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National Walking the Dog Day - February 22

National Walking the Dog Day - February 22

Get your leashes ready because February 22 is National Walking the Dog Day!

It seems strange to dedicate a day to a frequently-performed activity, but it’s a great occasion to educate pet parents about the true importance of regularly walking our fur friends.

Walking outside physically and mentally exercises dogs. The physical activity not only keeps them agile and limber, but it also helps to relieve their digestive system, avoid weight gain, prevent health issues and alleviate hyperactivity. Even sprightly pups who seem content playing indoors still need that outdoor outlet to release pent-up energy.

The outdoors can also do wonders for a dog’s behavior. The freedom they have to constantly roam about open space presents a great training opportunity for you to teach commands, such as “sit”, “stay”, “come” and “leave it”. In addition, walking outside teaches our dogs to properly behave around other canines. Since they frequently encounter other animals during their walks, it’s crucial that they understand acceptable forms of interaction.

As far as mental benefits, walks help prevent boredom. When sedentary dogs feel bored or confined it leads to attention-seeking or destructive behavior. Taking them outside allows them to explore different sights, smells and sounds in their environment. By stimulating their minds, we keep our pets occupied and help them live a healthier, happier life.

How long should you walk your dog?

The proper length of walk time depends on your pet’s breed, age, size and state of health. Many animal professionals generally recommend starting off with 30 minutes a day.

High-energy breeds, or breeds found in the working, hunting or herding groups, require the most exercise. They need at least a half hour of vigorous activity on top of their 1-2 hours of daily activity. Common breeds that are considered highly active include:

- Shepherds
- Hounds
- Collies
- Labrador Retrievers
- Huskies
- Terriers
- Pinschers

If you have a short-nosed or low-energy breed, you don’t have to build too much exercise into their routines. These dogs still need daily exercise, but they demand far less than high-energy dogs. Common low-energy breeds include:

- Bulldogs
- Basset Hounds
- Great Danes
- Greyhounds
- Pugs
- Shih Tzus

Lastly, it’s important to pay attention to your dog’s health and signals. Restlessness and pacing are signs that your pup is due for a stroll, while old age and poor health conditions mean your pooch is slowing down and just needs enough exercise to keep the body working.

So, stop by either Healthy Pet location to pick up a new ball, leash or frisbee and enjoy quality time with your fur family in this beautiful weather! Happy walking!