Walking a dog – how much and why

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Walking a dog every day is not only important for their physical health and wellbeing but their mental health as well.

But unfortunately, according to a Sydney Uni study, 40% of Australian dogs are not walked enough, which coincidentally, is a similar number to how many dogs are overweight or obese in Australia.

Some people also think that just because their dog is small or old that they don’t need to be walked, which is not the case at all.

Why walking a dog is important

Walking a dog and other exercise helps to improve our dog’s muscle strength, keeps joints flexible, bones healthy and burns off calories.

Daily exercise outside of the home also provides mental stimulation and makes them happy, helping to prevent problem dog behaviours like barking, digging, chewing and other destructive behaviour caused by boredom or anxiety.

Even for older dogs, or dogs with injuries, you can use a pet stroller so they can still get out and about outside the home.

Checking out the sights and smells helps to keep their minds active and engaged which can prevent boredom and associated behaviour problems.

It also releases endorphins, which can help to reduce stress and anxiety in both us and our dogs and can also lower the risk of dementia.

A study of over 15,000 dogs, showed one of the greatest risk factors for canine dementia — second only to age — was lack of exercise.

While separate research shows that walking and other activities can protect brain health in humans.

Plus, walking a dog every day is a great way to help build your bond by spending quality time together. You can also use it to work on your training and obedience.

How often to walk your dog

Most dogs need to be walked at least once each day, though some dogs, particularly very active dogs, generally require more.

The breed, fitness levels and age will also determine how long and how vigorous your walk should be.  When it comes to puppies, shorter walks on the soft grass, rather than pounding pavements is best for their developing joints and bones.  Learn more about how much and how often to exercise your puppy HERE.

Tips to help with walking a dog

If you are struggling to walk your dog due to them pulling on the lead, read our tips for that HERE.

Or if they are reactive or aggressive on walks, read more about that HERE

If your dog is reactive or anxious, or refuses to go on walks, talk to your Vet for a check up and advice.

Or, if you need some help in general with walking your dog, contact your local PETstock dog training school to inquire about some one-on-one in home training, so that you can both benefit from getting out and active in the fresh air.

And if you don’t have time, enlist the services of a local dog walker so that your dog can get the daily exercise they need to help keep boredom at bay.


About the Author:  Lara Shannon is a certified dog behaviourist and trainer, pet food nutrition specialist, Executive Producer and Host of Pooches at Play on Channel 10 and editor of Poochesatplay.com. Lara also runs her own dog training business in Melbourne’s Bayside area and is the Author of World of Dogs and Eat, Play, Love Your Dog

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