Let’s Get Walking!

2023 has finally come around.  It’s a new year and it’s time to turn the page with new habits and resolutions to improve our lives and overall health.  Considering January is National Walk Your Dog Month, what better way to start the year than make it a habit to get outside more and walk your furry four legged friend!  Walks are important for our pets for multiple reasons. Listed below are a few reasons why walking your dog is one of the number one exercises for you and your pet. 

  1. Walking is one of the healthiest exercises for your dog.  Physically it gives them a chance to stretch their legs and burn some calories especially in the winter when pets are getting out less. 
  1. Getting outdoors gives you a chance to spend one on one time together.  Walking together strengthens the bond between you and your pet.  It is a quiet time to get to know your pet better and how your pet behaves in the outside world. 
  1.  Walks are a perfect training opportunity.  Considering all the different and new stimuli that your dog will experience, walking is a great time to fine tune some of those behavioral skills that may need to be worked on.
  1. Not only is walking physically good for your pet, mentally this activity provides numerous benefits for your animal.  Sniffing actually provides stress and anxiety relief.  Dogs get to learn the smells of other pets and animals in the neighborhood.  They can identify what is normal in their surroundings and understand what is routine.
  1.  Regular walks are a good way to socialize your dog!  Dogs are social animals.  They need to learn how to interact with other people, dogs, animals and everything in between.  Exposing your pet to social situations is key for a well rounded pet.  

If your dog is not necessarily friendly to others, walking can also be an opportunity to understand how to better help your pet through these situations. Avoiding all social situations in general can actually grow fears and uncertainty.  Learning how to be your pet’s best advocate is essential in any social scenario.

All in all, routinely walking your dog is a great habit to start out with in the New Year.  Remember that since the months are cold, walks may be shorter during this time. There may also be times when it is below freezing that due to extreme temperatures you may have to avoid the outdoors altogether.  In addition, something to think about is that your pet also may like to cozy up in a sweater, jacket, or booties. Lastly, remember that regular walks are great for us humans too.  So, if becoming healthier, better you in 2023 was on your list of resolutions, walking with your dog is a great way to get started for everyone.  

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