These past few weeks I have found it particularly hard to get out the door for a good, long walk with my dog. I don’t know if it’s the post holiday blues, the freezing temps, or just the busyness of life, but I do know that my dog misses her walks, and I feel kind of out of sorts without them, too!
January can be a tough month to stick to exercise routines, and I think that’s why it’s been named National Walk Your Dog Month. You need a few reasons to get out there and brave the cold, and a few tips to help you survive. So here they are…
3 reasons to walk your dog:
- It promotes a healthy gut. Walking helps your dog (and you!) maintain a healthy weight, supports digestive health, and can relieve constipation.
- It channels energy appropriately. Walking can redirect your dog’s energy and keep him from engaging in behaviors like chewing, digging, and scratching.
- It is a bonding activity. Walking provides a great opportunity to connect with your dog and develop a sense of trust.
3 ways to protect your pet during winter walks:
- Protect his paws from the elements. Snow, ice, rock salt, and chemical deicers can wreak havoc on your dog’s pads. Professional dog trainer, Mikkel Becker recommends booties to guard against cracked and stinging paws. Make sure the booties have plenty of traction and secure onto your dog’s feet with Velcro straps. Allow your dog to get used to the booties at home using treats and praise before taking them on the road.
- Bundle up. Even though dogs wear their fur coats all the time, some dogs really need an extra layer in cold temperatures. Try a doggy jacket or vest, especially if you have a very young dog, an elderly dog, or a dog plagued by arthritis. Also, remember to make sure your dog’s outer layer is water-repellent, and dry when you put it on him.
- Try Indoor Workouts. If it is too cold for you, it is too cold for your dog. Try some of our suggestions for indoor exercise in our Safe Winter Workouts for Dogs blog post.
Whatever you do this month, just get your dog moving and the blood flowing. Even a simple game of hide and seek or tag is better than nothing! Soon enough, the sun will be peeking out from behind the clouds and it’ll be walking weather once again. During the extra time inside, consider enrolling your pup in pet insurance to be sure you can afford the best veterinary care for your dog throughout the year!