How often do you see a dog and their owner walking outside? If you really paid attention and counted how many times, you’d probably be surprised by the number. Why do owners walk their dogs so much? Is it just the thing to do when you have a dog or are there benefits to both owner and pet? You probably haven’t even noticed that some of these benefits are happening on your daily walks.
Oxytocin is known as the “bonding hormone.” When we feel a strong connection with our pets, we feel good inside. Oxytocin also helps with managing stress and anxiety. Spending time with a dog, especially going on a long walk, can release this hormone in the brain.
Promotes a Healthy Heart
Physical activity has always been one of the best ways to strengthen the heart, but not everybody likes to run. Running can be hard on joints and is honestly not something everyone loves to do. Walks are much easier and nicer on your joints, but the heart can still benefit from it. Walking gets oxygen flowing through the bloodstream and strengthens the heart—for both you and your dog.
Releases Energy and Tension
Humans develop a lot of stress and tension throughout the workdays and weeks. Going on a daily walk can help release that pent-up stress and tension. Dogs are lucky and don’t have to go to work; however, dogs build up energy throughout the day which also needs to be released especially for working and hunting breeds. But that doesn’t mean other dogs shouldn’t be walked regularly; every breed can benefit from a walk. Even if there isn’t a lot of time in the day to go run at the park, a little stroll through the neighborhood can help a dog get their energy out.
Increases Vitamin D
The sun is a great source for vitamin D. Our bodies need vitamin D to strengthen and maintain our bones as well as our dogs. Vitamin D is also a great source for calcium. But just like everything else, there’s always precautions to being out in the sun for long periods of time. For example, make sure that your dog stays hydrated on your walks. Carry a collapsible water bowl and fill it frequently depending on the length of the walk. Another thing to watch out for is the heat of the concrete and asphalt on the padding of your dog’s paws. Before starting a walk, put the back of your hand on the concrete or asphalt. If you can’t keep your hand there because it starts to burn, that means it’s too hot for the padding on your dog’s paws. Wait until the evening when it cools off or find some little paw coverings that cinch on your dog’s feet.
As a dog owner, I look forward to daily walks with my dog and she looks forward to them as well. There is also noticeable difference on the days I don’t take her for a walk. She is more restless during the night, she is less obedient and she is always bouncing off the walls. Even a little walk around the neighborhood calms her down.
Do yourself and your dog a favor and go on a daily walk. You’ll both reap the benefits.