Animal experts and veterinarians now suggest that dogs and cats possess the same intelligence that a small human child would have. As may you already know as a pet owner, however, cats and dogs need mental stimulation, social interaction, and emotional connections with you and the rest of your family members in order to thrive.
This is where daily walks come in. A responsible pet owner would know that it’s not enough to simply feed a pet at mealtimes and make sure that they have fresh water to drink. Regular exercise will allow them to get into the pink of their health, and it will also afford them the chance to bond with you. It’s a good idea to invest in high-quality pet products, such as martingale collars for dogs or harnesses for cats, to make daily walks safe and fruitful.
Setting aside time for to bond with each other, all while getting some miles in, can do wonders for both yours and your pet’s physical health and mental and emotional wellbeing. Here’s a treatise for how even a simple daily walk can improve your pet’s life.
Daily Walks Improve Your Pet’s Health by Helping Them Socialize
Walks are a great way to teach your pet how to socialize, especially if you’ve just rescued a puppy or a stray kitten. Socialization from a young age is vital to any pet, and yours needs to learn how to interact not only with members of the same species but with other humans and animals as well. Among other things, proper socialization will reduce their risk of experiencing anxiety or even acting out of fear-based aggression.
Most animals are social creatures and are happiest when they are accepted and valued in a community, which is something you’ll want to achieve for your pet when you take them out into the outside world.
Along with making your pet more comfortable with their surroundings, a walk will also give you the chance to teach your pet the appropriate responses for various situations. For example, they shouldn’t attack another dog or cat or scratch cars, and their walk is the perfect opportunity for you to let them know that.
Have an indoor cat? There’s still a way to get them to go out on a walk. Most cats don’t like (or allow themselves to be) walked, but you can still socialize them by bringing them outside in a carrier or backpack every so often. Ease your indoor cat into your routine by choosing a cat carrier that also has curtains you can draw in when your cat becomes frightened. Eventually, your cat will get used to being outside and enjoy the chance to receive some sunlight with you, as well as encounter other animals and humans.
Daily Walks Improve Your Pet’s Health by Alleviating Stress and Anxiety
Bigger dog breeds, such as German Shepherds and Golden Retrievers, need a lot of stimulation and exercise. If they are kept indoors all day, even if you live in a big house, they will eventually experience anxiety. This can manifest in a lot of ways, but the most common behaviors are unwanted scratching and biting. Your dog may start wrecking furniture, biting off wood planks, and misbehaving because they are bored.
Daily walks can reduce destructive behaviors caused by stress and boredom by giving your pet the chance to explore and let out pent-up energy. These walks can benefit you as well, as they will allow you to destress from a long workday with a furry cheerleader by your side.
Daily Walks Improve Your Pet’s Health by Preventing Obesity
Regular exercise can also prevent obesity in pets, reducing the risk of other diseases such as joint pain and heart complications. Though there is still some debate over what exactly constitutes obesity in pets, most veterinarians agree that a pet is considered overweight when they exceed 10 percent to 30 percent of their ideal body weight.
Obesity plays a direct role in your pet’s lifespan. Even being moderately overweight can reduce a dog’s life by two years and significantly increase its risk for cancer, diabetes, osteoarthritis, and urinary bladder stones, among other things. Help them stay on top of their health by keeping a regular walking routine with them.
Daily Walks Improve Your Pet’s Health by Helping Them Bond with You
Lastly, daily walks naturally improve your bond with your pet. It’s a way for you to have one-on-one time with your pet in a new or familiar environment, with no distractions from work or family. Even if you take the same route every day, your daily walks can help you create lasting memories and help you understand your pet’s personality even better. For example, some dogs prefer being walked by themselves and observing other animals from afar, while others love being walked in a pack.
If you’re a busy pet parent, you can hire a dog walker to exercise your dog every day while you’re at work. All the same, make sure to take the time during weekends to walk your dog yourself so that your pet can spend enough time with you, too.
Having a pet is a big responsibility, but it’s also an incredibly fulfilling experience. Daily walks can improve your pet’s overall health by offering them the right mental stimulation, preventing obesity and other health conditions, and giving them the chance to bond with you. Even if you have a big yard, it’s still highly recommended that you have regular walks with your dog so that they can experience new smells and sounds and meet other people and animals.
There are so many benefits to walking your pet, and the best part is that spending time with your fur baby can also help you. Pet parents who regularly walk their dogs generally have a stronger immune system, are happier, and live longer. Take the cue of other happy pet owners around you and savor your time walking with your kitty or pooch!