We are a nation that loves to spoil our pets. Americans spend around $61 billion a year on our pets, and many dog owners are happy to spend generously on gourmet dog food, exotic treats and expensive toys. But some of those same pet owners may be depriving their dogs of a vital necessity for their health and well-being; daily dog walking.
A Basic Instinct
Wolves, the ancestors of all dogs, start every day with a walk to hunt, patrol their territory, and mark its boundaries. It’s a routine that’s essential for their survival. This instinct to step out and explore is a basic need that is hardwired into all dogs. As any dog owner knows, no matter how spacious your backyard, your dog is always more excited when it’s time to go for a walk around the neighborhood than they are when you let them out in the yard. The reason? To quote Caesar Milan, “To your dog, your backyard is like a large fish bowl in which they are trapped.”
There’s No Substitute
So a romp in the backyard or even a free run in the dog park isn’t a substitute for a dog walk. That’s because the mental stimulation they get from a walk uniquely satisfies a dog’s powerful instinct to hunt and explore their territory on the move; to sniff the smells along the route, mark their territory and keep an eye out for “intruders” like squirrels and cats. That’s why dogs love walks so much; they’re a basic necessity, essential for a dog’s mental well-being, and as important as food and water. As Monica Collins, the “Ask Dog Lady” columnist says, “Dogs need walks like flowers need rain… To deprive a dog of this daily reality check is inhumane.”
Time doesn’t need to be an obstacle to a good walk. Dog walking doesn’t require a long trek or a lot of time; a twenty minute walk for most healthy dogs will do the trick. High energy breeds, like Australian Shepherds or Border Collies, may need longer walks or more daily walks to use up their excess energy, while dogs with arthritis or joint problems may need a shorter walk. If you’re in doubt about how long a walk your dog needs, check with your vet. Then make dog walking a part of your daily routine. Your dog will be calmer, happier, and love you for it.
And, of course, if you just can’t find the time to take your dog on regular walks, you can contact us at Bellevue Pet Sitters. We always have time for dog walking, and we’d love to meet with you and your dog to plan out a regular dog walking program that will get your pup’s tail wagging