Start a New Habit with National Walk Your Dog Week

It’s officially October, and the new month brings a lot of change in the air. Autumn has arrived with its cooler weather, colorful leaves and pumpkin-flavored foods and drinks that we all enjoy. Dogs also appreciate the change from the hot summer into the more mild temperatures, and may also love jumping into piles of leaves when given the chance! It’s a perfect time of the year for both you and your dog to take advantage of the outdoors and the simplest way to do so is to go for a walk to celebrate National Walk Your Dog Week!

October 1-7 is National Walk Your Dog Week, created in 2010 by Colleen Paige, a celebrity pet lifestyle expert. It was founded to raise awareness for pet behavior issues and pet obesity, and the goal of this week is to improve the health and well-being of dogs everywhere.

But this week isn’t just for dogs… it’s for you, too! There are many benefits for both you and your four-legged friend to take a stroll. Here are just a few:

  1. Improves physical health. Exercise can help both you and your dog shed some unwanted weight, and studies show that walking 30 minutes per day can help you reduce the risk of coronary heart disease and improve blood pressure and blood sugar levels. It has also been proven to reduce the risk of osteoporosis, breast and colon cancer, and type 2 diabetes. These reasons alone should be great motivation to get up and move!
  2. Improves mental health. We’ve all had stressful days. Exercise is a good way to get away from the things that make us feel tense and uneasy, and a simple walk can do the trick. It lets your mind relax and helps you think clearly. Dogs also benefit by releasing all their energy during a walk instead of, say, your living room couch pillows. Any destructive or aggressive behavior may be because they’re bored, so take them out more often and you may see a positive change in their behavior.
  3. Bonding time with your dog. Not many people like to go on walks alone. Your dog can provide the company you need to make this routine more exciting. You can also take these opportunities to teach your dog new things, such as waiting before crossing the street and heeling on a leash. Dogs are natural companion animals and will not object to going with you on a walk.
  4. Opportunities to socialize. A daily walk can be used to meet with family, friends, neighbors and other dogs. It’s important for your dog to know how to be around other dogs so they don’t feel anxious or aggressive as this behavior can carry on to how they behave around humans, too.
  5. It’s fun! It won’t be long before your dog realizes that putting on your walking shoes and grabbing the leash means it’s time for a fun adventure. I guarantee they will be ecstatic every single time! To make your walk more interesting, pick a couple of different routes to mix up the routine, or consider bringing a toy to play fetch with if you stop at a park.

So, in the season of change, lace up your shoes, grab your dog’s leash and enjoy the crisp fall air this week! It will be a great step toward a healthier and happier lifestyle for you and your dog.

What do you enjoy about taking your dog for a walk?

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