When we are inside on beautiful, warm days, the outside calls to us, and it’s easy to jump off our couches and take our pups for a long walk. However, in the cold month of January, it can understandably be a little more difficult to drag yourself out of your cozy home, and dog walks may feel more like a chore than a good time. That’s the point behind January’s designation as Walk Your Dog Month. During these coldest days of the year, we all need a little motivation to get outside regularly with our pets. And it’s not too late to make this a New Year’s resolution, too!
This month, don’t let the sub-zero winter temperatures drag you down. Dogs need plenty of exercise throughout the year and the best way to keep them active in winter is to take them for regular walks. Walk Your Dog Month is also a fantastic opportunity to blend exercise with bonding time for you and your furry best friend. Here are just a few of the reasons you should participate in Walk Your Dog Month:
- Extra Bonding Time – When you walk your dog, it’s a great chance to give your undivided attention to your dog and let them know that you care for them. This is quality time spent together that can lead to greater trust and joy.
- Good Exercise – Did you eat too much over the holiday season? Walk Your Dog Month is the perfect opportunity to get in shape and shed off those extra pounds – for both you and your dog. A recent study found that 56 percent of dogs were found to be clinically overweight. This can reduce their life expectancy, overall quality of life and cause a multitude of other health issues. Good exercise not only has physical benefits, but it is also great mental stimulation and can decrease stress for both you and your pup. Additionally, it helps energetic dogs dispel some energy, which can make them calmer and prevent them from getting destructive out of boredom when in the house.
- Social Activity – Walking the dog means you are much more likely to meet other people in your neighborhood who are also out and about with their dogs. Both you and your dog have the chance to make new friends! Socializing your dog with other people and canines alike will help ensure no aggressive tendencies are developed.
- Training Opportunity – Walking your pup provides ample opportunity for training. A walk is a great time to focus on your dog and practice learning to heel, sit, stay or follow other basic commands. Practice makes perfect, so incorporating walks and practicing these skills during their everyday routine will make them even more successful.
In general, most dogs benefit from between 30 minutes to two hours of physical activity per day. This of course varies depending on the specific dog, but there are truly few things dogs love more than a good walk with their favorite person. So, begin this year with plenty of walks and with a pledge — better health for you and your dog! Once you are in the routine, it will be easy to carry on the practice all year round.