January is Walk Your Dog Month and what better way to kick start your New Years Resolutions by getting out in the great outdoors and walking off some of that festive food and drink?
With obvious health benefits for both you and your dog(s), this awareness month is a great way to help dust off the January blues, get out and about, meet other dog walkers and improve your own and your dogs well being.
In a 2017 clinical survey carried out by the Association of Pet Obesity Prevention, it was found that 56% of dogs in the United States are obese equating to 50.2 million dogs across the Nation.
“The number of pets with clinical obesity continues to increase.” states APOP Founder, veterinarian Dr. Ernie Ward. “We’re continuing to see more pets diagnosed with obesity rather than overweight. Clinical obesity results in more secondary conditions such as arthritis, high blood pressure, kidney disease, and certain forms of cancer. Pets with obesity also have reduced quality of life and shorter life expectancy.”
With the biggest reason given for not being able to exercise pets appropriately being “too busy”, Walk Your Dog Month is a great opportunity to set yourself some small targets to get out walking with your dog and hopefully change your habits long term to the benefit of you both.
It is important to note that before starting any exercise regime it would be worthwhile checking that your dog doesnt have any underlying health issues and when you do start frequent dog walking, safety is key for both you and your dog. Some things to consider include:
- wearing brightly coloured or reflective clothing, leashes and collars.
- Stay in well lit public areas
- Ensure your dog has access to plenty of fresh clean water during if on a long walk and afterwards.
- Protect your dogs feet from the elements- ice, snow and de-icers and grit can all cause nasty sores so be sure to protect your dogs feet and wash them down afterwards.
- Make sure your dog is warm or cool enough – particularly if young, old or with a condition such as arthritis.
But most of all HAVE FUN!