January is Also Walk Your Dog Month

January is Walk Your Dog Month!
Grab Your Leash and Pup and Get Out There.

The air in January is clean, crisp, and stimulating, and once you’re dressed for it, winter walking is great for your health.

That goes for our dogs, too. Yes, the days are shorter, but if you plan ahead, a walk out of doors with our dogs is rewarding for them and for us. Find some inspiration during January’s Walk Your Dog Month.

Why Walk Your Dogs in January?

Energy Reboot: The holidays often leave us feeling a bit overstuffed and under-exercised. Getting out of doors in January is great for you and your pets, leading to increased motion, cardio benefits, exposure to sunlight, increased socialization, and better sleep. Once you are dressed for it, a brisk winter walk is exhilarating and just feels good!

Winter Walking Can “Melt” Extra Weight. Obesity is a major health issue in dogs and humans.  The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention cites that 59% of dogs in the United States are obese, as of 2022. There are so many consequences for being obese, including a lack of energy and an increase in lethargy. Activity leads to more activity; immobility leads to more immobility, and a host of health-related problems.

Joint Health Benefits. People who sit at desks all day often feel stiffness in their limbs upon standing. Dogs curled up in sleep all day will feel the same thing, and the resulting immobility is a major health concern. Joints at any age need regular use and activity to improve their function.

Mental Health Boosts: Getting outside in nature, breathing in fresh air, and feeling the sunlight improves our mood and overall mental health. The short days of January often leave people experiencing Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD, as we’re exposed to fewer hours of sunlight in winter. The same goes for our dogs, who may feel bored and penned in. They’ll benefit from constructive and healthy activities for the body and mind, like additional walking, bonding, socialization, and training time. A tired dog is a good dog.

Bonding and Togetherness. Our dogs love to be with us and to make us happy. Walking is a terrific bonding behavior when we can take time to interact, play, and even do some simple training exercises, like reminding our dogs how to “Heel.” This can strengthen the emotional bond between owners and pets. Reward your walking partner with lots of praise and affection for a job well done.

Social Windows – You and your dog will benefit by seeing others outdoors who are walking dogs. Socializing your dog with other people and canines alike will help encourage good social responses.

So, kick off 2024 with plenty of walks and with a pledge for better health for you and your dog! Once you are in the routine, it will be easy to carry on the practice all year round. Happy trails!

Woman walking dog in snow.