What dog doesn’t love a daily walk? Outdoor physical activity, like dog walking, is not only important for a dog’s physical health, but it’s great for a pup’s emotional well-being too. Here’s a look at why it’s a good idea to get the leash out and take Fido for a stroll.
As with humans, inactivity can lead to a dog packing on the pounds. Dogs need daily exercise to keep their digestive system running smoothly and to prevent constipation. Even with a yard to roam in, a dog may not actually run around unless a human companion is out there with a Frisbee or ball, inspiring the pup to play. That’s why a daily walk is important. The appropriate length and pace of a walk depend on the dog’s breed, fitness level and age — but for many dogs, 30 minutes is ideal. According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, 10 minutes at a brisk pace and 20 minutes of leisurely walking is a good starting point for dogs carrying extra pounds.
Curb the enthusiasm
Regular exercise can be calming for a dog and help with expelling pent-up energy. After a walk, dogs tend to be more relaxed and less likely to chew on table legs, ruin clothing or engage in other unwanted behavior. Tired dogs are also less likely to bark and whine. Once it’s time to settle down for the night, a dog that’s had physical activity is more inclined to curl up in its bed and sleep.
Enhance the emotional bond
Dog walking is a great way for dog owners to spend time with their pup, which creates a strong emotional bond. Walks can also help a pooch build trust with other dogs, according to PedMD.com. Dogs need attention, and they tend to feel a heightened sense of comfort having their owner nearby, which enables them to feel more confident when confronted with other canines in the neighborhood. A daily walk is especially encouraging for timid dogs, rescue dogs or fearful dogs with a background of abuse.
Like humans, dogs get antsy if they’re housebound all day. But when out on a walk, their senses are stimulated and they have the opportunity to explore bushes, cracks in the pavement and anything else in their path — all while enjoying the sunshine and sniffing everything in sight. Walks are also a good time for owners to practice training exercises and have their dog learn to “heel” on command and other helpful leash manners.
Yes, there’s a reason that dogs tend to wag their tail and jump about when it’s time for a walk. Dogs don’t like being on house arrest. Instead, they want to get out and enjoy the great outdoors, spend time with their owner, meet other dogs, and explore the neighborhood — all of which are a great benefit to a dog’s physical health and sense of well-being.