What if I told you only half of dog parents in North America walk their dog at least once a day?
And a whopping 33% rarely walk their dogs? According to a recent survey, this is all true!

I’m sure most of us dog parents will agree our pooches are worth their weight in gold with all the unconditional love they give back to us. But sometimes life just gets in the way! As our lives get busy, often our dog’s walks are the first to get traded for the relatively easier “backyard break.” Though not ill-intentioned, we may be harming our pup in
more ways than one. Daily walks have many benefits.

Socialization: On walks, dogs meet other dogs and people. The more they interact, the less excitable they get. A socialized dog makes for a better-behaved dog.

Fitness and Weight Control: As per a recent clinical survey by the Association for Pet Obesity, 56% of dogs in Canada are overweight or obese! Studies have shown that for overweight people/ dogs, a 30 minute walk three times each week can reduce blood pressure, increase energy, improve sense of well-being, and lower your weight by 5% and your dog’s weight by 15%. Talk about hidden benefits!

Mental stimulation: On a walk, your dog gets to experience different sounds and smells, which can stimulate them mentally, and keep boredom away. This helps deter any unwanted behaviour, like swiping food off counters, scratching and chewing objects they shouldn’t be, and urinating in the house, which are often signs of boredom and anxiety.

All in all, dog ownership comes with equal parts responsibility and benefit. A healthy dog is a happy dog, and this makes for one satisfied pet parent.

One last word of caution: with the holidays just around the corner, the extra indulging for ourselves as well as our dogs, and a busy social schedule is not going to make things easier. Plan to head out on regular, long walks now to keep those extra pounds away, and keep your dog happy for year-long health. On those super snowy or extreme cold days, avoid being outdoors for long periods, and protect your dog’s paws from the salty pavements. Happy ‘Paw’renting!

Bhawna Sharma is the owner of Walk N Cuddles, a new dog walking and dog sitting service based locally in Milton that’s borne totally out of her passion for dogs.