11 Benefits of Daily Walks with Your Dog
If you have ever come home tired after a long day at work, you might have thought about skipping your evening walk with your furever friend. However, skipping that walk would be doing your doggo and yourself a disservice! Walking your dog daily provides dogs and their owners with countless benefits. This is why January is designated as Walk Your Dog Month! Start the year off right with a walk-a-day and here's your motivation.
How Much Exercise Does Your Dog Need?
Unless your vet tells you otherwise, try to give your dog 30 to 45 minutes of walking at a good pace daily. You may want to break that into a morning and evening walk, and if your dog is up for it, you can make them longer as well. Some sporting and work breeds love exercise, so for those dogs, you might want to go for an hour or more.
Keeping your dog in shape will do a lot to improve their quality of life. If your forever friend is overweight, they are more likely to suffer from osteoarthritis, cardiovascular disease, liver disease and insulin resistance.
More Than Just a Bathroom Break: The Physical Benefits of Dog Walks
Daily walks do more for your dog than give them a chance to go to the bathroom. They improve your dog’s physical and mental health. According to PetMD, the signs that your dog needs more exercise include:
- Weight Gain
- Destructive Behavior
- Becoming Withdrawn
- Stiffness or Lack of Endurance
- Barking and Whining 
So if you notice them, it’s time to take your furry pal for more and longer walks. Some of the benefits of daily walks are:
1. Improved Cardiovascular Health
Daily walks help your forever friend’s heart and lungs. It gets their heart beating faster and increases their metabolism. Dogs weren’t meant to be couch potatoes, so they will be much healthier if they get a good cardio workout once or twice a day.
2. Lowers Their Blood Pressure
Regular exercise for dogs, just like people, will help lower their blood pressure. This will help prevent kidney damage, as well as reducing the risk of heart failure and strokes.
3. Keeps them Slim and Trim
Packing on excess pounds is not good for your dog. Being overweight can increase your dog’s chances of getting cancer, it will also increase the risk of diabetes. It will increase their blood pressure which can damage their heart and increase the risk of stroke.
4. Builds Muscle
While a daily walk won’t turn your doggo into a muscle bound canine, it will help build and tone muscles, which in turn will give them a stronger musculoskeletal system.
5. Improves Joint Health
An active dog is less likely to have joint problems. Exercise increases the blood flow to the joints and helps to keep them more flexible as well. It can also reduce the pain if your dog has developed arthritis.
6. Help Them Live Longer
A dog that is physically active will be healthier, and a healthier dog will tend to live longer. So if you want your dog to live their best life, you should make regular walks a part of your daily routine.
Walks = A Mentally and Emotionally Healthy Dog
But the benefits of walking aren't limited to your dog’s physical health. Walking your dog daily will improve their mental and emotional health too. Walks help to
7. Provide Chances to Learn and Practice New Tricks
Walking gives you a great chance to practice old and develop new tricks. Bring a pocketful of low cal treats, and periodically, go through your dog’s repertoire of tricks. Come, sit, shake, down, and speak are all easy to do during the walk. Once those are perfected, start adding new tricks. You will be proud of your forever friend’s bag of tricks, and they will love the attention.
8. Strengthen the Bond between You and Your Dog
On your daily walks, you will be spending quality time with your doggo. They love that bit of time and their love for you will grow. This is a great way to bond with your dog, especially with a puppo that you just brought home or an older dog that you have adopted.
9. Burn Their Excess Energy and Stress
This is especially important for younger dogs. You might be amazed at the energy level of your puppy as you watch them bounce all over the house. Giving them a chance to use some calories outside on a walk is a great way to burn that excess energy. This is true of younger adult dogs as well. While they might be fully grown, they still have some of that puppy energy left in them that needs an outlet.
10. Prevent Boredom
A bored dog can frequently be a naughty dog. Giving them new sights and smells, meeting new dogs and people, smelling all the wonderful outside smells as you walk will stimulate their brains. That stimulation can help reduce destructive behaviour, which means fewer overturned garbage bins, chewed shoes and gnawed chair legs.
11. Socialize with Other Dogs and People
When you are out walking, you will naturally run into other people and other dogs. This will give you an opportunity to help your dog learn how to behave around others. You can teach them not to jump up on people you meet, help them get over their nervousness of new dogs, etc. And it will give you a chance to show others how well behaved your furry pal really is.
Do You Have to Walk Your Dog Every Day?
Many dog pawrents are tempted to forgo walks because “My dog has a backyard for play and exercise.” Well, they can play, but they will miss the fun of bonding with you unless you are there playing with them.
Weather and your dog’s health can interfere with daily walks. You don’t have to walk every day, but try to clip the lead onto their collar at least 5 times a week. The benefits of walking together regularly are just too numerous to ignore. But when you simply can’t take them on a walk:
- Make sure they get their required bathroom breaks
- Give them some good quality time indoors to bond with you
- Play games with them to provide mental stimulation
Is Your Dog Overdoing it?
Not all dogs can walk for miles and miles on a regular basis. Here are some signs that you might want to look for as you are starting your dog on their new exercise regimen:
- Sore joints
- Sore muscles
- Sore paws
Do You Benefit from Walking Your Dog Daily?
And don’t forget the benefits that you get from daily walks. Some benefits for owners include:
- Improved cardiovascular health
- Reduced stress
- Improved self-esteem by knowing that you are taking care of your friend
- Opportunities to meet other people and socialize
- Walking your 4 legged friend has been shown to make you happier! 
A Few Tips for Walking Your Dog
Here are a few final tips for walking your dog:
- Aim for at least 30 minute walks, five times per week.
- Keep your dog on its leash in public areas, unless it’s an ‘off leash’ zone. Contact your local council about areas where dogs can be exercised off leash.
- Supervise your dog around young children.
- Take a plastic bag or scoop to clean up your dog’s poo.
- Make sure your dog is properly identified.
- Make sure your dog is desexed.
- Avoid walking in extreme heat.
- Take fresh water for you and your dog to drink.
Ready, Set, Walk!
If you and your furry friend are a little out of shape, start out slowly walking short distances. As you and your doggo adjust, walk longer and faster. Soon, you will both be looking forward to your daily sessions, walking toward a happier and healthier future.