You had your New Year’s Resolutions all in place. Get moving! Get healthy! But since then it has been cold and gross and bleh. If you’re looking for some (almost) mid-month inspiration to get things back on track, remember that January is National Walk Your Pet Month!
The Top Ten Reasons To Take Your Pet On A Daily Walk
1. Gives dogs the social interaction that they crave
It's easy for you and your pup to become isolated during the winter months. To counteract the loneliness, make it a point to get outside even if the weather isn't perfect. Taking a stroll outside gives your pup more attention and interaction with you and any other brave souls who are out and about.
2. Provides socialization
If you have a puppy, it's particularly good to get him or her out on a walk to interact with new people, other dogs, and new situations. Don't wait for warmer months to take advantage of the natural socialization that will happen outdoors on a walk.
Even older dogs benefit for regular encounters with strangers to keep them from becoming too stodgy and inflexible.
3. Facilitates better training
Walks give you a great opportunity to show your dog who is the alpha of the pack – YOU! They also give you a chance to test out any harness training, leash training or other commands you and your dog have been working on. Start with short walks and just a few, clear commands. Be sure to praise your dog for a job well done. Training and walking will improve your relationship and your mutual satisfaction. Also, a dog that has been exercised is more likely to be calm and focused.
4. Conditions dogs to be less reactionary
Exposing your dog to a wide variety of sounds and sights while walking, such as to joggers, bicycles, and traffic will tend to keep them from being skittish and territorial. When your dog watches your peaceful demeanor with all of these circumstances, they will become desensitized to every little thing. This may translate into less barking at the mailman and reactions to every strange sound back at home.
5. Releasing pent-up energy
Exercise needs vary between dogs of different breeds and ages, but every dog benefits from a daily walk. Dogs that don't get their daily walk, may find unhealthy ways of expending the energy they have. Some dogs will become destructive or anxious. Remember - a properly exercised dog is a well-behaved dog!
6. Keeps your pet mentally and physically sharp
Exploring the outdoors will provide your dog is all kinds of things to sniff, see, and hear. When your pet gets to use his or her senses while getting a physical workout, the increased activity exercises both mind and body. As humans, we'll enjoy the same benefits!
7. Lifts the spirits
Fresh air and natural light have a profound effect on our overall feeling of wellbeing. Being stuck inside in the winter can cause lethargy and depression in humans which is known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). The same condition has been documented in household pets.
Have you ever noticed your pets migrating around the carpet, following a patch of light? Aside from trying to stay warm, your pet may be trying to feel better mentally and emotionally.
Getting outside during the day allows light to pass through the eyes and into the brain which affects two mood hormones - melatonin and serotonin. Walking will do a world of good for both you and your pet!
8. Minimizes conflict between pets
If walking multiple dogs, their bond will be strengthened due to the feeling of being part of a pack. This will help prevent behavioral problems between them.
The cats at home will also appreciate your dog's relaxed demeanor when they return from their outing.
9. Improves the length and quality of life for your dog
As noted above, a daily walk improves mental, emotional and social health. It should go without saying, but exercise improves physical health by improving circulation and fighting obesity.
Obese dogs have trouble moving, and the excess weight strains all of your dog's organs and joints. Staying fit will keep them happy and healthy for their entire lives, and extend their years with you.
10. Improves the length and quality of your life too!
The bonus of celebrating Walk Your Pet Month is that it gets you and your pet in the habit of walking. Sharing this ritual will provide you all of the benefits your dog experiences as well!
Don’t Forget Kitty!
When it comes to pets, going for walks tends to be reserved for dogs, but all of the benefits listed above can be enjoyed by your cat as well. Cat experts are encouraging people to try taking their feline friends out with them during National Walk Your Pet Month.
An outdoor cat is not going to enjoy being tethered if they are used to meandering solo. But for indoor cats, an outing with you could be a much-needed adventure.
Before you bring your cat outdoors, be sure they are up to date on their immunizations and have preventative care against fleas, ticks, and heartworm - although January isn't probably the time of year you'll have to worry about bugs so much.
Some Things To Remember When Walking Cats
Unlike dogs who can be taught to walk nicely at your side, an indoor cat can be timid and will want to slowly explore their surroundings. It may feel more like your cat is walking you, and that's okay. Enjoy this slow perusal of the surroundings and see the world anew through your kitty's eyes.
Be prepared for walking your cat with the right gear
Identification. Cats are notorious for wiggling free of their restraints. For this reason, should your kitty manage to slip away, you'll want to make sure she has a microchip, a cat safety collar and an ID tag with current information.
A cat-friendly harness. Some people have found dog harnesses that work for cats, but often they are too wide through the chest which can allow your kitty to maneuver their way out of your control. Should you choose to use a dog harness on your cat, be sure to take measurements of your feline friend and find a snug-fitting harness. Our Come With Me Kitty Harness and Bungee Leash is specially designed for cats. This product provides a high amount of adjustability to ensure your cat is comfortable and secure.
A pet stroller. BaxterBoo.com carries a wide variety of enclosed strollers designed specifically for vulnerable pets such as cats, small dogs or elderly pets. These pet strollers enable dogs and cats to enjoy outings safely and comfortably.
So get out there and get moving!
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