New year, new goals, right?
Such is the mentality behind January being Walk Your Dog Month.
But it’s good, because there really are tons of benefits to walking your dog! Not only does it keep them healthy and mentally sharp as they explore new and exciting territory, but it can also help keep you healthy too as you exercise and bond together.
Baby it’s cold outside
So the thing about January being Walk Your Dog Month is that January is traditionally a pretty cold month! It can be awfully hard to muster up the ‘oomph’ you need to bundle up and get out there.
That’s the thing though…Walk Your Dog Month was sort of designed to help give you the motivation to get out there, no matter what.
Still, there are things you can do to add some magic to Walk Your Dog Month, and make it a fabulous month despite the weather!
Aside from the bundling up and the proper gear you’ll want to have for yourself, there are some things to keep in mind when walking your dog in January/winter months that you may not necessarily think about in other months. Some you know you need every day of the year, like poop bags. We love eco-friendly bags that are good for the environment too.
Others, like water, may slip your mind. Sure, you know having a water bottle may be nice on a hot July day, but in the winter? Yes, in the winter. You and your dog will be burning off calories and still need to hydrate. Bring a water bottle for you, and a collapsible for your pup.
Treats are also always nice because you’ll be able to reward Fido for good behavior while walking, always a plus for walk training. And you most likely will want a place to have all these things, so consider a small crossover bag, a fanny pack, or even let your doggo help carry the load with a vest of his own.
Speaking of vests–remember, some dogs get just as cold as you do when they’re out there, so consider a sweater or a coat if you believe the temperature warrants it. Several breeds definitely need a little extra elemental protection.
And on that same line, be sure you’re taking care of your dog’s paws as they’re out in winter weather. Salt, rough roads, snow, ice…all those can take their tolls on your dog’s tootsies.
Tips to create magical dog walks
We’ll be honest. Many of us insist on having a backyard before we get a dog so we have space for them to go out and do their doody. (See what we did there?)
That’s always a great thought, and responsible too.
But your dog likes walks! Changes in the scenery, checks of the neighborhood peemail…it’s what dogs live for.
So if you’ve always been one of those, “Let the dogs out” types and are looking to become a dog walker, consider the following tips:
- Remember you’re in charge. Use confident body language that lets your dog know you’re the boss of the walk and that they can’t pull you everywhere they want (dangerous in ice and snow!). Reinforce good walking behavior (by your side and in stride with you) while walking so they’ll want to continue.
- Consider a no-pull harness to help them learn pulling isn’t going to pay off when they’re walking.
- Be sure about the leash you use (hands-free, old-fashioned nylon leashes, multi-dog leashes) and then practice leash lessons in the house with your dog first. Keep the leash short but not tight and practice with rewards inside before you head out. Again, treat rewards are a good thing here
Dog walking: how far will you go?
Pay attention to how much of a walk your dog can take. Sure, puppies are full of energy, but…they tire easily too so be prepared to carry them if they get too sleepy because you went out too far. Also consider the age and breed of your dog. An old boy or girl may looooooove their walks, but…they may only be able to do so much. Make it about bonding and giving them exploration but at their pace.
If your dog suffers from joint pain or arthritis, this can especially be an issue. Even young dogs can have joint pain/arthritis/hip issues and it’s important you keep them in mind when walking or exercising.
Inflammation is typically the culprit when it comes to joint pain in dogs. Know the best way to manage inflammation? Strengthen your dog’s microbiome! When your dog’s gut is balanced, it helps your dog’s immune system keep chronic inflammation at bay. Less inflammation and healthier gut are key for magical walks, and just what Bernie’s Perfect Poop focuses on with its 4-in-1 combination of fiber, pre- and probiotics and enzymes.
Giving your dog Bernie’s every day can help reduce inflammation in those old (or young) joints, and make them walk-ready any time you are.
So go on, get out there and get to walking! Your dog’s waiting! Don’t believe us? Just say the word W-A-L-K and see how excited they are!