What Are the Weight Loss Benefits of Walking Your Dog?

Walking your dog has several advantages for both you and your canine companion. Studies have shown that having a 30-minute walk three times a week can lower blood pressure, improve the sense of well-being, increase energy, and reduce your weight by five percent and your dog’s weight by fifteen percent in overweight people and dogs.

However, according to a recent survey, only half of the dog parents take their dogs to walk at least once a day. In fact, a whopping 33% of respondents admitted that they hardly ever take their dogs for a walk! With “National Walk Your Dog Week” taking place from October 1st – 7th, now is an excellent time to discuss the numerous advantages of taking your dog for a walk.

One of the benefits you can acquire in walking your dog is the much-needed mental stimulation. If your pet is not given a chance to see and experience new things on a daily basis, it will become bored easily. 

Moreover, bonding with your pet is also critical in developing a strong, long-lasting relationship with them. Walking with your dog will strengthen the emotional bond that will lead to the development of trust and friendship.

Most importantly, walking with your dog provides physical exercise for both you and your pet, even for a short period of time each day. With that, training your puppy to go on walks is probably one of the best things you can do not only to make your pet happy but also to make them healthy. 

What to Prepare Before Walking Your Dog?

If you’re new to walking, you can always begin slowly to avoid injury and gradually increase your daily walk time to 30-60 minutes. It is also important to note to always have bags on hand for potty breaks. Additionally, avoid walking in extreme cold or heat and always carry freshwater. Below are the things pet-owners should know before and after walking their dog: 

Safe Leash or No Leash at All

If you want to burn a serious number of calories with your dog, forget about the leash and collar. This is because when collars are pulled, they can compress the trachea or the windpipe that may result in difficulty of breathing or, worst, a neck injury. 

Additionally, choke chains and other collars that work by applying a constricting pressure around the neck are equally dangerous to use when walking your pets. The most secure option is a head halter or a walking harness. Wide, soft, padded straps, as well as lightweight, breathable materials, are ideal.

It is preferable to have a leash that is only a few feet long. Retractable leashes are not recommended because they are a safety hazard for both the dog walker and the dog. You will need to keep your canine companion close by in order to maintain a steady pace. Keep the long leash for strolls around the neighborhood or explorations in the park when the weather is nice.

Booties and dog coats may be required for long winter walks in cold climates. Meanwhile, take water for both you and your dog if you’re going to be walking in the heat above 80-85°F or 26-29°C if your walk will be longer than thirty minutes. 

How Long Should You Walk Your Dog?

It is recommended to start with a 30-minute walk at least five times a week if you have an overweight or obese dog, assuming your pet has normal heart and lung function with no other pre-existing medical conditions. To get the ultimate benefit from your walking, you should do it seven days a week. Below is an example of a schedule:

Week One: Thirty minutes per day. 

  • 10-minute sprint 
  • 20-minute leisurely paced walk 

Week Two: Thirty minutes per day  

  • Fifteen minutes of brisk walking  
  • Fifteen minutes of casual walking. 

Week Three: Thirty minutes per day

  • Twenty minutes at a brisk pace  
  • Ten minutes at a relaxed pace 

Week Four: 35-40 minutes per day

  • Thirty minutes of vigorous activity 
  • 5-10 minutes of a more relaxed pace.

Weeks Five and beyond: 35-60 minutes per day 

  • Walk for 20-30 minutes twice a day 15-25 minutes brisk walking 
  • Five minutes at a leisurely pace

When Should I Weigh My Dog?

It is advised to take your dog to the veterinary clinic at least once a month to have your pet weighed. In order to ensure that weight loss is maintained, your pet should be weighed every three months after he or she has reached the desired level of weight.

Remember that physical activity such as this should be regarded as enjoyable with a specific goal in mind. If you combine a healthy diet, exercise, and healthy lifestyle, you can help to improve the health and well-being of your dog while also improving the overall quality of life for both of you.