According to Forbes, one of the top New Year's resolutions most people have is to get healthier (23%) in the new year. Others have the idea they will lose weight (20%) and still others are determined to exercise more (7%). Here is a great way to get a jump start on all of those healthy initiatives: participate in January as National Walk Your Dog Month! This gives us pet parents the perfect time to put on the cold weather gear, get out the door and get some exercise with the dog. We have the top tips you need to make sure you start with your best foot forward!
Why January as Walk the Dog Month? First, we didn't come up with this idea. But we still think it's a great one! There are so many different reasons to enjoy January's Walk Your Dog Month. Many of us have come off the “holiday hangover” where we were shopping, eating, and celebrating the holidays with family and friends. This is the perfect opportunity to get out and get moving. We all know we have a very willing participant to go with us: the dog!
Plus, there are many benefits to your health.
4 Health Benefits of Walking Your Dog
- Weight and body condition improvements. Obesity is a major health issue in dogs and humans. Amazingly, according to the Association of Pet Obesity Prevention, 56% of dogs in the United States are obese. There are many consequences for being obese including, lack of energy which means an increase in lethargy. The same goes for our dogs.
- Joint health improvements. Have you noticed if you sit at a desk all day, then get up, you are a bit stiff? This happens to our dogs too. Immobility is a major health concern. Joints at any age need the motion to improve their function. Health consequences for both humans and our dogs include sore and inflamed joints and arthritis may set in, as well as more serious health issues.
- Mental health improvements. It has been proven that getting outside and enjoying the fresh air and sunlight improves our mood and overall outlook on life. The same goes for our dogs. If they are inside all the time, you may notice more mischievous behavior. Mostly because they are bored and need some constructive activities such as walking.
- Rewards for good behavior. Our dogs love making us happy. When we are with them, they are happy. When we do things together they are happy and love the emotional bond created. Be sure to reward your walking partner with lots of love and snuggles.
Need any ideas on how to get started? Here they are!
6 ways to get out for Walk Your Dog Month
We tapped into these tips from the American Veterinary Medical Association. They recommend checking in with your veterinarian first before starting a new exercise program. Then, get going!
- Get out today! Sometimes we overthink where to go or when to start. Just bundle up, and 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!
- Use this as a leash training opportunity. Every dog should know how to behave on the leash. If you haven't gotten out with your dog in a while, 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 or even 22 minutes a few times a day (think 2022!) and increase from there.
- Consider sunlight hours. 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 a priority for you both.
- Dress appropriately. If it is cold weather, dress warmly. You might wear warm coats and gloves. Your dog might need a warm jacket too! The selection of dog booties has really expanded. If you feel your dog's paws are getting exposed too long in extreme temperatures, consider adding them to your dog's winter wardrobe.
- Pick up, please! Remember to bring waste bags as you don't want to forget to clean up after your dog.
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 your 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.
What if Your Dog Doesn't want to go outside?
If your dog is not interested in walking outside, there may be another issue. Possibly, they like the warm inside better than the bitter cold (yes, we spoil our dogs!). Or, they have a joint problem. One of the top dog health problems is arthritis in dogs. As joints age, they get stiff and sore, especially with extra activity. The good news is there are things you can do to help your dog.
First, take our easy quiz to see how your dog by clicking on the red button link below:
Remember, it is easy to protect your fur-baby’s joints, and ensuring maximum playtime is to make sure you are providing vital nutrients for their joints. Glyde™ Mobility Chews provides your dog with essential, natural ingredients to promote joint health. Glyde is the only joint supplement with three proven key ingredients to relieve the painful signs of arthritis: glucosamine, chondroitin and, the power of New Zealand Green Lipped Mussel (GLM). GLM is what makes us different as it is an all-natural anti-inflammatory, helps improve joint function, and is one of nature’s best sources of Omega-3 fatty acids.
Be sure to read a helpful blog about Cold Weather Tips you need to keep your dogs safe when they are outside. It includes tips for getting out in the cold temperatures, and what you should do before and after walking outside with your dog.
Now get on out there, no matter the temperature! It’s a great time to get those resolutions going as you celebrate January’s Walk Your Dog Month!