There’s nothing that compares to the way a dog’s tail wags when they hear “walkies!” or they way they whine in excitement when they see you pick up the leash to go walking.Dogs certainly don’t keep it a secret that they love going out for a stroll, having a sniff around and spending some time with us. Yet, there are more benefits of walking your dog than just a happy pooch. Here are some ways it can have huge impact on the health and wellbeing of both you and your dog:
It’s a consistent way to exercise and maintain a healthy weight
A daily walk can do more for our waistline than we may think. Scientists at the University of Pittsburg found that people who made the effort to go for a walk every day lost weight, even if they didn’t change their diet.
Walking has some incredible effects on our furry friends too. The American Veterinary Medical Association found that dogs who walked every day were much more likely to be within a healthy weight range. It also found that dogs who remained at a healthy weight were likely to live on average two years more than dogs that didn’t.
Plus, as a bonus, dogs really do make the best exercise buddies. They never cancel on you, are always energetic and will gladly go out in rain, hail and shine. A survey conducted by the University of Western Australia found that dogs are good at motivating us to exercise because they rely on us for their livelihood. This makes us more likely to exercise ourselves, because it’s not just us that we’re hurting by not exercising, but our beloved pet too. The survey also found that dog owners were more likely to exercise in general, with seventy per cent doing at least two and a half hours of exercise per week, compared to just forty per cent of non dog owners.
- It keeps them busy
Dogs are a bit like children. When they don’t get enough mental and physical stimulation, they tend to resort to destructive behavior like excessive chewing, digging, running back and forth or jumping on you, trying to get your attention. Going out for a daily walk helps them use up their energy and reduces hyperactivity, keeping them calmer and ready to sleep at night. It also gives them a chance to immerse themselves their senses, enjoying the sights, smells and sounds of the places they walk by.
- It’s a chance for them to meet friends
Even though we sometimes consider our dogs to be human, a daily walk can be important for them to reconnect with their own species and socialise, especially if they’re the only dog at home. When dogs meet, sniff and have a play together, they learn important social skills and build up confidence in social situations. When puppies are raised without contact with other dogs, they can grow up to be be scared, anxious and even aggressive around each other.
- It’s a bonding opportunity
Your dog probably considers walking side by side together for a few minutes each day as a nice time to connect with you. You taking the time out to give them a regular walk will make them feel close to you.
- It’s a good way to reinforce training
Maybe you’ll instruct them to sit before crossing the road, walk beside you and not in front of you, or to follow you or they’ll be left behind. Taking your dog out for a walk every day is a great way to let them know who’s boss and reinforce training throughout their lives.