Our domestic dogs have been bred over many generations to make them better at certain jobs. For example, there are herding dogs, working dogs, and sporting dogs. You may not realize it, but your dog, whether he’s mixed or purebred, probably has genetic traits that prompt him to be active.
Not only that, but our pets’ ancestors had a natural urge to roam. In the wild, packs of dogs walk many miles every day in their search for food. Taking your dog for a walk every day helps to fulfill that basic need and instinct.
Since our domesticated dogs don’t usually have the chance to perform the jobs they were bred for, we need to find other ways to fulfill that desire. Even dogs who have access to a large, fenced in yard probably aren’t getting enough exercise on their own. They need stimulation to stay active, and the average backyard doesn’t provide that. Here’s why we think daily walks are so important!
How Daily Walks Fulfill Their Natural Instinct
As pet parents, we want what’s best for our dogs, and daily walks are a big part of that. They provide both exercise and mental stimulations. For many dogs, going for a walk is genuinely their favorite activity. Dogs love to be outdoors, engaging in the world around them, sniffing their environment, and possibly even socializing other people and pets in the neighborhood.
A game of fetch in your backyard or a trip to the dog park are great fun and provide some much-needed exercise, but they don’t offer the same mental stimulation a dog gets from investigating the scents, sights, and sounds he takes in when he goes for a walk. A walk through the neighborhood gives him a chance to check out all the changes that have taken place in his territory since the last time he went that way.
Healthy Dogs Need Exercise
Daily walks will benefit your dog in a variety of ways. They will help prevent obesity, which comes with its own assortment of health issues. Exercise will also keep the cardiovascular system healthy and keep the muscles and bones strong. Arthritis and degenerative joint problems can be prevented or relieved with regular activity. Your dog’s mental health will even benefit from regular exercise.
Walks Are Good for People, Too
Many of us are going out of our way to stay healthy and fit these days. Why go to the gym when your best buddy would love to take a walk with you instead? Walking offers numerous benefits for people, too, including maintaining a healthy weight, strengthening bones, preventing high blood pressure and heart disease, improving your mood, and even helping with balance and coordination, which is super important as we get older. The more active you both are, the greater the benefits you’ll both receive.
Most experts recommend walks of at least twenty minutes in length every day, and that should be plenty for senior pets. However, if you have a very active, younger dog longer walks may be required. For some dogs, two or three walks a day might be necessary. Always start out slow and build up the pace and length gradually, especially if your dog isn’t used to so much activity.