2018 is here! It’s a new year and a new opportunity to lead a happier and healthier life.  One thing we can all resolve to do (and something that certainly makes us happy!) is spending more quality time with our pets.

Did you follow along with our Pooch to Pavement 5K training guide this past summer?  If so, you know we are strong advocates of creating a dedicated exercise routine with our pets.  January is National Walk Your Dog Month.  Yes, one of the coldest, dreariest, snowiest, and iciest months of the year can also be an inspiration to help us stay on top of our new year’s resolutions while keeping our pets happy and healthy.

Walking Has Amazing Health Benefits For Both People and Pooches

In addition to managing weight and starving off obesity, daily walks promote healthy digestive, cardiovascular, and musculoskeletal systems.  Walking helps aid in digestion, preventing constipation and allowing the bowels to work at optimal levels. Regular walking reduces blood pressure, builds strong, lean muscles, helps joints from becoming stiff and sore, and reduces the risk or arthritis.

Outdoor Activities Offer Physical and Mental Stimulation

Walk Your Dog MonthDoes it seem like your pet gets into more mischief during the winter months?  Well, you’re not imagining it. Pets that are cooped up have more pent-up energy and may take it out through destructive or hyperactive behavior.  Moreover, getting outside challenges your dog to take in different environmental sights and smells. Having a regular exercise routine (no matter what the weather or temperature) gives your pet the daily mental and physical stimulation they need.  A good walk or run (preferably as early in the day as possible) helps keep your pet’s in-house behavior in check, satisfies their mental intuition to roam and hunt, then creates sleepy heads at night!

Routine Exercise Provides Great Confidence Boosting and Training Opportunities

The daily habit of walking around your neighborhood or other public place helps dogs feel comfortable with their surroundings. Daily walks enhance your pet’s view of the world. With each walk, they are exposed to new experiences, other pets, and a variety of people, making social situations less timid or scary.

Daily walks are the perfect time to teach your dog the simple commands, “come,” “sit,” “stay,” and “heel.”  Come springtime, your dog will have the best manners on the block!  To learn more about how we encourage responsible dog and owner citizenship in public settings, read our article here.

The Ultimate Bonding Experience

Walk Your Dog Month - couple walking dogYes, we all know how great it is to cozy up on the couch with our beloved pets (and sometimes there’s no place we’d rather be in the winter months), but daily leash walking or running gives your pet the dedicated, undivided attention they crave.  What other activity truly forces you to get to know your pet’s personality and behavioral characteristics?  Walking or running in step each day creates a special bond only you and your pet can share!

Jennifer Korinchak is a content marketer and graphic designer for NOVADog Magazine. Currently, she does not have any dogs, but has her hands full with four boys – her husband, six-year-old son, and two Loudoun County born tabby cat brothers – the latter two who act more like dogs than cats!