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FAQS About Walking Your Dog

January 15, 2024

It’s Walk Your Dog Month! Of course, for many of you, every month is Walk Your Dog Month. Our canine buddies do need to be walked daily, not just for sanitary reasons, but for exercise and mental stimulation. Read on as a local Pipe Creek, TX vet discusses taking Fido for a stroll.

Should I Still Walk My Dog If I Have A Yard?

Absolutely! You may not need to walk Fido as much as you would if you didn’t have that outdoor spot. If you just want to let your pooch pee after dark, it makes sense to just let him out. But in general, you should aim to walk your dog at least once a day. 

What Gear Should I Get For Walking My Dog?

Fido will need a good, comfy harness or collar and a sturdy leash. Harnesses have become more popular than collars, and with good reason. They won’t restrict your canine friend’s breathing if he pulls, which is, of course more comfortable for him. Fido also can’t slip out of the harness as he could a collar.

Retractable leashes are very popular now. These are fine in some situations but can be dangerous in others. Be cautious using these in any areas that could be dangerous, such as near riverbanks, busy roads, or cliffs. Retractable leashes can also be hazardous in crowded places, as Fido could get wrapped up around another dog, a person, or even a tree. 

We’d suggest always keeping another leash with you, especially if your canine pal isn’t trained. If Fido is prone to bolting, you can give yourself an added level of control by using two leashes.

Some dogs may have specific needs. For instance, dogs with small heads, like Greyhounds, may require special collars, known as Martingales. Little dogs should always be harnessed, rather than leashed. Ask your Pipe Creek, TX veterinary hospital for specific advice.

Why Is It Important To Walk Dogs Daily?

For many, those daily walks are necessary for sanitary purposes. However, that isn’t the only reason they’re important. 

One reason for this is simple exercise. Just like people, our canine buddies need proper activity to stay happy and healthy. The amount and type of exercise Fido needs will depend on his age, size, breed, and health. Some pooches need as much as an hour of vigorous activity every day. For others, a short daily stroll is sufficient. Be sure to ask your Pipe Creek, TX vet for specific information.

Walks also provide mental stimulation. Pets need exercise and stimulation. Just going out to the same spots every day isn’t very exciting for your pooch. That can lead to boredom, which in turn can cause other behavioral issues. For instance, if your canine companion gets bored, he may try to amuse himself by digging or chewing. Walks give your four-legged buddy a chance to enjoy a change of scenery, and spend some quality time with his favorite person: you. 

Try to walk your pooch every day. If you have a yard, and are taking time to play with your pet, Fido isn’t likely to become extremely distressed if you miss one here and there. However, if you regularly skip walking your dog, it could become detrimental.

Those daily strolls aren’t just good for Fido. They’re also good for you! The cumulative effects of even short walks definitely add up.

Here are some of the other benefits:

  • Improved Mental Health
  • Better Physical Fitness
  • Better Sleep
  • Weight Control
  • Reduced Stress
  • Lower Risk Of Heart Disease

What Should I Bring With Me When Walking My Dog?

Even if you’re just taking your pet for a short stroll around the block, it’s best to bring a few things along. 

Here are our suggestions:

  • Waste Baggies
  • A phone
  • A phone charger
  • Spare Keys
  • Water
  • Flashlight
  • Personal Protection
  • Gloves

You may want to designate a jacket or fanny pack for walking your pet. Keep everything you need in your pockets. You’ll only have to grab one thing on your way out the door!

How Do I Stop My Dog From Hauling Me?

Man’s Best Buddy is a very good boy, but he does have a few bad habits, such as pulling. 

To break this habit, change direction every time Fido hauls you. This can get tedious, but that’s why it works. Eventually, your furry friend will figure out that pulling not only doesn’t get him where he wants to go, but actually gets him further away from his goal.

If you are having difficulty with this, consult your Pipe Creek, TX veterinary clinic or a pet behaviorist.

How Can I Keep Myself And My Dog Safe On Walks?

There are a few things to keep in mind here.

Be vigilant. First and foremost, always stay alert and aware of what is going on around you. Don’t let Fido off-leash, and definitely don’t let him out of your sight! 

If you like to listen to music or podcasts, take care not to turn the volume up too high. You need to be able to hear things like brakes, shouting, or barking.

Pay Attention To The Terrain: Steer your canine friend around things like broken glass, litter, holes, and wires. Depending on where you are, you may also need to keep an eye out for snakes.

Keep Night Walks Short And Sweet: Stick to busy, well-lit areas after dark. Save those explorations for later.

Keep Fido Contained: Fido should always be on a leash, unless he’s completely and professionally trained. (Even then, we recommend erring on the side of caution.) Don’t let your pet get ahead of you when crossing driveways, parking lot entrances or exits, or intersections.

How Do I Keep Fido Comfortable On Walks In Hot Weather?

When it’s hot out, you’ll need to take a few extra precautions. Bring water with you any time you’re going to be gone for more than a few minutes. Also, be careful about the terrain. Your furry pal can burn his paws on hot asphalt or tar!

Those cold snaps also bring a few specific concerns. Pups with thin fur may need sweaters or jackets when it’s cold. 

Try to keep your dog on soft surfaces. Using paw balm or wax can help protect those cute toe beans. We’d also advise keeping toe fur trimmed. Those tufts may be cute, but they can pick up all sorts of gunk and foreign objects. 


How Can I Make The Best Of Walking My Dog?

Regular walks give you a chance to hang out with your dog. Fido will also benefit from the mental stimulation he gets from sniffing all of the things. Dogs get a lot of information about our world from their noses, so smelling that tree down the road can be quite informative for your pup.

Bring treats along, and use the time to work on or reinforce your pet’s training. This is also a good way for people to wind down after a busy day of work. Taking a stroll with your four-legged buddy is a great way to start and end your day!

Please contact us with questions about your dog’s health or care. As your Pipe Creek, TX animal clinic, we are here to help! 

Posted in Dog Care