It might be cold outside, but it’s still so important to walk your dog regularly, even during the chilly winter months.
January is Walk Your Pet Month, making now a great time to talk about all the benefits of walking your dog even when you might not want to be outdoors.
6 Reasons to Walk Your Dog in January
1. Regular walks are one of the best things you can do for your dog’s overall health
That’s because obesity, which affects up to 56% of all dogs in the US, is the biggest health threat facing our dogs.
Being overweight or obese increases a dog’s risk for many serious diseases, including osteoarthritis, diabetes, kidney disease, heart failure, and many more. Regular exercise helps keep your dog at a healthy weight.
And let’s be honest: especially in the winter months when we humans often aren’t as active, walking is good for us, too.
2. Regular walks are great for dogs with arthritis or at risk of developing arthritis
Not only does it help keep your dog’s weight and body condition in the ideal range, regular low-impact exercise has been proven to reduce signs of pain in dogs with arthritis.
Regular walking helps a dog’s joints stay healthy and improves muscle strength, so they can stay active, healthy, and by our sides for a longer, happier life.
Arthritis is the number one cause of chronic pain in dogs, and regular exercise is an important part of a comprehensive approach to managing pain.
3. Walks help to relieve boredom
Bored dogs get into mischief and can develop destructive behaviors. Regular walks help them to burn off excess energy, especially in the winter months, and help to stimulate their brans.
4. It strengthens your bond with your dog
Frequent walks help to solidify your dog’s order in your pack and helps you improve how the two of you communicate. Walks are a great way to spend one on one time with your dog, communing with nature.
5. It will help you meet new people
In today’s world of 24/7 online interactions, it can be challenging to connect with people face-to-face. Walking your dog regularly will help you explore your neighborhood and make new connections, even if people just want to talk to your dog at first!
6. It is a natural way to relieve stress and improve your overall wellbeing
Being active has been proven to help relieve stress, something most of us deal with every day. And who among us couldn’t use a little stress relief?
When you get outside with your best friend, the emotional, physical, and mental benefits are all amplified.
Walk Your Pet Month is a great opportunity to start a healthy new habit for both you and your dog. Hopefully it’s a habit that will carry over into the other months of the year!
What’s your reason for walking your dog in January?
Leave a comment below or stop by the Everyday Dog Mom Collective, a private Facebook group for dog moms, and join in the conversation there.
Also, be sure to check out these 8 tips for walking your dog in the winter!
About the Author:
Dr. Kristin Kirkby Shaw founded Canine Arthritis Resources and Education (CARE, CanineArthritis.org) in 2019 as a free educational resource with tools and tactics she uses with her own patients and with her own dogs that have had arthritis. CARE has free resources for dog owners and veterinary professionals.