Why Is It Important to Walk Your Dog Regularly?
Walking your dog several times daily provides one obvious benefit. By giving him plenty of chances to pee and poop, he’s less likely to do his business in your house. However, you may not realize that walking your dog also delivers important health benefits. Regular walks can also help your dog to become better socialized.
Benefits of Exercise for Dogs
Regular dog walks allow your dog to burn excess calories, helping to maintain a healthy weight. If your pet has packed on a few pounds, adding more steps can gradually help them to shed that extra weight.
Similar to humans, consistent exercise helps to keep your dog’s digestive tract on a regular schedule. In other words, your pet will empty their bowels and bladder like clockwork, helping to prevent constipation and other potential health issues.
Exercise also improves your dog’s joint health. Regardless of his age and physical condition, walking keeps his joints moving, making them function more smoothly.
Finally, regular exercise improves your dog’s mental health. He’ll appreciate constructive activities such as sniffing along new walking paths and ogling the local wildlife. And not surprisingly, spending quality time with your dog helps to strengthen your bond with him. It also improves his emotional health.
Socialization for Dogs: How Regular Walks Can Help
Regular dog walks can help your dog better socialize with the world around him. By providing increased exposure to other dogs and people, he’ll gradually become more comfortable and begin to engage with them.
How Often Should I Walk My Dog?
In general, walking your dog three to four times daily for 15 minutes is a good practice. However, your dog’s specific needs can vary with his breed, size and age, and eating habits. If he has some health issues, this can also affect his walking ability.
Smaller dogs may get by with one or two daily walks. However, a large and/or high-energy dog will likely require more treks around the neighborhood. If you fail to do that, he’ll probably channel that extra energy into a more destructive habit (e.g. furniture chewing).
If your dog is a real canine athlete, consider introducing him to a high-energy sport that engages him physically and mentally. Exercise-happy dogs of all sizes enjoy the challenges of agility courses and flyball. Water-loving pooches can’t get enough of dock diving competitions. If your dog has retriever or herding genes, consider getting him into activities that harness those instincts.
Your South Seminole Animal Hospital veterinarian can offer recommendations on the best exercise program for your dog’s needs. First, the vet will conduct a thorough wellness exam and a complete dental exam. They’ll also evaluate your dog’s nutritional needs.
If your pooch has any health issues, the hospital’s diagnostics services can help the vet resolve them. Then, the vet will determine the types of exercise your dog can safely enjoy. Call today for an appointment.