Forget the Gym: Taking Your Dog for a Walk Is Another Way to Stay Fit and Healthy
Sun, April 18, 2021

Forget the Gym: Taking Your Dog for a Walk Is Another Way to Stay Fit and Healthy

 

Have you ever felt guilty for not spending ample time with your dog? It happens to most people, but this can be easily remedied, stated pet news and information source Pet MD. You can bond more with your dog if you give it the chance to engage in any physical activity with you. it is no brainer that physical activity will help improve your canine’s quality of life— and yours too!

Dogs need to exercise regardless of their size and age. Your furry companion’s age and breed may affect its ability to exercise, but all dogs still need to participate in a certain type of daily physical activity. Exercise helps tone a dog’s muscles, enables the body and metabolic system to function properly, and engages the mind.

The Dog-Walking Habits of US Pet Owners

In Rover.com’s “Dog People Walking Report,” the dog walking company found that 93% of 1,500 US pet owners believed that one of the ways to ease stress was to take their dog for a walk, cited Nikki. M. Mascali of Metro US, a daily newspaper in the US. 63% of pet parents saw this activity as a reflection of their love for their pet. However, 57% of them skipped walks every week and one in five parents hired a dog walker after feeling bad about skipping this activity.

Brandie Gonzales, Rover’s pet lifestyle expert noted, “As dogs become part of the family, pet parents spend more time and resources tending to their needs and feeling guilty when they don’t.” According to Rover.com, 94% of US pet parents considered their pooch as a member of the family.

The report also found that 70% of owners said walks made their dogs happier, 46% reported making their pet more energetic, and 41% said their canine was calmer.  70% of pet owners reported that their dog should be walked at least twice a day, while 38% said they walk their dog once or less per day. Pet owners missed walks due to cold weather (57%), tired/lazy (33%), busy day at work (30%), and family responsibilities (25%). To make up for missed walks, owners offered extra-long walks (52%), give treats (45%), cuddle (42%), and give toys (14%).  

 

 

Dog Walking Helps Increase One’s Physical Activity Levels

It is becoming less common for four-year colleges and universities to require PE classes as part of the curricula, but many educational institutions offer physical activity courses, explained Melanie Sartore-Baldwin and colleagues in their 2018 study published in Abstracts Online, an online abstracts provider. These electives are important for schools considering the benefits correlated with physical activity and the low physical activity levels of college students.

10 college students who enrolled in a fitness walking course were instructed to wear NL-1000 pedometers twice a week for 50 minutes for 10 weeks. The participants would complete a survey about their experience at the end of the semester. Sartore-Baldwin and colleagues found that on average, the participants acquired approximately 4,726.5 steps per walking session and walk an average of 2.26 miles.

Approximately 28.5 minutes was on moderate physical activity with regard to the time spent on walking the dogs. The researchers concluded that the students in the course reached approximately 40% of their recommended daily physical activity requirement during class.  

 

 

How Does Walking My Dog Keep It Healthy?

Walking has significant impacts on your pet’s overall health, said Krista Williams, BSc, DVM, CCRP and Lynn Buzhardt, DVM of VCA Hospitals, an extensive provider of quality pet care. For example, walking helps your dog (and you) burn more calories than consumed, which curbs obesity. For dogs, it is a major health complication.  According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP), 36.9% and 18.9% of dogs were respectively considered as overweight and obese by their veterinarian in 2018, up from 2017’s 36.4% and 19.6%, mentioned Pet Obesity Prevention, an association dedicated to combatting pet obesity.

Walking also aids in joint health as your pet’s joints get stiff when it is sedentary for too long. Since immobility is another health malady, walking keeps your dog’s joints in motion, which helps improve function.

Did you know that walking helps regulate your canine’s digestive tract? Like some people, some dogs prefer to go to the potty at a certain time. Further, your dog is more likely to suffer from bladder infection when urine is stored in that organ for an extended period. Hence, it is important for your dog to empty the contents of its bladder. Try to schedule routine trips outdoors to prevent constipation and bladder infection.

 

 

Does Letting My Dog Run Around In My Yard A Good Idea?

It’s a good idea but there are other benefits of walking other than improving your pet’s physical health. Dogs don’t like to be bored and if you take them out for a walk, they may be less likely to engage in destructive activities such as chewing your couch. Venturing into new places, observing wildlife and people with pets are great mental stimulation for your dog that it cannot get in your yard.

Walking will deepen the bond between your pooch, as well as deter attention-seeking behaviors such as excessive barking or whining. Remember, you are the center of your pet’s universe. Therefore, it’s important to spend regular one-on-one quality time with your dog.

Planning to exercise outside your home? There’s nothing bad in calling your exercise buddy to work out with you, but what if they can’t accompany you or they are stuck in traffic? This makes your dog the perfect exercise buddy! Since you are the center of its universe, your canine is always available and accompany you on a stroll.

How Should I Start My Dog’s Walking Routine?

Start out slow. You can practice taking your dog for a 10-minute walk around the neighborhood. Increase the time and distance when you and your dog are ready. Opt to walk for a total of 30 minutes each day— it can be a 10-minute walk in the morning and a 20-minute stroll in the afternoon.

Keep your dog’s walking routine interesting by walking in different areas that provide mental and visual stimulation for you and your dog. Your canine will get used to the routine and it may even remind you when it is time to go for a walk. You can also download a walking calendar or an exercise app that records your daily steps and caloric history.

 

There are also other exercises you can try with your dog such as swimming and running. But be sure to speak with your vet to see which exercises best suit your dog.

 

other sources: 

https://petobesityprevention.org/2018

https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/the-benefits-of-walking-your-dog