The Importance of Daily Walks for the Health of Your Dog

Walking your dog on a daily basis is one of the most important things you can do to keep your dog healthy.

The Benefits of Daily Dog Walks

Walking your dog provides several benefits.

  • Daily walks burn calories for your dog, helping to keep your dog fit and lean and helping to avoid obesity, the number one nutritional problem seen in dogs.
  • Daily walks relieve pent up energy, helping to avoid behavioral issues that result from lack of adequate exercise.
  • Daily walks stimulate your dog and keep him entertained, helping to avoid boredom and the stress that accompanies it.
  • Daily walks will help keep muscles and joints supple and healthy. Even for dogs with health issues such as arthritis, walking can be beneficial.
  • Daily walks help create a bond between you and your dog, allowing you and your dog to share an activity that you both enjoy.

Considerations When Walking Your Dog

Though walking your dog is important, it is also crucial to consider how to keep your dog safe while walking.

How long and how far your dog needs to walk daily will depend on your individual dog. Factors such as your dog’s breed, size, age, health and stamina will enter into the decision. For instance, smaller dogs will likely not need to walk as far as a larger dog to get the same benefit. Elderly dogs may tire more easily than a younger, more active dog and not need to walk as long. Dogs with arthritis may benefit from more moderate exercise than a very active, healthy dog.

The weather will also impact when and how far you should walk your dog. Very warm weather can put your dog at danger of heat exhaustion if he is exercised too heavily. In these extremes, consider walking your dog early in the morning or in the evening after sundown when the temperature has moderated a bit. Also consider carrying a water supply with you during your walk if you are planning a long walk during this type of weather.

Cold weather also can have a negative effect on your dog under certain circumstances. Avoid walking your dog in areas that have been heavily salted during icy conditions. Some of these products can burn your pets feet and can also cause health problems if swallowed. Clean your dog’s feet when returning to your home during these conditions.

Use caution when walking your dog if he is a short-nosed breed. These breeds are known as brachycephalic. They can experience respiratory difficulties more easily than other breeds, especially in warm and/or humid weather. 

Lorie Huston, DVM has been a practicing veterinarian for 20+ years. She is a talented free-lance writer specializing in pet health and pet care topics. She is also a blogger and is available as a consultant in the fields of blogging, social media and SEO strategy. She can be found at her blogs: the Pet Health Care Gazette, a pet care blog, Social Savvy Pets, which focuses on blogging and social media for pet professionals.