January is National Walk Your Pet Month. It’s not to late to celebrate with your dog and explore the benefits of this healthy activity. Your cat would likely politely decline the offer, but keep an eye on the Caring Pathways blog for at home cat enrichment ideas in the future.

Walks are good for most every dog. Here are some quick reasons why:

  • It is an excellent way to spend some time with your dog doing something that is good for both of you.
  • It’s a great way to familiarize yourself and your dog with your neighbors.
  • Dogs that are walked can have an easier time maintaining a healthy weight as well.

If something has been holding you back from walking your dog pal read on for ideas that could help.

family walking with dog in field

Find the Time

Walks don’t have to be lengthy to be stimulating. Even a good walk of 5 to 10 minutes allows your dog to get out there and sniff new scents and see sights he can’t see from his own yard.

Dogs that are Reactive

There are many resources available on working with a reactive dog (one that is upset by other dogs) to decrease his reactivity to seeing others on a walk. Check with your own veterinarian for their best insights on helpful trainers, including online courses or books.

Worries about Wildlife

Generally speaking your biggest concerns in urban and suburban areas come from wildlife that are opportunistic and most active at dusk and dawn. Maintaining a leash length of 6 feet or less and being aware of your surroundings are two of the best steps to can take to ensure your dog’s safety.

Worries about Disease Transmission

While your dog is more likely to encounter germs outside of your own yard, your own yard does have wildlife wander through that can also spread such germs to his favorite hang out. Your dog should be vaccinated in accordance with your veterinarian’s recommendations which will help ensure his safety from common diseases that could be encountered both in his own backyard as well as on walks.

Worries about Walking Legally

Check with your local animal control regarding licensing requirements for your pet. They are there to help ensure the safety of all pets including yours. Getting a license for your pet is the best way to stop worrying about possibly getting ticketed for walking in areas away from your own yard.

Concerns About Comfort on a Walk

If you think your dog cannot handle walking at his stage in life check with his veterinarian on potential options. Suggestions your veterinarian may have could include shorter walks, pain management before, during, and after exercise as well alternatives to walking like stroller or wagon walks.

We hope that you are able to celebrate Walk Your Pet Month with your best friend!

About the Author

Dr. Kerry Muhovich has celebrated National Walk Your Pet Month all month. After a recent recovery from a broken foot, Dr Kerry has a renewed commitment to giving back to her own dog, Dexter, who helped in her recovery.


Hampton Roads Veterinary Hospice

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