The Near Year is almost upon us. While many take this time to rest and celebrate the holidays, many others also like to establish goals for themselves in the New Year. If you’re one of those folks, we’ve got a challenge for you–the Walk Your Dog Challenge! Even though January can be one of the coldest months of the year, you and your dog can still benefit from regular walks. Once you’ve built the habit of walking in the cold, you’ll be able to keep it up all year round. We’ll discuss the benefits of walking your dog regularly as well as how you can stay warm on those winter walks.
Benefits of Walking Your Dog
There are many benefits to walking your dog regularly, for both you and your pooch. Here are just a few reasons why you should walk your dog more.
1. Walking is Great Exercise
For both people and pets, walking is a great way to lower blood pressure, burn fat, and boost your immune system. The cold and flu run rampant during the winter months, so you’ll definitely need that immune boost. For particularly active breeds of dogs, walking can also provide more of the exercise they need so they don’t develop destructive tendencies like chewing or constant barking.
2. Walking Strengthens Your Bond
Taking regular walks with your dog helps strengthen the bond between the two of you. When you spend extra time walking your dog, it allows the two of you to grow closer and makes your dog more likely to listen to you when you’re not walking.
3. Walking Provides Enrichment
In the colder months, we’re tempted to stay indoors where it’s cozy and warm. But this means that Fido loses out on high-quality enrichment activities he might otherwise experience outdoors. By taking your dog for regular walks, he can smell new smells, hear new things, watch birds and other critters, and get much more sensory input than he would in your home. Enrichment like that is a recipe for a healthy, happy dog.
How to Stay Warm While Walking Your Dog
As we said, January is one of the coldest months of the year, so you’ll need to stay warm while walking your pup. Here are some ways to keep both you and your dog warm on your winter walks.
- Stock up on hand warmers! Air-activated heat packets can help keep your hands warm while walking your dog on wintry afternoons. Stuff a few in your pockets and you’ll be nice and toasty.
- Wear a hat. Did you know that most of your body heat escapes through your head? That’s why mom always told you to wear a hat. Grab a beanie or toboggan to cover up your head and ears to lock in that body heat.
- Bring a hot drink. Hot coffee, tea, and cider are tasty and help you keep warm on a cold walk. Pick up a cup from your favorite cafe or invest in an insulated tumbler to keep your favorite home brew warm.
- Invest in dog booties. Breeds like huskies might have paws that are suited for snow and ice, but short-haired breeds like labradors definitely don’t. Invest in some booties for your dog to protect their paws from snow and cold pavement. It might look goofy at first, but your dog should be a lot more comfortable walking in the winter.
- Put them in a waterproof coat or sweater. If your pooch doesn’t have a double-layered coat, they could benefit from a dog sweater to give them extra insulation. For wetter winter days when it’s snowy or rainy, a waterproof coat can help keep cold water off your dog.
We want to see pictures of you and your dog on a walk this New Year! Post a picture of you and your dog out on a walk and be sure to tag Your Visiting Veterinarian on Facebook. Use the following hashtags so everyone else participating can get inspired to walk their dog this New Year: #yvvfamily #walkyourdog #newyearsresolution #winterwalking #walkyourdogchallenge