January: It marks the beginning of the year and the end of the holiday season. It brings short days and cold nights. It’s the middle of winter, with spring still a full two months away. Interestingly, January, that middle-of-winter month, is also “Walk Your Pet Month.”

Why should you walk your pet in January (and every other month of the year, too)? Because walking your pet regularly provides plenty of benefits for both of you. Here are three reasons to bundle up and hit the streets with your dog this January.

  • Walking helps to keep you and your pet healthy. Not only will you both reap the benefits of moving more (think slimmer waistlines, better blood chemistries, more efficient digestive systems, and more agile bodies), it’s been found that regular exercise also improves mental health.
  • Walking can improve behavior. Perhaps you don’t need an attitude adjustment, but if your pup exhibits hyperactivity, destructive behavior, or attention-seeking behaviors, regular walks might prove to be the perfect medicine. Walking will help your dog burn off pent-up energy (if he knocks over furniture or jumps on people, he probably has pent-up energy), leading to a more relaxed demeanor and improved sleep. If your dog is chewing, digging, scratching, or excessively barking or whining, walks could help to reduce these destructive and attention-seeking behaviors.
  • Walking promotes the human-animal bond and builds trust. Some of the destructive and attention-seeking behaviors mentioned above can be your pet’s way of saying, “Spend more time with me!” By heading out for a regular walk with your dog, you’ll grow the bond you share, build trust and confidence, and help to satisfy those cries for quality time.

Remember: Small, shorthaired breeds and sighthounds need more protection from the extreme cold. A lined winter coat and booties should do the trick. And, if it’s frigid outside, keep walks short, regardless of breed (you can make up the time on a warmer day).

Questions about walking your dog during the winter months? Call our office.