Many dog owners recognize that simply walking their dogs can keep them and their dogs healthier. However, it may surprise you to learn that a significant percentage of dog owners do not walk or exercise their dogs.
According to a recent article in The New York Times, "as many as 40 percent of dog owners in the United States and elsewhere rarely if ever walk their dogs." In searching for reasons why people didn't walk their dogs, researchers came up with one intriguing conclusion: "Interestingly, one of the prime determinants of regular dog walks was affection. People who reported feeling close to their pet generally walked it more often than those who reported a looser bond."
A research study suggests that people are less likely to walk smaller dogs (typically weighing less than thirty pounds), older dogs, and overweight dogs. Contrary to popular belief, all of these dogs need exercise, as long as a veterinarian approves. Dr. Carri Westgarth, a researcher in England, tells the Times that taking a dog on a walk is not just good exercise, it is also stimulating for the dog's senses and reinforces the canine-human bond.
“People who walk their dogs often say they do it for the dog,” said Westgarth. “But there is also an element of what we get out of it in terms of enjoyment, which is the big motivator.”
So get out there and walk your dog... you'll both be better off for it!
Image: Vlado, Freedigitalphotos.net