How are your New Year’s resolutions going? Many of us have made resolutions for improvements on our health. Most of us say the way to do that is to exercise more. Here’s a way to get us back on track, if we need to restart: Celebrate National Walk Your Dog Month. Yes, January is Walk Your Dog Month which means it is time to get out the door and walk the dog, no matter the temperature outside.
There are so many different reasons to choose this month as Walk Your Dog Month. Unfortunately, many people suffer from post-holiday blues. May of us have come off the “holiday hangover” where we shop, eat, celebrate with friends and family. Then in January, winter approaches for many of us and we don’t get out as much as we did before. This is the perfect opportunity to get out and exercise. We all know we have a very willing participant to go with us: the dog!
Amazingly, according to the Association of Pet Obesity Prevention, 56% of dogs in the United States are obese. In humans, there are many consequences for being obese including, lack of energy which means an increase in lethargy. The health consequences include sore and inflamed joints which means arthritis is setting in, as well as more serious health issues. The exact same is true for dogs!
To combat these health issues, get back on track and enjoy Walk Your Dog Month!
6 Ideas for Walk Your Dog Month
- Get out today. Sometimes we overthink where to go or when to start. Just walk out of your front door or choose an easy, walkable place to enjoy such as the dog park. Bundle up and head out, get some fresh air and maybe meet others doing the same thing!
- It's a leash training opportunity. Every dog should know how to behave on the leash. If you haven't gotten out with your dog in awhile, learning or re-learning how to be on the leash is a great skill for you both to master. Start now and by spring when more people are out, your dog will be ahead of the dog greeting game.
- Start small. Begin with short walks and increase your distance. Commit to at least 20 minutes a few times a day (think 20 in 2020!) and increase from there.
- Consider when it's sunlight. When walking outside during winter, try to walk in the daytime. As the days are shorter, this means the window is smaller. If you can’t get out when the sun is up, be sure to wear clothes that are reflective or brightly colored. Avoid black because many people simply can’t see you! Safety is priority for you both.
- Dress appropriately. If it is cold weather, dress warm. You might wear warm coats and gloves. Your dog might need a warm jacket too!
- Pick up, please! Remember to bring waste bags as you don't want to forget to clean up after your dog.
If you missed it, check out our cold weather tips blog to refresh you with ideas on keeping your pets safe when they are outside.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests committing to 30-minute walks every day to maintain good health. Start slow and work you way up. Then increase as you can. You will see tremendous health benefits for both you and your dog. And you may even meet some friends doing the same thing.
So you see: it’s a great time to celebrate January’s Walk Your Dog Month!