Dogs are not just great pets, but they can also be the perfect companion to anyone wanting to get fit or lose weight! They can be great stress relievers, improve your mood and cure loneliness with unconditional love and support.
Apart from all of these obvious benefits, dogs give the perfect motivation to exercise. Walking with your pet, especially on dark evenings also provides security.
Studies suggest that, on average dog lovers walk as recreation for five hours a week, compared to those without pets who only averaged one and a half hours. Skipping a walk will be almost impossible, because of your duty to your dog. You will naturally walk for a longer time and much further with a dog, without realising it!
Dog lovers are seen to be more friendly and approachable. If you are new to the area, dog walking is a great way to meet the locals! Dogs socialize quite naturally, and the owners are soon drawn in to conversations about breeds, grooming, feed, local vets etc.
Here are some useful tips to consider before choosing a companion to share your walks with.
* Choose a dog that will match your lifestyle and be sure that the dog receives proper training for your walk to be fun and safe.
* Consult a veterinarian to make sure that your chosen dog is in good condition.
* Check on the areas you plan to walk. Some places, such as beaches do not allow dogs, so it’s always safer to check first. Parks, moor land and paths off the road are ideal places to walk with a dog.
* Keep your dog under control when near other people or livestock. Make sure your dog is identifiable by its collar or embedded microchip.
* You should avoid walking in direct or extreme heat, and be prepared to stop and rest once in a while. Keep in mind that dogs cannot sweat, it’s therefore necessary to find shady areas to let them to rest. You will need to ensure your dog has access to drinking water to avoid dehydration.
* You will need to carry doggy essentials such as pooper-scooper and bags.
If you cannot commit to looking after a dog full time, why not offer to walk the dogs at your local animal rescue centre. There you will find an endless supply of willing walking companions that you would be offering a great service to, plus benefiting from the exercise yourself!