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Top FAQS On Taking Fido for a Walk 
January 15, 2024

It’s Walk Your Dog Month! Of course, you could say that every month is Walk Your Dog Month. Our canine pals need to be walked every day, not just for sanitary reasons, but for exercise and mental stimulation. Here are some tips from a local Fredericksburg TX veterinarian on taking your canine pal for a stroll.

What Are the Benefits of Walking My Dog?

Walking is a must for sanitary purposes if you don’t have a yard. However, it isn’t the only reason.

Activity is a crucial one. Dogs need exercise to stay healthy and happy. How much and what type of exercise your pup needs will depend on his age, size, breed, and health. For example, some pups need one hour of vigorous exercise a day, while others may only need a short walk. Ask your vet for specific advice. 

Regular walks also provide your pooch with mental stimulation. Fido’s cute nose gives him a lot of information about the world around him.

You can also bond with your pup during those strolls, as you get to spend quality time together.

What Should I Bring When Taking My Dog For A Walk?

You’ll want to grab a few things, regardless of whether you’re taking your furry pal to a park, on a hike, or just going for a quick stroll around the block. These include:

  • Phone
  • Charger
  • Flashlight
  • Spare keys
  • Waste Baggies 
  • Treats (for training)

In summer, water is also a must. Consider getting your pooch a doggy water bottle with an attached dispenser. You may also want to grab a personal protection device, such as a spray, but this is a matter of personal choice.

Hack: Consider devoting a specific bag or jacket to walking Fido, and keep everything you need in your pockets.

Is Walking Dogs Good For People?

The answer to this one  is a resounding yes! Even short walks provide health benefits, which definitely add up! For instance, people with dogs tend to be slimmer than those without.

Here are some other perks:

  • Fitness Improvements
  • Better Sleep
  • Better Mental Health
  • Reduced Stress
  • Lower Risk Of Heart Disease
  • Better Stamina

Those are some pretty pawesome perks!

Do I Still Need To Walk Fido If I Have A Yard?

Yes, definitely. You may not have to walk him as often as you would if you didn’t have that fenced spot: that’s one of the conveniences of having a fenced yard. Missing the occasional walk is fine, as long as your pet is getting the exercise and stimulation he needs. However, if you regularly skip walks, Fido may become bored and restless. That mental stimulation is very important! 

Speaking of which, it’s a good idea to change your route up regularly. Just visiting the same places every day can lead to boredom, which can in turn lead to behavior problems. If your dog becomes bored, he may dig or chew to amuse himself. You definitely don’t want that!

How Can I Keep My Dog Safe While Walking Him?

In terms of safety—both yours and your dog’s—you should keep in mind a few things.

  • You need to be able to hear things like brakes, shouts, and barking. There’s nothing wrong with catching up on your favorite podcast while Fido is sniffing every blade of grass in the yard, but don’t turn the volume up too high. 
  • Keep your pet away from litter and broken glass on the ground.
  • Make sure there are no holes or wires.
  • Don’t let Fido nose around areas that could be hiding wild animals. Snakes, scorpions, and other critters are likely to hide in places like branch piles, debris, old logs, and nooks and crannies.
  • When crossing driveways, parking lots, or intersections, don’t let Fido get ahead of you.
  • Keep your furry pal leashed at all times (except in fenced areas).
  • Keep night walks short and sweet. Save your explorations for later in the evening once the sun has set. Stick to well-lit, busy areas at night.
  • It’s always a good idea to carry a phone.
  • Make sure Fido is microchipped and wearing ID tags.

How Do I Keep My Dog Comfortable When It’s Hot?

When it’s hot out, always bring water with you, even if you only plan to be away for a few minutes. Your pooch may also benefit from a cooling vest. (Tip: wet a bandana and hang it off your pup’s collar to help keep him cool.) 

Be aware of the terrain as well. Asphalt and tar can also burn your pet’s paws. It’s important to realize that these surfaces do not cool off right away when the sun goes down. Keep your pup on soft surfaces as much as possible. You can protect Fido’s toe beans from burns and blisters by using paw balm or wax.

What Equipment Do I Need To Walk Fido?

It is important for your dog to have a sturdy leash and a comfortable collar or a harness. Harnesses have become increasingly popular in recent years, and with good reason. They’re more comfortable for Fido than collars, and they won’t restrict his breathing if he pulls. Furthermore, your dog won’t be able to slip out of his collar.

There are a few caveats here, however. While retractable leashes are fine in some situations, they can be dangerous in others. Fido might get tangled up with a tree, or get wrapped up with a person or even another dog. You’ll also need to be careful with these in potentially-hazardous areas, such as near rivers, canals, busy roads, or cliffs.

Some of our pooches need special gear. For example, dogs that are reactive or aggressive may need muzzles. Greyhounds, which have small heads, may require special collars, called Martingales. Additionally, small dogs should wear harnesses rather than leashes. For specific advice, consult your Fredericksburg TX veterinarians.

Do I Have To Walk My Dog Every Day?

Generally, yes. The schedule will vary, depending on your pet’s size, age, and energy level. It’s also likely to change over time

If you’re housetraining a puppy, Little Fido will need to go out every few hours. Adult dogs may only need to go out a few times a day, but should not go longer than 8 hours without a walk. Senior animals may require shorter, but more frequent walks.

Ask your veterinarian for specific advice.

How Can I Stop My Dog from Pulling Me Around?

Fido is a very good boy, but he has a few bad habits, such as pulling. This can actually be very dangerous!

One thing that often works is changing direction whenever your dog pulls. It can get tedious, but that’s kind of why it works. Over time, your feisty pet will learn that pulling doesn’t get him anywhere, and actually drives him further away.

If you are having trouble breaking this bad habit, consult your Fredericksburg TX veterinarian or a pet behaviorist.

Conclusion: Those daily walks are essential to your pet’s health and happiness. Use good gear, always follow basic safety precautions, and enjoy this special time with your pet.

Have questions about your dog’s health or care? We’re here to help! As your Fredericksburg TX pet hospital, we’re dedicated to providing the best veteirnary care around!