Taking your dog for a walk is one of the best parts of pet ownership and an activity that should be enjoyed by all. Watching your dog’s joy when exploring the world with their nose, or chasing a ball on the beach is second to none. Our pets are part of the family and when we can include them on our daily outings they benefit hugely from this experience. A dog who never leaves the backyard can suffer serious mental and physical consequences, and this can turn into negative behaviours like constant barking or destruction in the home and garden.
Dog walking has proven mental and physical health benefits for both you and your dog. This means everyone wins when you step out the door with your dog!
Physical health benefits include increased cardiovascular fitness, lower blood pressure, muscle mass gain and endorphin release (the happy hormones). Obesity is a growing concern among our pet population, and a daily walk can help to keep the extra pounds off. Obesity in pets puts extra weight on joints, increasing the risk of conditions such as diabetes and osteoarthritis, a painful inflammatory condition of the joints.
When dogs go for a walk, they can release lots of energy through movement but also mentally tire themselves out through sniffing and being exposed to new places and people. Mixing up your routes, speed of the walk and a combination of on and off lead exercise adds the variety dogs crave.
When walking your dog, it’s not just a lead and collar that you need. Nature calls and as a responsible dog owner, you need to be prepared with the right type of poop bags and a poop bag dispenser. The seasons change with the year, and so in autumn and winter, you may find your dog needs that extra layer of insulation from a coat or jacket, whereas in summer may need boots to protect their delicate pads from burns on the hot tarmac.
Safety is another key thing to think about, you need your dog to be seen from a distance if they escape or you are walking in busy traffic. Reflective strips on collars, leads or coats can save lives and are an absolute must-have for every dog owner.
GPS trackers may not seem like something you would naturally think of adding to your dog wardrobe, but the benefits of being able to locate your dog at any time will outweigh any cost the day your dog escapes from the garden or goes missing on a walk. A GPS tracker can locate your dog and send a signal to your phone if they go out of a safe distance, giving you the heads up they are on the move. Sadly it’s not uncommon for dogs to be stolen, and a GPS tracker may give you the early warning that something is amiss.
GPS has other benefits besides safety. A pet tracker can record information such as distances travelled during the day and the calories burnt doing so. If your pet is on a weight loss programme or you are wanting to increase their fitness levels, this is the gadget for you! Similar to the Fitbit for people, it can be motivating to set an exercise target for your dog and see how active they are during the day when you are not home.