Now that the cooler days of fall are here, it’s a great time to start exercising with your dog. Walking is great exercise for all of us. It doesn’t require any special equipment except comfortable shoes for you and a leash for your pet.
Dogs enjoy spending time outdoors, especially with their favorite people. The time you spend walking with your pet strengthens the bond that you and your pet share.
It has been documented in humans who have continuous long episodes of inactivity, the risk of developing diabetes increases by 91 %, risk of heart disease increases by 14% and risk of cancer increases by 13%. I don’t have any statistics for animals, but we do know that these diseases are at higher risk in animals that are overweight or obese.
Exercise of any kind helps us and our pets to increase lean muscle mass and decrease fat. This in turn allows us and our pets to lose weight and reap the health benefits associated with it.
Walking can help improve our mental health as well. It is definitely a way to reduce stress. What could be better than a walk with your best friend on a sunny fall day to help you forget the day’s troubles? And a walk will always be something your dog will look forward to doing.
Another fun fact: People who own dogs walk farther and more often than those who walk alone. They also keep off the weight they lose longer than those who do not have dogs. Of course, the dogs end up losing weight, too! According to AVMA President Dr. Joe Kinnarney, U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy has recognized the benefits of pet ownership and how walking the family dog is great for both the pet and the pet owner.
I don’t mean to leave out our feline friends, but it can be challenging to get cats accustomed to walking on leash. If your cat walks on leash, the benefits will be the same as for us humans and our dogs.
If you need any help equipping your dog for walks, stop in at the clinic and one of our staff can show you Gentle Leader head collars and leashes that can make your walks more enjoyable.
Hope to see you and your dog out and about!
Dr. Deb Kaehler