Do you walk your dog every day? Most people consider dog walking an essential part of their daily routine. Exercises through walking also protect you and your dog from sustaining bone fractures because of falls or other accidents.
Not only does your dog benefit from it, but you as the pet owner do too. According to a Michigan State University study, those who are dog walking are 34% more likely to meet their anticipated exercise quotas.
The question remains, can one maybe do too much dog walking? And is it necessary to take your dog for a walk every day? According to some experts, even though dog walking is essential, you shouldn’t do it every day, and this is why:
What The Experts Say - Why You Shouldn’t Walk Your Dog Every Day
Substituting Dog Walks With Other Activities At Home
According to dog trainer Niki French and best-selling author of “STOP Walking Your Dog", it is more beneficial to replace walking with another activity. She explains that not all dogs benefit from daily walks and that conventional walks are created by humans and are not always helpful to your four-legged friends.
She recommends replacing daily walks with training games and or toys at your home to give them the skills they’re lacking to live happy and calm lives. Conflicting with popular belief, giving dogs with behaviour issues more exercise to (hopefully) wear them out, more often than not has the opposite effect and makes them more excited and reactive. Replacing a dog walk with a short training session works wonders, giving them the skills they lack is far more beneficial for the whole family. She goes on by saying that her rescue dog Brodie has benefited from more enriching games and fewer walks and has become markedly calmer.
Having Rest Days
For most dogs, whether being laid-back or sociable, going out for a walk is an exciting and arousing experience. It is due to the excitement of new sniffing opportunities, playing with other pups, and having new experiences. For some canines, the level of arousal can be damaging. It could be due to a negative experience in the past – being attacked by another dog, walking with an undesirable item like a prong collar or dog chain, or being spooked by a loud noise. Young puppies are still experiencing the world around them, which can become a bit overwhelming at times, especially when exposed to it daily. All the situations mentioned could mean your dog is experiencing a disadvantageous level of stress during his walk.
Puppies should also never be walked very far, as their bones will only have fully developed at 18 months. Taking them on long walks (or even runs) before 18 months could lead to early very painful joint problems.
While an average amount of cortisol is essential for the body, if your puppy is experiencing frequent production of too much cortisol, it could have adverse effects. It could lead to health issues like a suppressed immune system, pancreatitis, digestive problems, skin issues, and more. The higher the cortisol level in his system, the more likely your dog will become reactive or nervous.
How can you prevent this? By introducing a rest day. This means off days where your dog has no interaction with the outside world, meaning no walks.
How Often Should You Walk Your Dog?
Establishing how often you should take your dog for his walk depends on various factors like age, breed, amount of time he’s walking, and energy level.
According to the CDC, humans should get 150 minutes of exercise a week, but for our dogs, here are some guidelines for your Weekly Dog Walking Planner:
- you do not need more than 10-15 minutes per walk.
- Longer walks are great, but these should be considered the exception rather than the rule.
- Have set "Off Days"
- Two to Three walks a week are perfect.
- Spend one day a week training your dog on a certain skill; or
- opt for a playing session. Playing with your dog in the yard to supplement his exercise regime.
Start today with a planning schedule for your dog’s weekly exercise routine. Remember to adjust it according to the seasons.
Are you worried about your pet's fitness level and health? Why not consider taking out pet insurance for your pet to ensure you are covered when the unforeseen happens.
Source : How Often Should You Walk Your Dog? | PetMD
Source : The Importance of Rest Days for your Dog - Barket Place
Source : Expert dog trainer urges pet owners to stop taking their pooch on regular daily walks - Daily Record