As a pet parent, you already know the importance of consistent physical activity for your furry friend. Yet, did you know that in addition to the health benefits of consistently walking your dog, you may even notice an improvement in their overall mood and behavior?
In order to accurately find a connection we surveyed our customers about their dog walking schedule in order to answer this one question:
“Does taking your dog for a walk truly correlate with an increase in positive behavior?"
Spoiler alert, it does! Let's dig into the study results and discuss why frequent stimulation through walks and outdoor play is so important for our furry friends.
How Often Pet Parents Walk Their Dog
The study of our Fursure customers was pretty simple, we surveyed them to determine whether or not they had noticed changes in their pet’s behavior when not walked regularly.
Here are the exact study results and the behaviors pet parents noticed when their dog wasn’t walked regularly:
- Hyper: 61.2% agreed
- Anxiety or mood swings: 50.7% agreed
- Destructive: 29.9% agreed
- Disobedient: 29.9% agreed
- Accidents in the house: 22.4% agreed
- Increased aggression: 10.4% agreed
It’s not surprising that these results overwhelming show that sporadic walks for your dog can lead to undesirable behaviors. It shows that our pets need consistent and frequent physical activity such as going on a walk, playing in the yard or socializing with other dogs in order to maintain positive behavior and prime health.
As humans, we’re constantly being told how effective exercise is for our mood as it helps us release endorphins. Therefore, the same principle can and should be applied to our pets. More activity equals a happier furry friend.
Additionally, regular walks and exercise can quickly curb those unwanted behaviors that are usually triggered by boredom such as whining, chewing, scratching and excessive barking.
Lastly, the benefits of walking go past the health and wellness of your pet — it also allows for a stronger bond between you and your best friend. Walking and playing outside allows you to connect with your pet and potentially other dogs if you choose to socialize in a public place such as a dog park or beach.
So, How Often Should You Walk Your Dog?
Now, that we know the importance of walking and its effect on behavior, let’s talk about how frequently you should be walking your dog.
The frequency and length of walks for your dog is truly dependent on your dog’s breed and age. For example, puppies are a ball of energy that will need constant attention and stimulation as they grow. Therefore, walking them several times throughout the day — you can keep it short — will help them stay active and burn energy.
As your pet grows, you can cut back on the frequency of your walks and instead focus on length and distance to ensure they are getting enough movement in their day. And, you can get your steps in too!
Larger breeds definitely need more exercise than smaller breeds. Larger breeds such as German Shepherds will need more frequent and longer walks. While smaller breeds, will simply need regular walks and added playtime.
If you have an older, senior dogs aim to take them on short, more frequent walks as walking for long period of time may tire them out and effect their joints.
Although these are simply recommendations, pay attention to your personal schedule and how you can fit exercise with your pet into your everyday routine. Whether that’s a quick walk in the morning, a longer stroll at night or potentially hiring a dog walker during your work hours - find what best suits both you and your pet’s lifestyle.
More Walks Means a Happier Pet
As you can see from our study, more than half of pet owners noticed undesirable behavior changes in their pets when they are not walked often enough - including hyperactivity, anxiety or mood swings, destructive behavior, disobedience, accidents in the house and even increased aggression.
This exemplifies and reinforces the importance of frequent physical activity for our furry friends. So, find a walking schedule that you can stick to and get outside with your pup as often as you can to make sure that both you and your best friend stay fit, healthy and happy.