Walk Walk Walk Walk Walk
If you can get out and walk your dog in frigid January, you can do it any time of year. That’s the motivational reasoning behind making January National Walk Your Dog Month, according to National Today, a website that curates holidays from around the world, even quirky occasions like Respect Your Cat Day. (We’ll get to that one later!)
Reasons to walk
As it turns out, plenty of dog owners could use the encouragement to get out and walk their dogs. A review of six studies on dog walking that was published in Psychology Today found that, on average, 41 percent of dog owners don’t take their dogs for walks. Furthermore, 57 percent of the dog owners who do walk their dogs regularly still skip walks each week. The most common reason given: unsatisfactory weather.
Of course, some people don’t walk their dogs because of their age, breed or size. Small lap dogs like Yorkshire terriers don’t need the same kind of exercise as collies, for example, and can do just fine with potty breaks in the yard. Medical infirmities can preclude dog walks as well.
Otherwise, dogs get many benefits from regular dog walks. It helps reinforce their bond with their owner, provides mental stimulation, enhances joint health, and helps control their weight. Obesity results in more secondary conditions such as arthritis, high blood pressure, kidney disease, and certain forms of cancer, according to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention. Obese pets also have reduced quality of life and shorter life expectancy.
All compelling reasons to dress for the elements and embrace Walk Your Dog Month. It can help jump-start your dog-walking routine if you’ve been slacking and reinforce your commitment to regular dog walks in 2022.
Determining appropriate walk time
To determine the appropriate amount of time to walk your dog, PetMD advises to monitor her energy level during your walk. If she starts slowing down or panting and begins to be more interested in sniffing around and watching squirrels instead of enthusiastically striding forward, she may be getting tired. Head back home and continue to monitor her pace. If she continues to slow down, then it means she has walked too far. Next time, make your walk shorter to account for the time it takes to walk back home.
For advice on winter walking specifically, see our blog 6 Tips for Safe and Fun Winter Dog Walks.
But if you just can’t brave the cold (or are too busy with work or family responsibilities, or just feeling lazy–other common reasons owners cited for not walking their dogs), we’re always here to help!
FUN FACT: Monday is the most skipped day when it comes to dog walking.
BONUS FUN FACT: 64 percent of dog owners believe that dog walking is a personal reflection of their love and affection for their dogs.