Celebrate National Walk Your Dog Month this January by incorporating daily strolls for you and your dog into your routine! The goal of this month is to kickstart an active year and encourage pet parents to help their pets stay in a healthy weight range. While January may be a chilly part of the year to start a walking regime, if you can do it in freezing temperatures, you can do it anytime!
Benefits of Dog Walking
There are endless benefits of dog walking for both pups and their parents. When it comes to your own health, daily walking is a great exercise source, provides an opportunity to disconnect from electronics, and allows you to soak up the sun and catch some fresh air. The following are reasons that your pup will benefit from a stroll:
- Mental and Physical Exercise: Aside from the physical exercise that a walk provides your pup, it can also serve as a source of mental stimulation. Whether you incorporate a training session or allow your four-legged friend to take a couple of sniff breaks, walks can help to positively tire your pup out mentally. Additionally, regular exercise is beneficial to keep your pup's joints strong, and bowel movements and weight steady.
- Socialization: Giving your pup opportunities to explore outside their home base is a great way to expose them to new situations. Trying new trails or paths will allow your pup to experience new smells, sights, and situations! Periodically introducing your dogs to new people will keep their socialization skills sharp as well.
- Daily Structure: Routines are vital for your dog to feel stable and confident. Adding a walk to your schedule is a great way to incorporate a fun activity where you and your pup are able to interact and focus on one another.
Easy ways to include it in your Routine
If you already incorporate a walk into your daily routine then adding your dog into this activity will be easy! If you do not already take time out of your day to go on a stroll, it’s recommended to find at least 30 minutes of free time during a low-stress portion of your day. This will ensure that you are not rushed and are able to fully focus on you, your pup and the outdoors.
Apps for Dog Walking
There are many apps that you can use to find different trails and paths, track your distance, and even earn money to donate to pet-centric organizations:
- AllTrails: This app is a great resource to explore and learn about trails in your area and that you might be traveling to. It displays trail details including length, elevation, difficulty and comments from other hikers. So if your pup loves the water or enjoys more of an open field, this app will help you find the perfect walking spot.
- MapMyWalk: Allowing you to record distance, time, pace, calories burned, and elevation, this application is perfect to capture all the walk details you may need.
- ResQWalk: Did you know that you can raise money for animal organizations while you walk? This app allows you to record your miles and as you reach different milestones, you will have the ability to convert miles walked into different donations.
Life can get busy and incorporating a walk every day isn’t always going to happen. But even if you are not able to go on a walk, there are many alternatives to provide your pup with mental and physical exercise:
- Toys and Puzzles: There are an abundance of enrichment toys available for pups, including ones that involve treats for those that are food motivated.
- Indoor Games: Hide and seek, playing fetch up and down a flight of stairs, and practicing come when called are great ways to exercise your pup inside when the weather might not be ideal for a stroll.
- Agility Training: If you are looking for a way to make your walk more interesting, challenging your pup to leap over logs, weave around trees, and walk on short surfaces are just a few ways to do so. Your local park may also have agility and obstacle courses available for you and your pup to test out. Both are great ways to keep your pup excited about moving around.
Whether you are able to go on a long walk every day or take a short stroll every few, take time to celebrate National Walk Your Dog Month this January and beyond!