Owning a dog is one of the most joyous and loving relationships a person can have, but it’s full of responsibilities as well. Besides feeding, grooming and vet visits, dogs need regular exercise. Fortunately, their owners do too, and walking is an easy activity with benefits for both pet and owner alike.
Walking your dog not only helps to burn off excess energy, but also excess calories in case your dog is overweight. Most dogs need just one walk a day, but larger or higher energy breeds may need up to three. Walking your dog doesn’t just mean a quick potty break in the neighbor’s yard three houses down either. A minimum of 20 minutes daily is recommended for most dogs. Besides helping your dog work off that excess energy, a daily walk can help you lose weight, improve your heart health and lower your blood pressure.
A bored dog can be a destructive dog. Without enough mental and physical stimulation, your dog might eat all your socks. Or your sofa cushions. The new sights and smells, the people to greet and the other dogs to meet will all stimulate your dog’s mind and help decrease any destructive behaviors.
And of course, all the same things are good for their owners as well. Getting out in the fresh air and socializing with your neighbors, even if it’s just to say hello, can help combat loneliness and depression. There’s no better way to meet new people than by walking an adorable dog in your neighborhood park. Dogs love spending time with their favorite humans, and what better way than a nice long walk? It will deepen the bond between the two of you, increase trust, and help decrease your dog’s negative behaviors such as whining or begging for food.
Being a dog person has health benefits too. Studies have proven being around your pet can help reduce stress by lowering cortisol levels. That’s one reason many war veterans have service dogs to help manage their PTSD.
Lastly, walking your dog daily can improve the digestive health of both you and your pet. If you suffer from constipation, regular walking can be a big help to get things moving. Dogs can get constipated too, and they need regular opportunities for pooping, preferably not in the house. If you’re a dog lover, you already know there’s nothing better than a big doggy grin of appreciation, and there aren’t many things dogs appreciate more than some time spent with their favorite human.
So lace up your shoes already, and take your dog – and yourself – for a nice healthy walk. It will do you both some good.
How has your life changed since you started walking your dog? Do you have more socks in your sock drawer? Is your dog doing less begging for food? Share your experiences in the comments below!