The Benefits of Walking Your Pet

January 10, 2019

a happy dog on a walk

What’s better than starting off a new year by helping not only yourself, but your furry friend as well? We couldn’t think of a better way to get off on the right foot, and there’s an easy way to do just that—walking. There are many benefits that come from walking your pet—so many, in fact, that we can’t list them all—so the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) wants to share just a few of our favorite facts about walking.  

1. Great for your health, and theirs.  

Walking is good for your heart, muscles, joints, waistline and even your mental health. Plus, there’s no better stress relief than watching your pet’s eager interest and wagging tail. Walking is good for their health, too. Just like you, it helps with their waistline, joints and muscles. Healthy pet parents make for healthy pets. 

2. Get social without your phone.

Getting out will help you meet people, maybe even some potential animal lovers like you. Before long, you may have a new friend to join your daily walks. If you love animals, walking is also a great time for bird (or other wildlife) watching. You can also learn more about the plants in your neighborhood or local parks.  

3. Stay out of trouble!  

Many dogs and cats tend to start looking for trouble when they get bored (the APCC knows this better than anyone!). Bored pets are more likely to get into cabinets or closets, or up onto tables, and eat things that can be dangerous for them. Regular walks not only give pets exercise—the mental stimulation is great for keeping them out of trouble when they’re back home.    

Get Out and Go

If you are like most people, finding the time or energy to take your pet outside can sometimes be a challenge. With a little planning, however, your days of sitting on the couch will be long gone.  

While it would be ideal to walk your pup for 30 minutes, five times a week, starting small may work better for you. Start with 10 minutes, three times a week. You may find that you and your furry friend enjoy it so much, you’ll want to walk longer and go more often.  

A local park may be a nice place destination, but if you have to jump in the car to get there, you may be less inclined to go. Consider starting closer to home. Start your walk by just walking out your door. And if you find you are still struggling to make these walks a part of your daily routine, consider inviting a friend along or setting a reminder on your phone. You may also find that your four-legged friend will become a better reminder than your phone, once they get into the habit.  

A Few Tips

The nice part about walking is that it doesn’t take a lot of planning or equipment, but there are still a few things to keep in mind:  

  • Make sure to keep your pet leashed in unfamiliar or public areas.
  • Always have proper identification on your pet.
  • Avoid walking in extreme weather conditions. 
  • Remember to bring plastic bags to clean up after your pet.
  • If you are going for a longer walk, remember to bring some fresh water for you and your pet.