matt-nelson-259365-unsplash.jpgFCVC cares about you and your pets. There are multiple reasons for walking the dog, but the two most important are – its good for them and its good for you.

Your next question might be – “Why do we need a whole week to talk about walking the dog?”. Unfortunately, many pet owners and their pets don’t get the activity in that they should. Some don’t realize that they aren’t doing it on a regular emphasis. So this week is really a reminder that it’s good to get out and walk and say, “Who let the dogs out!”

We bring you the history of National Walk Your Dog Week and some eye-opening facts about canine behavior problems and canine obesity caused by lack of activity:

Why National Walk Your Dog Week

National Walk Your Dog Week was founded in 2010 by Celebrity Pet Lifestyle Expert and Animal Advocate Colleen Paige, to bring awareness to the ever-increasing problem of canine behavior issues and canine obesity in America. Walk Your Dog Week aims to improve the health and well being of America’s dogs and sends the message to unchain your dogs!

“With more and more people becoming sedentary and gaining weight due to a lack of exercise, say’s Colleen Paige, founder of the day. Too many dogs don’t get the necessary outlet they need to stay physically and mentally healthy. I feel that part of the overpopulation of dogs in this country is hugely associated with our growing waistlines. Generally, the less a person exercises, the less their dog exercises. Having trained thousands of dogs, it’s my estimation that at least 75% or more of dogs in shelters are there, due to a lack of exercise, which has resulted in serious behavior issues such as aggression, destruction and separation anxiety. Often, dogs run away from home because they’re left alone and bored or kept sequestered all day long in a crate or a small yard, which only exacerbates a dog’s destructive, aggressive or anxious tendencies. This, coupled with a lack of exercise and too much fatty food, leads to obesity, as well as medical issues like pancreatitis, diabetes, heart disease and the number one killer of dogs, cancer. October is a beautiful time of year everywhere to get outside. Walking your dog on a daily basis not only increases the endorphins in both human and canine brains {happy chemicals} but it improves the bond between dog parent and dog.”

How National Walk Your Dog Week Became a Week

Initially founded for October 1st, as a “one day” holiday, Colleen later felt that one day was just not enough time to stimulate a continued walking program, so she then founded National Walk Your Dog Week to be celebrated the entire first week of October. She believes that when people witness the changes in their beloved dogs by giving them a week of exercise they normally don’t get, not only will they see a massive difference in their dog’s behavior but the dog parent will feel so good…they won’t want to stop. This not only helps to save the life of the dog by promoting proper health and quelling behavior issues that might otherwise land them in the shelter facing euthanasia – but it will also help to improve the health of the human companion and possibly save their life down the road as well.

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, more than 40 percent of dogs…a total of about 17 million in the United States, are overweight. “If you walk your dog just 30 minutes a day, you will meet national recommendations for heart health, says Paige. Asking your children to accompany you by walking the dog themselves while you supervise, will set them up for a better chance that they’ll continue to not only crave physical exercise, but that they’ll be responsible dog stewards when they’re adults.”

Remember…. a tired dog…is a good dog!

The Benefits of Walking Your Dog

Autumn is a great time to get out and start walking. You can enjoy the leaves changing color, the crispness in the air and it gives you time to reflect on the year and helps you to make new changes for the coming year…healthy ones!

With the holidays upon you, you can start to create a healthy way to avoid the dreaded weight gain that often comes from too many holiday goodies because you have set a new habit in motion.

If you and/or your dog are overweight, walk just 30 minutes a day, three times a week, and you can lower blood pressure, increase energy, heighten your sense of happiness and well being, reduce your weight by 5% and your dog’s by 15%.

Think about how healthy you and your best friend will be if you walked 7 days a week, every week! Even after just one solid week of walking for 15 mins. a day, you’ll feel awesome as you raise the levels of endorphins in your brain, which combats depression and anxiety. You’ll also notice a change in your dog’s behavior as well.

Even if you just walked 2-3 times a week for 20 minutes each time….you and your dog will feel phenomenal!! If you can run your dog….you’ll notice a faster change in his or her behavior. Positive changes in behavior lead to a happier you, which in turn, leads to a happy dog and a happy home. A happy home means that Spot won’t get dumped at the shelter because no one can deal with his behavior issues anymore.

So take a walk…..and save a life! It could just be your own!

Suggestions for Activities to Celebrate the Week

    Have a Costume Parade
    Explore a New Location Every Day
    Host a Library Walk & Ready with Pets
    Organize a Group of Therapy Dogs for a Hospital Visit

You may think of other great ideas to do with your dog. (Run/Walk a 5K?) The operative thing is to do, not sit. Activity energizes you and your dog. Sitting does not. If you have any questions about the health fitness of your dog for exercise, give us a call at 970-587-5140.

Articles you may also find of interest – Exploring the Colorado Trails with Fido and Preparing Your Pooch For Winter Weather.

Attribution – from our friends at National Walk Your Dog Week
Photo – matt-nelson-259365-unsplash