National Walk Your Dog Week
National Walk Your Dog Week
October brings the start of many things; the beginning of autumn, falling brown leaves, cold weather and Halloween! But did you know that the first week in October is also ‘National Walk Your Dog Week’?! This is a great opportunity to remind ourselves how important it is to walk our dogs regularly and efficiently – and to have some fun at the same time!
Many owners think that letting their dog out in the garden or playing at home provides sufficient exercise for them. But time in the garden doesn’t boost the feel-good factor as much as a walk, and doggy backyard time is often consumed by sniffing and sunbathing. It is recommended that dogs get at least one full hour of walking, or two thirty-minute walks, every day to burn off their energy.
Sadly, our beloved pooches are becoming couch potatoes and finding it hard to want to leave the house to exercise. Dogs Trust estimate that up to “one in four dogs” are overweight and suspect that this is sometimes caused by owners over feeding their pets due to the guilt of not exercising them sufficiently. Dogs that don't receive enough exercise frequently develop health problems – directly as a result of being overweight. It is important to meet our dog's exercise and stimulation needs as well as feeding them a balanced diet - correct for their life-stage - to keep them fit & healthy.
There are a number of ways you can take part in walk your dog week:
1. Take your dog somewhere new; new surroundings and smells are exciting for dogs and can be highly stimulating and fun. Exploring new walks is a great way to develop your dog's confidence and understanding of the world. This is particularly true for puppies and young dogs.
2. Take a ball/toy with you; playing fetch is great exercise for your dog and can increase the distance your dog covers on their usual walks.
3. If your dog is a little older, instead of fetch, we recommend hide and seek. Hide the ball when your dog is not looking and encourage them to sniff and find it, using plenty of encouragement to direct them to the ball’s location.
4. If you have a dog that loves water, playing fetch with a toy that floats will encourage your dog to exercise. Just remember to take a dry towel with you so your soggy pooch isn't damp and cold on the journey home!
Here are some helpful tips to be aware of when walking your dog:
- Always take poop bags with you so you can dispose of your dog's mess safely. Picking up after your dog also prevents the transmission of intestinal infections and diseases to other dogs and people.
- Know when to take your dog off the lead. Local authorities have the power to implement ‘off the lead bans’ and can even ban dogs from walking in public areas altogether.
- Plan where you are walking and research the area. If you are walking through fields with livestock, you will need to keep your dog on the lead.
Remember to take treats with you to reward good behaviour, especially when you have a young dog and they are still exploring the environment and don't yet understand what is right from wrong.