Did you know that Friday 1 October is the start of National Walk Your Dog week? This annual event has been running for the first seven days in October each year since 2010.
Read on to find out everything you need to know about it and how you can get involved!
Why you should walk your dog regularly
There are three main benefits of walking your dog regularly:
1) physical health benefits
2) mental health benefits
3) behaviour benefits
Let’s look at each benefit in turn.
Physical health benefits
Did you know that almost half of all dogs in Australia are overweight or obese? And that less than 50% of owners don’t walk their dogs regularly?
Carrying too much weight is just as bad for dogs as it is to humans. It can lead to serious health issues that will shorten their lifespan, including:
- heart and liver disease,
- osteoarthritis in their joints.
Regular exercise can also help to keep your canine companion’s digestive and urinary health.
Lack of regular exercise like walking is a major contributor to our furry friends putting on weight. All dogs need at least some regular exercise, but some breeds need more than others. Examples of dogs that need plenty of exercise include:
- Golden Retrievers
- Border Collies
- German Shepherds
- Blue Heelers.
Regular walks (or runs) with your best friend can also help you with your own healthy exercise routine too!
Mental health benefits
Dogs also enjoy the mental stimulation of being out and about walking with their owners. There will always be so many interesting smells for your buddy to explore, especially if you mix up your walking routes.
Just like people, dogs can get bored when they don’t leave home for extended periods. If your dog is left alone at home for long periods, find the time for a regular walk. It will help to strengthen your emotional bond. Your pal will love to spend some one-on-one time walking with you.
Regular walks can also help your dog to sleep better at night.
When dogs get bored, they can behave destructively, especially when they have to work off excess energy. Talking your dog for a regular walk can help you to avoid behavioural problems like excessive barking, whining or chewing.
Puppies can also get more used to socialising if they are taken for regular walks from a young age, especially if you have some treats on hand to reward good behaviour. Look at your walks as a training opportunity.
Where should you walk your dog?
Anywhere that’s safe and interesting! As long as you meet those criteria, you’re really only limited by your imagination. Mix things up by going to beaches, parks and nature trails, as well as exploring different parts of your own neighbourhood.
How often should you walk your dog?
This depends on the age, health and breed of your dog. Active breeds will need more exercise than less active breeds. Similarly, younger dogs will be able to handle more exercise than older ones. If you have any health concerns, check with your vet for advice.
Ideally, you should walk your pooch at least once a day for 20 minutes or more. Try and do it morning and afternoon if you can.
But at the very least, you should try and walk your pal three times a week for at least 20 minutes.
Make sure that your buddy has:
- a secure lead,
- a comfortable harness
- appropriate identification
- up-to-date vaccinations,
- up-to-date flea, tick and heartworm treatments.
Avoid going for walks in the hottest part of the day, especially in summer. It’s a great idea to carry water for both of you when you walk at other times.
How we can help
At DOOG, we have a great range of accessories to help make walking your dog easy and fun for you both, including:
- walking bags and belts
- walkie pouches
- walking and training kits
- portable bowls and water bottles
- fetchable toys
- pickup bags
You can order online or find a retailer near you who stocks our high-quality products.