Are you tired of having to get your dog away from their favourite spot on the sofa every day during the scheduled walk time? Or maybe you have a new puppy who gets over excited when you mention the word “walk”? It’s without a doubt that there are many benefits of taking your dog for a walk, but how do you set the stage?
Whether your dog is a reluctant walker or a walking enthusiast, it’s important to properly prepare them for their daily walks and runs.
Not only will this ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for both you and your furry friend, but it will also help establish a routine that will make the exercise easier in the long run.
If you’re ready to make your dog walks more gratifying and stress-free, read on to learn how to prepare your dog for a walk.
Train and socialise your dog before a walk
Before you head out with your dog for a walk, it’s important to make sure that your furry friend is well-trained and comfortable in various social settings.
It’s always important to socialise your dog before stepping outdoors with them. This means introducing your furry friend to different people, pets, other animals, and surroundings in a rewarding way.
Socialisation helps your dog learn how to behave around others and can prevent the build-up of fear and reactivity toward unfamiliar things or spaces.
This is particularly significant if you’ll be taking your dog to crowded areas or walking far from your immediate neighborhood.
Such familiarisation will not only make the experience more gratifying for both of you, but it will also help keep your dog comfortable in different areas.
Training your dog to obey basic commands such as ‘walk’, ‘sit’, ‘stay,’ and ‘come’ is essential for ensuring you make the experience better and easier for you.
These commands could also help to keep your dog away from potentially dangerous situations during the walk, such as approaching traffic or aggressive animals.
It’s also a good idea to teach your pup how to walk properly while leashed. Pulling and tugging can be both frustrating and dangerous for you and the dog.
By training and socialising your dog before a walk, you’ll both be more confident and comfortable in a variety of situations, which will make for a much more enjoyable experience.
Allow your dog to rest after eating
You should always give your pooch enough time to digest their food before stepping out for the walk. When your dog eats, their digestive system begins working immediately to break down the food and absorb the nutrients.
If you take your dog on a walk immediately after they eat, the movement of their body can cause the partially digested food to shift around in their stomach and this could potentially cause an upset stomach.
Your dog could also twist the stomach during the walk and this can lead to bloating, which is a serious condition.
To prevent this from happening, it’s recommended to wait at least an hour after your dog eats before taking them on their daily walks and runs.
This will give their body time to properly digest the food and reduce the risk of interrupting digestion and stomach complications.
If your doggo has a sensitive stomach, you may need to wait even longer to allow them humble time to digest food properly. 1.5 hours is ideal but you could allow them more time based on recommendations from your vet.
Allowing your dog some time before stepping out with them is not only good for their digestive health, but it also allows them to fully rest and relax after taking their meal time. This can be particularly good for elderly dogs or those with specific health problems.
Create a pre-walk routine
Before you head out of the house for your daily dog walks, make sure to take care of your dog’s basic needs.
This should include feeding them if necessary, giving them clean drinking water, and allowing them to go for a potty break if need be.
It’s also a good idea to give your dog enough attention and affection before the walk to help them get calm. This will reassure them that you are looking forward to their valued companionship during the short walk.
Don’t forget to check for any injuries or health issues that may affect your dog’s ability to walk properly or for long. Such conditions include leg injuries, sore paws, or joint pain.
Choosing a Route
When selecting a route for your dog walk, consider your dog’s age, size, breed, and fitness level.
If you have an older or less active dog, you should choose a shorter route that will be less strenuous for them.
In hot weather, it is recommended to look for a route with trees and shades to keep your dog cool during the time outside.
If your dog is anxious around many people or traffic, you may want to avoid crowded areas or busy roads. You should therefore opt for a quieter, less crowded path where your doggo can feel more at ease.
If your dog is happy being around other dogs during walks, you can decide to take them for a group dog walk.
Get your supplies together
Before you head out of the door with your pup, make sure you have all the necessary items for a successful walking experience. Here’s a list of the things you’ll want to consider having during the walk:
1. Leash and collar or harness
A leash is a good accessory for keeping your dog safe and under control while you’re out on a walk. Make sure you choose a leash that is appropriate for your dog’s size and strength and consider using a comfy collar or harness that fits properly and is comfortable for your dog to wear.
2. Poo bags
Make sure you bring enough waste bags with you to properly dispose of your dog’s poo. It’s important to pick up after your dog to keep your neighbourhood clean and free of messes.
Dog waste can contain pathogenic bacteria such as Campylobacter & E. coli that pose a risk to public health.
You can help prevent the spread of these potentially harmful germs by collecting your dog’s fecal matter and discarding them in a designated pit.
3. Clean drinking water and easy-to-chew treats:
If you are taking your dog out on a hot day, it’s always important that you carry a bottle of water to keep them hydrated in the course of the walk.
Your dog burns a lot of energy while walking and might need some snacks to keep them going. Having some tasty treats will help keep them satisfied and nourished even during this outdoor activity.
Doing this will also help your dog to create a positive association with walking and they will always look forward to the next time you pull out the leash for a walk.
If you’ll be walking in extreme weather, you may want to bring some protective gear for your dog. Here are some of the gears you may want to consider depending on your setting:
1. Sunhat and sunscreen
If you’ll be walking your dog during the summer or in a sunny location, it’s important to protect them from the sun’s harmful rays.
A sun hat can help shade your dog’s face and ears, and sunscreen balm can be applied to their nose and ears to prevent sunburn.
2. Dog coat or sweater
When the weather is very cold, it’s important to keep your furry friend warm and protected from freezing temperatures.
A warm dog coat or jacket can help insulate their body and prevent them from getting under the weather.
3. Dog boots
If you’ll be walking your dog on rough or uneven terrain, or if you live in an area with a lot of snow or ice, dog boots can help protect your dog’s paws from injury and cold weather.
Boots can also protect your dog’s paws from wet or murky grounds hence keeping them dry.
4. Reflective gear
Walking your dog during the evening or in low light conditions can be risky for them if not well guarded. You should make sure that your canine companion is visible to other road users to avoid any incident from occurring. Reflective gear such as a vest, collar, or leash, can help increase your dog’s visibility and reduce the risk of accidents.
Regular dog walks are an important part of maintaining the physical fitness and mental well-being of both you and your furry friend. In case you’re unable to do it regularly, there are numerous professional dog walkers available for hire.
By learning how to prepare for a dog walk and staying focused on their specific needs, you can ensure a safe and fun experience for both of you.
Make sure not to skip the preparation stage, take your time and ensure that you have everything ready before stepping out. Remember that preparation is as good as the activity itself.