There’s nothing better than a dog walk when the sun is shining and the climate is clement – but then there are those days when it’s raining in sheets and muddy paws are guaranteed. In light of Walk Your Dog Month (hint: it’s throughout January) we thought we’d shine a light on the positive impact of taking your pooch out, whether it’s a mellow trundle or a wet trek.
Good for you, good for your dog
Walking your dog has endless health benefits, from helping maintain a healthy weight and keeping joints limber to reducing inflammation and aiding digestion, not to mention lifting your general mood and relieving stress. It’s also a great time to bond with your pooch, taking the time to focus your attention exclusively on them and making sure they feel cared for.
All the gear
Being equipped with all of the essential will make your walk all the safer and more comfortable, from a harness or lead that you can rely on, to a coat that protects your woofer from wind. And remember to add a name and ID tag to their collar to offer extra peace of mind should they make a dash for it (to go alongside their microchip, the best way to keep them safe).
Start slow and steady
Whether you’ve fallen out of the habit of long walks or need a little encouragement now the days are shorter, there’s no need to rush into long and winding walks, and building the pace gradually will be better for both you and your furry pal. Increase the distance and tempo of your walks each week, making sure you’re both still comfortable as you do so, and you’ll quickly be able to walk further and faster. Remember, it’s not a race, and your pet will still appreciate the opportunity to exercise even if it is on the gentle side.
We know how difficult it can be to get up and go when it’s cold and dark outside, but maintaining a regular routine will benefit both you and your four-legged friend. If you can’t commit to a long walk on one stretch, spread them out across the day, with one quick wander in the morning, one at lunch (if you’re working from home) and one in the evening, and remember, if you’re getting bored, change up your route. Adding variety will make things more interesting and give your pooch plenty of exciting new smells to discover.
Make it extra fun
A daily walk is probably enough to keep your pooch pleased, but to take it to the next level, introduce an activity toy or some treats to make the experience even more of a thrill. Whether it’s a game of fetch or a tasty reward for reaching a certain distance, encouraging your pooch will make sure they get as much out of the walk as you do.