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Most dog parents know they should be walking their dogs, but not everyone walks their canine companions as much as they should. There are many benefits of walking your dog, so walks are for more than just bathroom breaks. Walks are the highlight of the day for many dogs, so try to incorporate them into your dog’s daily routine if you’re able. However, the length and frequency of walks can vary between dogs, so if you need advice, talk to your vet for personalized exercise suggestions.

Do All Dogs Need to Go for Walks?

Most dogs benefit from at least one walk per day, but it depends on the individual canine. Some dogs, such as high-energy breeds, may need more than one walk per day, while dogs with joint problems, like senior dogs, may benefit from skipping long walks altogether. Also, while most dogs love walks, fearful dogs such as former strays or puppy mill survivors may not like walking or know how to use a leash. In those instances, it may be difficult to walk your dog without working on specific types of training first.

If your dog enjoys walks and has no health or behavior concerns preventing them from walking, you should walk them regularly. However, keep weather conditions in mind since excessively hot or cold temperatures could put them at a health risk. On days when you’re unable to walk your dog, find other ways to keep them busy, such as offering them puzzle toys like the iHeartDogs Sniff Diggy Snuffle Mat.

Keeps dogs entertained to reduce destructive chewingHide treats or kibble in the fabric pieces for you dog to sniff outAlso works as a slow feeding matDonates a toy to a shelter dog

5 Reasons Why Dogs Need Walks

Of course, walks are a great opportunity for dogs to do their business, but they’re so much more than just that. Here are a few benefits of walking your dog.

1. Helps Manage a Healthy Weight

Obesity is one of the biggest health concerns for dogs. Overweight dogs are at a higher risk of many serious health issues like joint pain and heart problems. Going for walks is an easy way to ensure your dog stays active, reducing the risk of gaining weight. If you have a high-energy dog, you may want to go for runs instead, which are easiest if you use a running leash like the PetSafe Hands-Free Leash.

If you walk your dog daily but aren’t seeing any weight loss, their diet could be to blame. Talk to your vet about adjusting your dog’s portions or switching to dog food designed for weight loss, such as Merrick Healthy Weight Recipe or Solid Gold Fit & Fabulous.

2. Reduces Boredom

Dogs get bored just like humans do, and walks are a great way to prevent that boredom. For many dogs, walks are the highlight of the day, so not getting that daily exercise can make them restless. Dogs who go for regular walks are less likely to display destructive behaviors, and they will often sleep easier. Thus, walking before you leave your dog alone or before bed is a great way to ensure they rest instead of getting into trouble.

Walks are so interesting to dogs because dogs love to sniff. It’s a chance for them to explore things outside your home, so if they’re sniffing a lot, try not to tug them away. Sniffing is important to their mental stimulation because a dog’s nose can tell them important things about their surroundings.

3. Provides Socialization

Going for walks is an easy way to socialize dogs. If your pup never leaves the house, they won’t get to see other humans and dogs enough. Exposing your dog to new environments during walks can help them feel more confident and potentially friendlier. However, make sure you never let your dog approach another dog on a walk without the owner’s permission.

Having a leash with a second handle close to your dog, such as the Rover Gear Essential Dog Walking Leash, is a great way to control your dog in new environments. Using the extra handle can easily keep them close to you in busy areas. Having a durable dog harness, such as the Atlas Pet Company Lifetime Harness, can also help you control your dog better during walks.

Made with dry-treated climbing rope and custom-designed clampsIncludes stainless steel swivel clip with one-hand operationAvailable in two lengths and seven colorsGuaranteed for life, even if your pup destroys it

4. Strengthens the Bond Between You and Your Pup

Whenever you spend quality time with your dog, you build a stronger bond between you. Going for daily walks is a great way to spend time with your pup, so those walks are especially important for dogs that are new to the family. The more walks you go on together, the more your dog will likely trust you.

