Almost 40 percent of households in Australia have a dog. That’s almost 5 million dogs.
However, it seems that almost 40 percent of Australia’s dogs aren’t being walked enough, and a corresponding percentage is chubby or downright obese.
But why do our dogs need us to walk them? And are you walking your dog as much as you should?
Are You Walking Your Dog As Much As You Should?
How much exercise a pup needs varies depending on the dog’s age, breed, and size, and there are several side effects of not walking your dog enough.
A study conducted over 10 years in Perth, Australia, found that we don’t walk our dogs as much if they are sick, elderly, or belong to a smaller breed.
But all dogs need to get out of the house and yard every single day.
Guide Dogs Australia encourages puppy owners to walk their pups for around 30 minutes twice a day – once in the morning and once in the evening.
It may be a bit of a challenge, so it’s important that the whole family is on board and shares the task.
Fortunately, dogs don’t always need very long walks. If the dog is not in good health or is aging, even 20 minutes away from the property can work wonders.
If you are concerned about your dog, or if it has been very inactive in the past, it is best to consult a veterinarian for advice on designing an exercise plan.
Why Should You Walk Your Dog?
Some dog owners believe that a large backyard provides enough opportunity for exercise.
But there are several reasons why we need to walk our dogs. In addition to exercise, a good walk allows dogs to socialize with other dogs, explore exciting smells off-leash, and play with their favorite friends.
Dogs are opportunistic and optimistic, which explains why so many are beside themselves with joy at the prospect of frolicking in the park.
A good walk allows dogs to spend time with their human social group. We should not underestimate the value of one-on-one attention; just the dog owner and the dog.
Dog owners who are strongly attached to their dogs are more likely to ensure that they get exercise.
In turn, dogs are catalysts for getting owners to participate and engage with others in the community.
If they don’t get enough exercise, dogs are at risk of developing physical issues such as metabolic diseases, cardiovascular and muscular disorders, as well as behavioral problems that are a manifestation of frustrations and raised grumpiness.
Warming Up and Cooling Down
Remember that dogs need to warm up and cool down – just like humans. The walk to the park is often enough warm-up, and then you can bring out the ball or stick and throw it far enough to give the dog more exercise.
Occasionally, you may encounter a situation where the dog is not happy to be on a leash. This most often happens if the dog has not been socialized enough as a puppy.
Some dogs might have discovered that they can’t assert themselves while on a leash, and it is, therefore, a learned instance of helplessness.
And while many dogs love to play with other dogs throughout their lives, this is not the case for a large number of dogs.
As they age, dogs develop biases, pains, and disorders, as well as learn ways of playing that may not be equally popular among other dogs. These are dogs that should be on a leash even in dog parks, where they are otherwise allowed to run freely.
If you live in a larger city and your dog has these tendencies, you can walk them in the evening. It is usually less stressful for the dog because there is less activity and less risk of encountering other dogs.
Other people’s comments are also a possible barrier. Certain dog breeds produce negative feedback from other people, and there is proof that obese dogs can make their owners embarrassed.
Inappropriate dog behavior can also be embarrassing, so it is important to train the dog to respond appropriately, both when on a leash or running free and both at home and away.
Remember, a healthy, happy, and well-socialized dog starts with regular physical and mental training.
Bad weather can get in the way, but don’t let it stop you. British dog owners experience bad weather more often than their Australian counterparts, but still, strive to exercise their dogs more than Australian dog owners.
The hot summers of Australia are clearly an obstacle, so walk your dog late in the evening or early in the morning.
Walking Your Dog Also Benefits You
A good walk not only benefits the dogs but also the owners.
Routine physical activity is healthy, but about half of Australian adults are still not active enough, and that’s been the case for the past 22 years.
Walking is an easy solution to physical inactivity, which can also improve mental well-being and the social relationship between people.
Universal modeling of walks yields unexpected results:
- If the majority of Australian dog owners who currently do not walk their dogs started walking them for 20 minutes every day, an additional 12 to 17 percent of Australian adults would be sufficiently active.
- This would halve inactivity and prevent up to 5 percent of all cases of, and deaths from, heart disease and stroke as well as 10 percent of serious cases of colon and breast cancer.
Walking the dog is a great way to get the whole family off the couch.
More walks benefit in multiple ways: health-wise, socially, and mentally.
Some of My Favorite Products For Dog Owners
I hope this article has helped you just a bit in everyday life as a dog owner. Being a dog owner for more than 25 years myself, I’ve tried an abundance of different products with varying success, but these products below are some that I can highly recommend to every dog and their owner without hesitation!
These links are affiliate links, so if you do end up using the links, I will earn a commission. But it’s products that I use daily myself, and I have nothing but praise for.
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Dog Training: If you’ve ever owned a puppy, you know that they require a lot of training to grow into a well-behaved adult. Brain Training for Dogs has helped me immensely with the mental training part of raising a dog, and it’s something I strongly recommend you consider.
Grooming: If you have a dog in your home, you’re going to need a brush, and for this, I recommend a Hertzko Self-Cleaning Slicker Brush. For that price, you simply can’t beat this brush for everyday grooming.
If you’re looking for the most up-to-date recommendations, check out my recommended products section that I’ve created to help every dog owner!