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Don’t Neglect Walking Your Dog – It’s More Important Than You Think

Darren Maung
Darren is an aspiring writer who wishes to share or create stories to the world and bring humanity together as one. A massive Star Wars nerd and history buff, he finds enjoyable, heart-warming or interesting subjects in any written media.
Published: May 18, 2024
Walking your dog is an important routine for their physical and mental well-being. (Image: Sam Lion via pexels)

Few bonds between man and beast can compare with the loving companionship provided by a pet dog. For their faithful service and life-long devotion, they ask only a few things in return — one of which is their walks. What exactly do they get out of this daily routine? 

Of course, walking your dog is good exercise for both of you; but this is only a fraction of the formula for good health. Putting the pooch on a leash and promenading around the block also has emotional and behavioral benefits for your dog that can’t be had from just letting them out to do their business in the backyard.

Daily walks are good for your dog’s mental health, and yours! (Image: Aysun Kahraman Öktem via pexels)

Walking your dog improves mental wellness

Dogs have an extraordinary sense of smell, and gather most of their information through the nose. Taking your dog out for a walk provides far-greater mental stimulation than a typical, fenced-in yard can offer — not to mention the interior of a home. They like to explore and discover new things every day!

In addition, dogs are social creatures — like us. Not only do they appreciate any attention we can give them, but they are also interested in other dogs. Walking your dog gives them the opportunity to catch up with their canine comrades, or at least sniff out who has been there recently, doing what. 

Your regular company also promotes feelings of security and belonging (as long as you’re not constantly scolding and restricting them). Just like with people, anxiety and stress impact the physical health of your pet. A happy, well-balanced dog may display stronger immunity to disease than one who is nervous and depressed — and they are also likely to be better behaved. 

Walking your dog strengthens the bond between you. (Image: Neil Ryan Famoso Saraña via pexels)

Behavioral benefits of walking your dog

Daily walks are a channel for constructive use of energy which might otherwise tend towards less desirable behavior — like chewing, digging, or barking. Aside from the physical focus, you can use part of your walk for training opportunities. 

If you have an especially energetic dog, set aside one walk for active playtime and use the other for more communicative bonding. 

Talking to your dog, no matter how silly it seems, keeps them interested — especially if you use words they recognize. Positive reinforcement for good behavior is much more constructive than criticism, so bring your treats and offer kind words as you practice simple commands.

A satisfied, confident and disciplined dog is always a pleasure to be around. 

Improves physical health

It goes without saying that your dog needs exercise, but walking, specifically, is important for many reasons. Having a place to go and someone to go with is excellent motivation to get moving. 

That movement helps reduce the risk of liver and cardiovascular disease, insulin resistance, osteoarthritis and obesity. A common problem for dogs, obesity cuts a dog’s lifespan while also being costly to treat with veterinarian aid.

Regular opportunities to relieve themselves outdoors also helps prevent problems like constipation, bladder infections, and accidents indoors.

Moreover, walking your dog helps improve their joint health, ensuring they do not become stiff and achy. Large breeds are especially vulnerable to joint-related problems like hip dysplasia and arthritis.

The responsibility of fulfilling our pet’s needs can do wonders for our own motivation to get out and about. (Image: Moses Londo via pexels)

Walking your dog is good for you, too

It’s easy to see that most of these benefits will carry over to you, as well. Walking your dog provides great motivation for regular, low-impact, aerobic exercise to keep your body fit and relieve stress; cheerful company to improve your mood; and a change in mental stimulation to help keep your mind clear and focused. 

One study published in the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine shows that new dog owners had a higher frequency and duration for walks than new cat owners and non-pet owners. An accompanying study also highlighted that dog walkers are more likely to “meet physical activity guidelines” than those without dogs.

As icing on the cake, walking your dog is an inexpensive exercise that doubles as a social activity. No fees or equipment required, and you could run into fellow dog walkers anywhere, any time!


Ila Bonczek contributed to this report.