Walk Your Dog Month

Walk Your Dog Month

January is Walk Your Dog Month! Of course, one might argue that every single month is Walk Your Dog Month. That would not be inaccurate! Dogs should be walked on a daily basis, not just for hygiene reasons, but also for exercise and enrichment. Continue reading for advice from a local Mt. Airy, GA veterinarian on taking your canine buddy for a walk.

Why Is It Important to Walk My Dog?

Unless you have a yard for Fido to patrol and chase squirrels around in, walks are necessary for sanitary purposes. However, that’s not the only reason they’re important! Fido also requires exercise, excitement, and a change of environment. Those strolls are also great for bonding!

In general, you should aim to walk your canine companion every day. If you have a yard and spend time outside playing with your pet, Fido is probably not going to be upset if you miss one or two strolls. However, skipping his walks regularly could prove detrimental.

One reason for this is a simple exercise. Dogs, like humans, require regular physical activity to stay happy and healthy. The amount and type of exercise that your pet needs will vary according to his age, size, breed, and health. Some dogs need up to an hour of strenuous activity each day. For others, a quick daily walk will do. For more particular information, consult your veterinarian.

Walks also offer mental stimulation. They allow Fido to experience a new environment while also spending precious time with you. Dogs learn a lot from smelling things, which provides enrichment. Of course, for many pups, the opportunity to chase squirrels is a perk. 

What Should I Bring When I Walk My Dog?

Even if you’re only going for a walk around the block, it’s a good idea to bring a few things. Some of the items you might wish to carry are:

  • Spare Keys
  • Water
  • Waste Baggies
  • A Phone
  • Training Treats
  • A Phone Charger
  • A Flashlight
  • Gloves

You may wish to set aside a jacket or fanny pack for walking your pet. Carry everything you need in your pockets. That way, you will only need to grab one item on your way out the door!

Do I Still Have To Walk My Dog If I Have A Yard?

Absolutely! You might not need to walk Fido as much as you would if you didn’t have that outdoor space. And, of course, if you simply want to let your canine friend relieve himself after dark, it makes sense to let him out into the yard. 

Should I Change My Dog-Walking Route?

Yup! Going to the same areas every day isn’t very exciting for your dog. This might lead to doggy boredom, which can in turn result in various behavioral issues, like digging or chewing.

What Gear Does My Dog Need?

First and foremost, ensure that your furry friend has a decent, comfortable harness or collar and a strong leash. Harnesses have become more popular than collars, and for good reason. They will not impede your pet’s breathing if he pulls, which is naturally more comfortable for him. Plus, Fido also cannot slip out them as he can with a collar.

Retractable leashes are extremely popular nowadays. These are OK in some circumstances, but can be harmful in others. Avoid using these in potentially unsafe situations, such as near riverbanks, busy roads, or cliffs. They can also be dangerous in busy areas, since Fido may become entangled with another dog, a person, or even a tree. Always carry another leash with you.

Some pets may have particular needs when it comes to gear. For example, a reactive dog might require a muzzle. Puppies with small heads, such as Greyhounds, may need special collars known as Martingales. Also, little dogs should always be harnessed rather than leashed. Ask your Mt. Airy, GA veterinarian for advice.

How Do I Stay Safe While Walking My Dog?

Your safety and the safety of your dog should always come first. There are a few things to consider here.

Watch the Terrain: Keep your furry friend away from hazards like broken glass and litter, and be on the lookout for things like holes or wires. Depending on where you are, you may also need to watch out for snakes.

Keep Fido Under Control: Your pet should always be on a leash. Don’t let Fido get ahead of you when crossing driveways, parking lot entrances and exits, or crossroads.

Stay Vigilant: Be mindful of your surroundings, and don’t let Fido out of your sight! If you enjoy listening to music or podcasts, make sure the volume is set to a reasonable level. You must be able to hear things like brakes, shouting, or dogs.

Keep Night Walks Short and Sweet: Once the sun has set, stick to busy, well-lit locations. Save your travels for later.

How Can I Keep My Dog Comfortable During Extreme Weather Walks?

You’ll want to take extra care when it’s scorching or freezing outside. In the summer, bring water with you whenever you leave for more than a few minutes. You’ll also need to be cautious of the terrain. Hot asphalt or tar can burn your fuzzy friend’s paws!

Winter also provides some unique concerns. Puppies with thin fur may require sweaters or coats when it is cold. Fido’s paws will also require special care if we get snow or ice, since salt, sand, ice, and chemical deicers can cause chemical burns and blisters.

Keep your canine buddy on soft surfaces at all times, regardless of the season. Using paw balm or wax can help keep those toes wet and protect them from the dry air. 

We would also recommend keeping toe fur cut. Those tufts may be cute, but they can pick up debris and foreign items.

What Are the Benefits of Walking My Canine Buddy?

Daily walks are beneficial to humans as well as dogs. The exercise alone is very beneficial. In fact, people with dogs tend to be slimmer than those who don’t have pups. Even modest walks can have a cumulative effect!

Here are some further benefits:

  • Better Sleep
  • Improved Mental Health
  • Better Physical Fitness
  • Reduced stress
  • Lower Risk of Heart Disease

How Frequently Should I Walk My Dog?

As a rule of thumb, most adult dogs should not go more than 8 hours without a walk. However, this is not a one-size-fits-all reply. The schedule will also alter with time.

If you have a puppy, you will need to take him out every few hours, especially while housetraining. Senior dogs often require shorter but more frequent walks.

Ask your Mt. Airy, GA veterinarian for particular guidance.

How Can I Stop My Dog from Hauling Me?

Man’s Best Buddy is a very good boy, but he is not perfect. Our canine companions certainly have some undesirable habits, such as pulling.

To break this bad habit, change course every time your canine buddy pulls you. This can be tiresome, but it works. Eventually, your pet will realize that pulling not only does not get him where he wants to go, but in fact moves him further away.

If you are having problems breaking this harmful habit, speak with your veterinarian or a pet behaviorist.

Please contact us if you have any queries about your dog’s health or treatment. As your  Mt. Airy, GA animal clinic, we are here to assist!

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