Walking your dog should be fun, not frightening for you and your dog. And the more pleasurable it is, the more likely you are to get into a daily habit, which is essential for your dog’s health.
Why should I walk my dog?
Like humans, dogs need encouragement to exercise. When they’re puppies they’re playful and run around like crazy but as they age, they’re less likely to exercise themselves. What they need is you.
- Walking is the best way for an overweight dog to lose weight
- Walking stimulates your dog’s circulation and increases his heart rate; all essential for good health.
- Walking is an excellent way to bond with your dog.
- Walking stimulates your dog’s brain, keeping him alert and entertained.
- Walking provides your dog with the opportunity to meet other dogs. A well-socialised dog is easier to handle.
5 top tips on how to walk safely, comfortably and joyfully
- Check that your leash/harness is properly fitted. An ill-fitting lead, collar or harness can impede a dog’s progress and may even injure him or he could break free and run off. Collars and choke chains can place pressure on the trachea and are not the restraint of choice. Ask your EberVet Vetshop for advice on the correct leash or harness for your dog’s size and breed.
- In overweight dogs that have no underlying medical condition, aim for 30 minutes of walking 5 x a week. In the first two weeks this could comprise 10 minutes at a brisk pace followed by 20 minutes much slower. Week 3 and 4 split the walk into 15 minutes brisk and 15 minutes relaxed, and so on. Once the dog (and owner) can walk briskly for 30 minutes, they may choose to increase the time spent on this exercise. After 30 minutes of brisk walking, allow the dog to meander and sniff. Walking should be fun for your dog, not a dreaded chore!
- If your dog is a senior citizen, have him/her checked by your vet before you embark on a walking programme. Arthritis and hip dysplasia are common among dogs and vigorous exercise can cause pain. Your vet may prescribe swimming as an alternative.
- Walk in the early morning or evening, never at midday. Dogs’ foot pads can be severely burnt when walking on tar or pavements during the hottest time of the day. They’re also at higher risk of heatstroke and dehydration. Stick to cooler mornings and evenings.
- A well-trained dog is always a pleasure to walk. If you have a new puppy, start puppy training classes as soon as possible. If your dog is already a bit older, practice walking him on a lead in your garden or in a quiet area where there are no other dogs or traffic, then gradually introduce him to busier, noisier areas increasing your visits as he settles into the routine.
Dog walking should be a pleasure, not a pain. Use these tips to ensure an enjoyable outing for both you and your dog.