural Dog Company, and Skout’s Honor Prebiotic Pet Balm are excellent choices.
Cats and Walking
While it is commonplace for dogs to go on daily walks, cats are beginning to get in on the fun. Breeds like Bengals, Savannahs, and high-energy kitties, love to be walked. It gives them a chance to explore, mark their territory, expend energy and have interactive time with their human.
According to cat behaviorist Jackson Galaxy, a.k.a., the Cat Daddy, leash walking is also great because it provides an extra dose of exercise and they come home tired.
Keep in mind that not all cats want to be walked. Cats who show no interest in the outside or may even be afraid to do so, should not be walked. However, if a cat seems to be fascinated looking out of the window or is curious every time the door is opened, he or she may be a perfect candidate.
Some Helpful Tips for Walking your kitty
Use a secure harness, fastened to a leash. Training to get to this point can take a couple of weeks. Start by introducing the harness to your cat inside the house. Let the cat get used to the feel. Give a treat when putting the harness on. Some cats take to it quickly, some do not.
Walking a cat is different than walking a dog. Cats may stop every few steps to sniff. They may pounce on a bug. They may want to explore a bush. Be gentle when guiding your cat away from an unwanted space.
For more pet health and lifestyle information, please visit HealthyPetCoach.com.