One of the best ways to stay healthy and avoid dog pain is by regularly walking your dog. This simple form of exercise results in better health for both you and your pet.
For some people “A walk in the park” means a task is simple and easy to handle – no sweat off their back. For others the same phrase literally means taking a walk in the park with your dog.
Dogs are great walking companions and great personal trainers. If you begin walking with your dog, you may soon find that you are no longer in charge of your walking schedule. Most dogs are ready to walk when you are (unlike friends and family), and will let you know when it’s time to lace up your sneakers.
A well-trained dog is a true pleasure to walk with. It”s important that your dog is trained to sit and heel on command so you don’t find yourself suddenly yanked into speeding traffic if your dog spots a cat that it can’t resist chasing.
Your dog should always be on a leash when you take it out for a walk. If your dog likes to pull you, try fitting it with a pinch collar to increase your control. Some people like to use a harness, while others prefer retractable leashes to give the dog a little more slack and be able to reel them in as needed.
If you plan on taking your dog walking in a park, call and check if there are any restrictions on animals in the park. Dogs are sometimes allowed on trails, but seldom in park visitor centers.
Always carry a Pooper Scooper and extra bags with you when you’re walking your dog. If you don’t have a Pooper Scooper use a plastic bag. Many dog walkers will take along plastic bags from their grocery shopping. When the bag is placed over the hand, you can pick up your dog’s doo-doo, turn the bag inside out, and tie the end closed. Please be sure to dispose of it properly.
You should always carry water with you for both you and your pet when you go walking. When your dog gets thirsty you can pour the water into your hand and let your dog drink. Some people take along collapsible cups or inflatable water dishes. I like to take along a Zip-Lock bag full of ice cubes. My dog loves to chew on the cubes and it helps cool him down. When the cubes have melted I can fold back the top of the bag and he can drink the melted ice.
If taking a long walk, halfway through your trip find a comfortable, shady spot and take a short rest. Play with your dog, and give both of you a little time to cool down. Dogs can’t sweat like we humans do. They keep cool by panting, lying in the shade, wading in water, and drinking lots of water. If you do go walking near water, find a safe place and let your dog go swimming. And if you drove to the place where you went walking, don’t leave your dog in your car alone if it’s hot out and you have to make stops on the way home.
If your dog suffers from arthritis or hip dysplasia like mine, consider buying one of the Easy Lift dog harnesses to help support your dog’s rear legs when it can’t make it back to the car or house without assistance. Easy Lift is the perfect solution to easily give your dog a helping hand while walking or climbing.
Be sure your dog is wearing current identification. Name tags, dog licenses, and collars can come loose and be lost. Consider having your dog’s ID tattooed on his body (usually under the flap of an ear on dogs with floppy ears). Another excellent form of identification in case your dog is ever lost or stolen, is an embedded micro-chip.
If you want to stay healthy and keep your pet healthy too, walking your dog is a habit you should incorporate into your daily routine.
Treat your dog well and it will be the best trainer and companion you could have on those long walks that are guaranteed to keep you in shape (and lose a few pounds too if that’s your goal).