Health Benefits of Walking Your Dog

One of the first words a dog learns to recognize as a pet is "walk". Sometimes you only need get as far as "Wanna go..." and your dog is up, tail swishing back and forth at top speed, ready to scramble for the nearest exit as soon as you head towards one, before you can complete the question: "...for a walk?"

Other than the tangible result of going outside-particularly if your dog gets excited at the sound of a fresh poop bag-going for a walk with your dog can reap plentiful health benefits for both of you. Here is just a sample of those benefits.

  • Exercise

    Along with a proper diet, a dog needs exercise to keep muscles fit and calories burned. A good brisk walk is essential for dogs who don’t have a yard to run around all day. Both you and your dog will enjoy a boost to cardiovascular fitness, healthier blood pressure, and strengthened muscles and bones-and that will add precious time to both of your lives. (Besides, as hinted above, regular walks help keep a dog...well, regular.)

  • Mental Health

    Dogs need to sniff, and any new smell can help stimulate their brains. This will reduce boredom, and also reduce destructive behavior around your home. With clear heads, they’ll be able to nap and sleep better, too. Taking some time out in the fresh air can also help you clear your head, and provide a change of scenery, particularly if you too have been cooped all day with no change to your environment. And with your best friend by your side, you can enjoy "your time" together.

  • Social Interaction

    Unless your dog is pointedly antisocial, going for a walk will bring him or her in contact with other dogs, and their walkers, and the familiarity should make each future interaction that much easier. You might even make some new friends yourself among the other dog-walkers out there and who doesn’t need more friends?

  • Training

    It’s one thing to have established rules inside the house, but once outside, many of the new exciting stimulants will be competing for your dog’s attention, often drowning out your commands. A walk is a good opportunity to practice some of those commands, like "sit", "stay", "leave it", and "down". And when passers-by notice how diligent you are with controlling your dog, you’ll be seen as a good owner instead of a public menace-another morale booster.

  • Environmental Concern

    Most communities have leash laws, and demand that owners clean up after their dogs. While you’ve already got a bag for your dog’s business, why not pick up other trash you find? Keeping the environment clean, even just a small part, helps remove toxins from the atmosphere, and makes going for a walk with your dog that much nicer-and something to look forward to doing.

    Some dogs will need more exercise than other dogs, and the breed will certainly be a factor, but every dog needs regular walks every day, for the exercise as well as the intestinal relief. Why not make the most of your time together and embrace those walks as a chance for exercise yourself?

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