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Top Faqs On Taking Your Dog For A Walk 

January 15, 2024

It’s Walk your furry Month! Of course, you could say that every month is Walk your furry Month. Our canine pals need to be walked every day, not just for sanitary reasons, but for exercise and mental stimulation. Here are some tips from a local Olympia, WA veterinarian on taking Fido out for a stroll.

Do I Still Need To Walk My Dog Every Day Even If I Have A Yard?

Yup! You may not have to walk Fido as often as you would if you didn’t have that fenced spot: that’s one of the conveniences of having a fenced yard for your pooch to patrol and play in. Missing the occasional walk is fine, as long as your four-legged friend is getting the exercise and stimulation he needs. However, if you regularly skip walks, your canine pal may become bored and restless. That mental stimulation is very important! 

Speaking of stimulation, it’s a good idea to change your route up regularly. Visiting the same places every day can lead to doggy boredom, which can in turn lead to behavior problems. If Fido becomes bored, he may dig or chew to amuse himself. You definitely don’t want that!

How Can I Keep My Dog Safe When Walking Him?

There are a few things to keep in mind in terms of safety—both yours and your furry buddy’s.

Here are some key pointers:

  • Keep your furry pal leashed at all times (except in fenced areas).
  • Keep night walks short and sweet. Save your explorations for later in the evening once the sun has set. Stick to well-lit, busy areas after dark.
  • Take a charged phone or connected smartwatch with you.
  • Make sure your pooch is microchipped and wearing ID tags.
  • Keep your four-legged pal away from litter and broken glass on the ground.
  • Avoid hazards like holes and wires.
  • When crossing driveways, parking lots, or intersections, don’t let your pup get ahead of you.
  • There’s nothing wrong with catching up on your favorite podcast as Fido is sniffing every blade of grass in the yard, but don’t turn the volume up too high. You need to be able to hear things like brakes, shouts, and barking. 

How Do I Keep My Dog Comfortable When It’s Hot or Cold?

We’re lucky to be more or less protected from extreme temperatures here in Washington, but we do have hot and cold snaps. When it’s hot out, always bring water with you, even if you only plan to be away for a few minutes.  If it’s chilly, pups with thin fur may be more comfortable with a jacket on. A doggy raincoat isn’t a bad idea, either.

It’s also important for you to be aware of the terrain. Hot asphalt and tar can burn your four-legged friend’s paws in summer. In winter, snow, salt, and sand can cause painful abrasions. Dogs’ paws are particularly sensitive when they’re wet, so take extra precautions after bringing your pet swimming. You can protect your pooch’s toe beans from burns and blisters by using paw balm or wax.

What Kind Of Equipment Do I Need To Walk A Dog?

Your furry buddy should have a sturdy leash and a comfortable collar or harness. Harnesses have become increasingly popular in recent years, and with good reason. They’re more comfortable for your pooch than collars, and they won’t restrict his breathing if he pulls. Furthermore, your furry bff won’t be able to slip out of his collar if he spots a squirrel and tries to lunge for it.

There are a few caveats here, however. While retractable leashes are fine in some situations, they can actually be dangerous in others. your pet might get tangled up with a tree, or get wrapped up with a person or even another dog. You’ll also need to be careful with these in potentially-hazardous areas, such as near rivers, canals, busy roads, or cliffs. 

Some pooches need special gear. For example, dogs that are reactive or aggressive may need muzzles. Pups that have small heads, like greyhounds, may require special collars, called martingales. Additionally, smaller canines should wear harnesses rather than leashes. For specific advice, consult your Olympia, WA veterinarians.

What Are The Key Benefits of Walking My Dog?

Walking is of course a must for sanitary purposes for those who don’t have a yard. However, that isn’t the only reason to grab Fido’s leash.

Activity is a big one. Our canine companions need exercise to stay healthy and happy. How much and what type of exercise your canine needs will depend on his age, size, breed, and health. For example, some of our furry pals need one hour of vigorous exercise a day, while others may only need a short walk. Ask your vet for specific advice. 

Regular walks also provide your pooch with mental stimulation. Just being able to sniff and smell things provides enrichment. Fido’s cute nose gives him a lot of information about the world around him. This is sort of a doggy equivalent of reading a paper. 

You’ll also bond with your canine buddy during those strolls, as you get to spend quality time together. 

What Should I Bring When Taking My Dog For A Walk?

Whether you’re taking your furry pal to a park, on a hike, or just going for a quick stroll around the block, you’ll want to grab a few key things.

Our suggestions include:

  • Waste Baggies 
  • Phone
  • Charger
  • Flashlight
  • Spare keys
  • Treats (for training)

In summer, water is also a must. Consider getting your pooch a doggy water bottle with an attached dispenser. You may also want to grab a personal protection device, such as a spray, but this is a matter of personal choice.

Hack: Consider devoting a specific bag or jacket to walking your dog, and keep everything you need in your pockets.

Is Walking Our Canine Companions Good For People?

Absolutely. Even short walks can provide health benefits, which definitely add up. For instance, people with our canine companions tend to be slimmer than those without. Other perks include better mental health, reduced stress, lower risk of heart disease, fitness improvements, better sleep,  and even better stamina. Those are some pretty pawesome benefits!

Is It Necessary To Walk My Dog Every Day?

Generally, yes. The schedule will vary, depending on your four-legged buddy’s size, age, and energy level. It’s also likely to change over time.

If you’re housetraining a puppy, your pet will need to go out every few hours, as well as after every meal. Adult pooches may only need to go out a few times a day, though they should never go longer than 8 hours without a walk. Seniors may require shorter but more frequent walks.

Ask your Olympia, WA veterinarian for specific advice.

How Do I Stop My Dog from Pulling Me Around?

Fido is definitely a very good boy, but he does have a few bad habits, such as pulling. This can actually be very dangerous!

One thing that often works is to reverse direction whenever your furry buddy pulls. It can get tedious, but that’s really why it works. Fido will eventually learn that pulling doesn’t get him anywhere, and actually drives him further away.

If you’re having trouble breaking this bad habit, consult your Olympia, WA veterinarian or a pet behaviorist.

Conclusion: Daily walks are crucial to your four-legged friend’s health and happiness. Use good gear, always follow basic safety protocols, and enjoy this special time with your pet.

Do you have questions about your dog’s health or care? We’re here to help! As your Olympia, WA pet hospital, we’re dedicated to providing the best veterinary care around!

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