Tips for a Tail-Waggin' Walk

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Walking your dog is a great way to spend time together, enjoy nature, and get exercise for both yourself and your furry pal.  New research confirms that dog owners not only walk more than non-dog owners, but that they’re also likely to be more active overall.  In addition, studies conclude that a significant portion of the canine population is obese.  Dog walking benefits both you and man’s best friend.  As you get out for some exercise with your dog, here are some tips to enhance the experience for you, your pet, and those around you, courtesy of the ASPCA:

• Flexi-lead leashes work nicely in a park or large area where your pet can explore a bit.  Shorter, fixed leashes are more appropriate when you’re in an area with high foot traffic or off-leash dogs.  Always obey local leash regulations.

• Keep off the grass and out of flower beds.  Your neighbors may not appreciate your pet trotting on or soiling their grass and tulips.  In addition, insecticides, mulch, and some plants can be toxic to pets.

• Keep an eye out for snakes, scorpions, and bees (Oh my!) that can pose a concern for both you and your pet.

• Don’t share your insect repellant with your dog.  The DEET can be neurologically damaging to canines.  If needed, ask your vet for a pet-friendly alternative.

• Be sure to bring water for your dog, especially if you’re going on an extended walk or walking in warm weather.

• Walks are an excellent opportunity for teaching or reinforcing your dog’s skills.  Bring some treats in your pocket to help motivate your dog and help him/her look forward to future walks.

• Don’t be caught without an adequate supply of doggie waste bags and be sure to clean up after your pet. (Who among us doesn’t have an abundant supply of plastic grocery bags just longing to be recycled?)

•  Finally, treat your dog to a new walking route (he/she will love the new sights and smells) or exciting destination (perhaps a dog park or friend’s house?).

Photos by Tori Pugliese