With many of us now working from home, our dogs are enjoying the extra companionship throughout the day. However, whilst most people are busy working at their dining table, less and less of the UK's dogs are getting enough exercise. Especially now the nights are drawing in and we’re heading into winter.
The PDSA reported that, even though 81% of dog owners do walk their dog every day, 44% of owners walk their dog for less than 30 minutes at a time and 13% of dogs aren’t walked every day. That’s 1.3 million dogs who aren’t getting walked every day!
Dogs need daily outdoor exercise to ensure good physical and mental health. It provides them with mental stimulation and keeps them active, which can help prolong their lives and reduce the risk of obesity,
We Love Pets Veterinary Nurse, Chelsey Wheeler explains: "Walks for you dog are about so much more than just a toilet break. They provide physical exercise, mental stimulation and enrichment with opportunities to socialise and build relationships, supporting both their overall physical and mental health. We have recently seen how being confined to our homes has detrimental effects on our own wellbeing, so why should it be any different for our dogs?"
Socialisation and companionship
Dogs, just like their human owners, usually like to make friends. Amy Pearson APDT dog trainer says “dogs are sociable animals who enjoy company. Having friends outside our immediate family is just as important to our dogs as it is to us. They need to have doggie companions and experience different sights and smells. As much as your dog loves time with you, no longer seeing his friends will be like staying in lockdown to him and we all know how boring that was!
It's also good for us to have a break sometimes! Dog walks are a source of enjoyment and we don't want to lose that by trying to squish them into gaps in-between online meetings”.
If dogs are socialised with other dogs early, it can enhance their quality of life. Stanley Coren, psychology professor and neuropsychological researcher, states that:
"When in the company of other dogs, their natural inclination is to act like puppies, with playful games of chase or wrestling with that rough and tumble frenzy similar to what we see in human children of preschool age. This can produce bonds of friendship between dogs and can generalise to become a positive and friendly attitude toward all other canines, but only if they are supervised properly and not exposed to free play in day care centres or on walks”.
A We Love Pets walk, which is fully supervised and with one or two of your dog’s friends, will boost their happiness and keep them mentally and physically stimulated.
Lorna Leyden, We Love Pets Franchisee, worked as an RSPCA inspector for 14 years and says:
“When stuck at home in your office tapping away on the computer, or home schooling your children, what’s your dog doing? It’s important your dog goes for a walk for many reasons. Firstly, walking is a primal instinct for our canines and serves a vital role in providing exercise, stimulation and enrichment. Spending just 30 minutes sniffing their surroundings and some socialisation or off lead play, will have a positive impact on their welfare and emotional state. This will result in one tired dog for your day working at home. There’s nothing worse than a barking dog on a zoom call!
Walking also provides a perfect opportunity for some training such as loose lead walking or recall and is a great way to bond with your dog. Why not consider book a We Love Pets dog walker to provide this important part of your dog’s day. We will socialise your dog with a few local friends, provide plenty of exercise and enrichment and then wash their muddy paws before they come back to you. Then they will snooze the afternoon away whilst you concentrate on your work.”
Walking keeps weight off
Daily hour walks will help to keep the weight off. There is a national canine obesity problem and research shows that overweight dogs are typically exercised less frequently and for shorter lengths. This lack of exercise will impact the physical and mental health of dogs and is a major contributing factor to the national canine obesity problem.
Our vet nurse, Sophie Baldwin, states that “When managing weight through exercise, a dog must be walked every day. The amount is dependent on its age, breed and general health. Ideally, every dog should be walked off-lead for 30 minutes to two hours each day (one hour in the morning and one hour in the afternoon).”
High energy and working breeds
While all dogs need exercise, certain breeds need more exercise than others.
Dogs that don’t get enough exercise can develop behavioural problems such as hyperactivity, barking or chewing.
Sophie Baldwin, vet nurse says: “working breeds need the most exercise and need the time off the lead to run and explore, tending to their instincts”.
The RSPCA recommends that breeds such as retrievers, spaniels, border collies, German shepherds, huskies, malamutes, dalmatians, boxers and gundogs need at least two hours of exercise per day.
Even smaller dogs like terriers, bulldogs and pugs need at least one hour.
Ryan White, Managing Director of We Love Pets says: “Having a We Love Pets dog walker in will break up a dog’s day. Having someone different to the owner coming in to walk the dog with their canine friend will help to enrich the dog’s life and provide the daily exercise they need.”
To find out more about the pet care services we offerSee our Services