person walking their dog

Experts agree that walking improves human health in many ways. Not only an excellent exercise for the body, walking is great for the brain, our mental health, and mood. If it’s this good for us, you can imagine how healthy walking is for pets, especially if they spend a majority of their day indoors. 

January is Walk Your Pet Month, and we’d like to take this special opportunity to remind and encourage pet owners to get out there.

How to Start and Maintain

Your pet is a creature of habit. They not only love being able to anticipate what’s coming next, but a dependence on their routine keeps them regular, stable, and happy. Walking your pet at least once a day is key to their well-being. The benefits of vigorous exercise are known, but perhaps even more important is the outlet for their mental health.

If you don’t have a scheduled walk every day, now is the perfect time to start this practice. Set aside a specific time in your calendar and keep to it as you would an important meeting. It can take a few weeks for a daily walk to become a habit, but when it does you won’t be able to stop. Why? Because it feels so right!

New Friends, New Sites

Walk your pet every day, and you’ll begin to notice how their behavior improves. Even if your pet is already well-trained and highly socialized, you might see them sleeping better, demonstrating less anxiety, and showing a contented disposition. Walk your pet every day and see how the connection between develops and flourishes. 

If your pet needs a little work in the training/socialization department, a walk every day (or more) can help. The more positive an experience is, whether it’s in a new place or surrounded by unfamiliar people, the better. Reward them for good behavior, and use the increased exposure to leash training as a way to improve their skills. Over time, you may be able to teach them how to safely walk off-leash in designated areas. Remember, retractable leashes are not always the best choice. 

Safety Guidelines

Walk Your Pet Month is the perfect chance to expand your best friend’s horizons. That said, however, it is winter time. While San Antonio doesn’t often have crazy weather extremes this time of year, there are still some considerations for winter pet safety. 

If your pet is older, suffering from osteoarthritis, or other medical issues, be sure they are comfortable and warm while outside with you. Jogging with a pet younger than 18 months can be dangerous to their developing joints. 

It can get a little chilly at night, so sweaters or vests are wonderful additions to a shivering pet. Booties with grip can help insulate those cold paws. If you walk your pet at night, invest in reflective gear, lights, and always have a way to get in touch with someone if help is needed. 

Happy Walk Your Pet Month!

If you have any questions about your pet’s health, behavior, or well-being, please give us a call at (210) 681-1391. From all of us at Leon Valley Veterinary Hospital, we hope you enjoy walking with your pet!