Happy National Walk Your Dog Week Everyone! Walking your dog doesn't just benefit your pup, it benefits us as well! So today to celebrate this pawsome day, I am sharing 10 benefits of walking your dog (for both you and your canine companion), 8 tips for walking your dog, and 3 of my favorite places to take a stroll here on the North Island!
Some of the main benefits to our and our canine companions include improved cardiovascular fitness, lower blood pressure, stronger muscles, and bones and decreased stress. Just being around a dog can lower your levels of cortisol, the human stress hormone, and walking makes everyone destress, unplug, and relax!
A regular walk is vitally important for you and your pet's health too. Obesity in pets is associated with a number of medical complaints including osteoarthritis, cardiovascular disease, liver disease, and insulin resistance, just like it is in humans. Get up, stretch, and get moving with your fur-kid and it will improve your health greatly and theirs too!
A walk can make a dog very happy. They love to check out the sights and smells and will really look forward to spending time with you. A dog that doesn't receive sufficient exercise can easily become bored or destructive. It also boosts everyone's happiness because walking combines several mood-elevating elements like fresh air, nature, and the chance to buy some snappy new sneakers. Walking helps to boost serotonin, one of four natural brain chemicals commonly called the “feel-good chemicals.”
Walking connects us with nature. While walking both you and your fur-kid are able to commune with and connect with the natural world around us. By unplugging and getting back to nature, it can increase your focus and well-being. Anecdotally, dog walking is additionally useful for problem-solving and getting yourself “unstuck.”
Walking is also great at alleviating boredom for both of you. Walking alone can feel lonely or even boring. And sitting alone in the yard isn’t too exciting for your dog, either. A walk with an enthusiastic canine is instant companionship.
Going for a walk also increases your sense of community. Dog walking is a great opportunity for socializing, for both you and your dog with your community. Your dog gets to experience new people, surroundings, and even other dogs. Who knows, you might even find yourself chatting with other dog walkers or neighbors. Walks are also a great way for you and your dog to experience the world together and have an adventure to new places; take in the sights and smells around you. You’ll be surprised at what you’ve been missing!
Walking with your fur-kid can also strengthen your bond. Daily walks provide much-needed quality time for you and your pooch. This time is very important to your dog’s behavioral development and will provide the foundation for a trusting relationship.
Regular exercise, like walking, is a good way to burn those excess calories and keep the pounds off – for both you and your dog.
Joints, even old ones, need to move and work. People and pets get stiff when sedentary for too long, and keeping joints in motion improves their function.
Walking with your fur-kid also boosts your motivation to get some exercise, especially if you feel you’re doing it for your canine friend. In fact, dog owners walk significantly more than people who don’t own dogs, 150.3 minutes versus 110.9 minutes per week! Who knew?!
Tips for Walking Your Dog
The recommended time for walking with your pet is 30-minute walks, five times per week to keep you both happy and healthy.
Make sure while walking your furkid to keep your dog on its leash in public areas, unless it’s an ‘off-leash’ zone. If you're not sure where yours is or if you have one, be sure to contact your local council about areas where dogs can be exercised off-leash.
ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS and without exception, supervise your dog around young children. It only takes a second for things to go horribly and unexpectedly wrong!
Please please please, always take a plastic bag or scoop to clean up your dog’s poo, and don't forget to dispose of it at proper public garbage can that is designated for canine waste or at home! Don't be that person who just leaves them in the bushes! FYI if you're looking for some amazing and biodegradable poop bags, be sure to check out Earth Rated! They are an amazing product and they do a lot to give back to the pet community!
Always make sure whenever you leave home, that your dog is properly identified. Be it via a microchip, tattoo, or tags on their collars, make sure your pet is easily identifiable should they get spooked and run away!
Don't forget to avoid walking in extreme heat or cold. One way to check if it's too hot is by placing your hand on the pavement, if your hands and you won't walk barefoot on it, it's too hot for them to walk. The same goes for the cold in the winter months. Be sure to protect their paws from salt and ice and snow during winter.
If you're going for a longer walk, don't forget to take fresh water for you and your dog to drink. If you're looking for a great way to take all the things you need on your dog walking journey's be sure to check out Jaspers Wag Bags - they're awesome!
Always make sure to keep your pet leashed in unfamiliar or public areas until you're familiar with the area if there is any wildlife or any other things that might harm your pet if they're off-leash.
Our Top 5 favorite places to walk on the North Island
Port Alice Sea Walk - I love living in Port Alice! While we have our own private area to walk, we love walking along the Port Alice Sea Walk with our friends and their puppers too!
Cluxewe Beach - Not too far from us is Cluxewe Beach! We got to explore it for the first time over the summer with my new canine nephew and it was amazing! We had an amazing time exploring both the beach and ocean side as well as the river-side which was foggy and quiet while we were there! Rufus got many many great zoomies in while we were on the river side!
Marble River Trails - Another fun adventure had with my canine nephew over the summer! While an on-leash area, this was a fun wood-filled adventure and all of us got a great cardio workout and many more steps than we had initially thought as well! We also checked out the river bank and found a calm pooled area that was amazing for everyone to relax and cool off in!
San Josef Bay (Seasonally) - One of our favorite adventures this summer was getting up to San Josef Bay! While we can't go there year-round, we did enjoy some summer fun hiking the trail as well as playing in the waves and racing up and down the beach!
Little Huson Caves Trails - Another one that while it is an on-leash area, we all enjoyed! There were some great trails and we also spotted many other canine pet parents strolling them with their fur-kids too! What a great adventure!
PS please note that I was not in any way paid or compensated for my shout outs to Earth Rated + Jaspers Wag Bags - they're just really amazing companies who's products I greatly enjoy!