5. Benefits Various Areas of Their Health

Walking your dog can help more than just weight management. It can give them a health boost from nose to tail. Regular walking is especially helpful for the digestive tract, helping your dog have consistent stools and a lower risk of constipation. Dogs also typically pee more on walks than they would in the yard, so that can reduce the risk of bladder infections. (Since your dog is likely to do their business on a walk, make sure you always have some high-quality poop bags with you.)

Plus, walking is a great way to strengthen your dog’s muscles and improve their joint function. As a result, your dog will have improved mobility, allowing them to move more easily without pain.

How Dog Walks Can Benefit Humans

Even though walking the dog can feel like a chore at times, it’s beneficial for your health, too. Like your dog, it can help you maintain a healthy weight. You may experience improved heart health, lower blood pressure, and stronger muscles. For many dog parents, there are also mental benefits of walking your dog, such as reduced stress.

So, even if it seems like a hassle to walk your dog, you should consistently do it not just for your dog’s sake but for your benefit as well. It’s good for both of you to get fresh air at some point during the day. Plus, it’s an easy exercise routine that can help you stay healthy without having to overexert yourself.

Frequently Asked Questions

How often should a dog be walked?

The frequency of dog walks depends on the breed, age, and energy level of the dog. In general, most dogs benefit from at least one 30-minute to one-hour walk per day, but some high-energy breeds may require more frequent and longer walks, while older or less active dogs may be content with shorter walks every other day.

What is the best time of day to walk a dog?

The best time of day to walk a dog varies depending on the weather and your schedule, but many dog owners prefer to walk their dogs in the early morning or evening when temperatures are cooler. In warmer months, avoid walking during the hottest part of the day to prevent your dog from overheating. Ultimately, choose a time that works for both you and your dog’s routine and consider their comfort and safety in different weather conditions.

Can my dog walk without a leash?

Check the local leash laws in your area to determine if your dog can walk without a leash. In most areas, your dog must be leashed outdoors, especially in busy, public settings. These laws are in place to ensure all humans and dogs stay safe.

Is it okay to walk your dog the same route every day?

While it’s generally okay to walk your dog on the same route regularly, it’s beneficial to occasionally vary the route to provide mental stimulation and prevent boredom. Dogs enjoy exploring new scents and environments, so mixing up the walking routine can keep them engaged and happy. 

Can you walk a dog too much?

Yes, it’s possible to walk a dog too much, which can lead to overexertion and potential health issues. The appropriate amount of exercise varies depending on the dog’s breed, age, and fitness level. Overly strenuous or lengthy walks, especially in extreme weather conditions, can lead to fatigue, joint problems, and heatstroke.

What are the benefits of walking a dog at night?

Walking a dog at night can have several benefits, such as providing a cooler environment in hot weather and offering a quieter and less crowded atmosphere for dogs that are sensitive to noise and distractions. It can also be a good option for owners with busy daytime schedules, ensuring their dogs get the necessary exercise. However, it’s essential to prioritize safety by using special products, such as reflective or light-up collars.

What are the benefits of walking a dog in the morning?

Walking a dog in the morning has several advantages, including kickstarting both the dog’s and owner’s metabolism, providing fresh air and mental stimulation, and setting a positive tone for the day. Morning walks can help burn off your dog’s excess energy, making them calmer and more relaxed throughout the day. In the summer, morning walks are typically cooler and safer for dogs.

Does walking a dog make them tired?

Yes, walking a dog can make them tired, especially if the walk is of sufficient duration and intensity to provide adequate exercise. Physical activity during walks helps burn off energy, release endorphins, and promote relaxation, leaving many dogs feeling more tired and content afterward. The level of tiredness can vary depending on the dog’s breed, age, and individual energy level.

Final Thoughts

Walking your dog should be part of your daily routine, as long as there aren’t any health risks involved. There are many benefits beyond giving your dog a chance to relieve themselves. Walking can improve their health, provide mental stimulation, and improve your bond. Plus, you may experience some health benefits too. So, if you haven’t already, make sure you’re taking your dog on the ideal amount of walks for their needs.

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