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7 Health Benefits of Walking Your Dog: Vet-Approved Facts

Written by: Kerry-Ann Kerr

Last Updated on June 10, 2024 by Dogster Team

dalmatian dog on a leash walking with the owner

7 Health Benefits of Walking Your Dog: Vet-Approved Facts

VET APPROVED

Dr. Paola Cuevas Photo

REVIEWED & FACT-CHECKED BY

Dr. Paola Cuevas

Veterinarian, MVZ

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

Learn more »

Walking is about so much more than just getting your dog out for “potty breaks.” It provides exercise, mental stimulation, a chance to socialize, and even presents an opportunity for training.

Walking also gets you out and about, which will benefit your mental and physical well-being. There are many benefits to a simple walk for you both, which we have listed below. We realize not all dogs are as enthusiastic as others about walks, especially when the house is cozy and it’s chilly outside. Keep reading to find out exactly how a walk benefits your dog.

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The 7 Health Benefits of Walking Your Dog

1. Keeping Fit

keeping fit

Dogs that don’t get enough exercise risk becoming obese, which can lead to various health risks like liver and cardiovascular disease, insulin resistance, and osteoarthritis. Obesity also results in a shortened lifespan and can be costly regarding veterinarian bills and specialized diets.

Getting your dog on a regular walking schedule will shed pounds and make it easier for them to participate in even more activities, like playing or running! If your dog is older, it will also improve joint health, which can stiffen up as your dog ages.


2. Digestive and Urinary Health

digestive + urinary health

Dogs are known for loving schedules and routines. For this reason, some dogs prefer to “go” on a schedule. Providing your dog with scheduled walks will prevent constipation. Bladder infections are also a risk when urine sits in the bladder for long periods, so having the opportunity to regularly empty it will also keep your dog’s bladder healthy.


3. Joint Health

joint health

Walking is a great low-impact activity option that is fantastic for joint health. Pets, like people, get stiff if they’re sedentary for too long. Keeping your dog’s joints in motion will improve their function. This is particularly important for large breeds, which tend to suffer from joint problems like hip dysplasia and arthritis, which is exacerbated if they don’t get out and exercise enough.


4. Socialization

socialization

Socialization is so important for a dog. Meeting new dogs and other humans and learning how it’s acceptable to interact with these strangers will help build your dog’s confidence about meeting new friends. Positive experiences in the real world will ensure that your dog has the behavioral tools required to adapt to the different social situations it will encounter throughout its life.


5. Prevents Destructive Behaviors

prevents destructive behavior

Dogs that aren’t allowed to explore the world and burn off pent-up energy will be bored. And a bored dog that has too much energy is more likely to do something destructive, like chew the couch or root through your garbage in search of something to do.

Some breeds will exhibit attention-seeking behavior if they have too much energy, like barking, digging, whining, and jumping. Walking opens the world to your dog, where they can examine new scents and explore. It’s excellent for mental stimulation, and the exercise will help your dog sleep at night.


6. Increases Your Bond

increases your bond

You are the most important person to your dog, and it’s natural that they want to spend a lot of time with their favorite person. A walk offers the opportunity for quality time with you that your dog will appreciate and will deepen your bond.


7. Training Opportunity

training opportunites

Walking your dog offers a perfect training opportunity. Dogs don’t know how to walk on a leash when they’re born, so it’s something you have to teach them. On a walk, you can also teach them commands like “heel,” “sit,” and “stay.” Training will build your dog’s confidence and provide mental stimulation.

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Conclusion

Taking your dog for a walk is something you both can enjoy, and the health benefits extend beyond your dog. Not only will your dog’s mental health and physical well-being benefit from getting in some exercise, but so will yours.

Getting out with your dog is the perfect way to bond; it’s so easy for your busy life to take over, and getting in some quality time with your favorite pup is the best way to unwind. Your dog will certainly be grateful!


Featured Image Credit: absolutimages, Shutterstock

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