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Walking Fido: Tips From A Las Vegas, NV Veterinarian
January 15, 2024

It’s Walk Your Dog Month! Of course, you could say that every month is Walk Your Dog Month. That’s not incorrect! Our canine pals need to be walked every day, not just for sanitary reasons, but also for exercise and mental stimulation. Here are some tips from a local Las Vegas, NV veterinarian on getting Fido moving.

Why Is Walking My Dog Important?

If you don’t have a yard, walks are necessary for sanitary reasons. However, that’s not the only reason to take Fido for daily strolls.

One reason for this is simple exercise. Dogs need proper activity to stay healthy and happy.  How much and what type of exercise your pooch will need depends on your dog’s age, size, breed, and health. Some pups need one hour of vigorous activity every day, whereas others may only need a short walk every day. Ask your veterinarian for specifics.

Regular walks also provide dogs with mental stimulation. Fido’s cute nose gives him a lot of information about the world around him. Sniffing that tree down the street can be quite informative for your pup.

Those strolls are also good for bonding, as they give you a chance to spend quality time with your pup.

What Should I Bring When Walking My Dog?

When taking a stroll around the block, it’s a good idea to grab a few things. These include:

  • A phone
  • A phone charger
  • Flashlight
  • Spare Keys
  • Water
  • Waste Baggies
  • Gloves

Some may also want to consider a small protection device, such as a spray, though this is of course personal choice. 

Tip: Dedicate a bag or jacket to walking Fido, and keep everything you need in your pockets. This will make it easier to get out the door when you’re walking your pet.

Is Walking Fido Good For Me?

Taking your pooch out doesn’t just benefit him: it’s good for you, too! The cumulative effects of even short walks definitely add up! For instance, people with dogs tend to be slimmer than those without.

Some of those key benefits include:

  • Improved physical fitness
  • Better sleep
  • Mental Health Improvements
  • Stress reduction
  • Reduced risk of heart disease
  • Lower Blood Pressure

If I Have A Yard, Do I Still Need To Walk My Dog?

If you have a yard and are taking the time to play with your pet, Fido probably won’t become too distressed if you miss a walk from time to time. It could, however, be detrimental if you regularly skip those strolls.

Your dog needs exercise and stimulation. It’s also important to change paths regularly. Just taking him out to the same spots every day isn’t very exciting for him. This can lead to boredom, which in turn can cause behavior problems. If your dog gets bored, he may dig or chew as a form of amusement.

What Gear Do I Need To Walk Fido?

Make sure your dog has a comfortable harness or collar and a sturdy leash. The popularity of harnesses has grown in recent years, and with good reason. They’re more comfortable for Fido, and won’t restrict his breathing if he pulls. Additionally, your pooch can’t slip out of the collar.

There are a few caveats here, though. While these are fine in some situations, they can be dangerous in others. Fido might get tangled up with a tree, a person, or even another dog. You also don’t want to use retractable leashes in any potentially-hazardous areas, such as near riverbanks, canals, busy roads, or cliffs. Finally, always carry another leash. 

If your dog is prone to bolting, you can give yourself an added level of control by using two leashes 

Some pups need special gear. For example, a reactive or aggressive dog may need a muzzle. Pups with small heads, such as Greyhounds, may require special collars, called Martingales, while little dogs should always wear harnesses rather than leashes. Consult your Las Vegas, NV vet for specific advice.

How Many Times Should I Walk My Dog Every Day?

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer here. It depends on your pet’s size, age, and energy level. That schedule will also likely change over time.

If you are housetraining a puppy, you’ll need to take him out every few hours. Adult dogs may only need to go out a few times a day. Seniors may need shorter, but more frequent walks.

As a general rule, adult dogs should not go longer than 8 hours without a walk. 

Our general recommendation is to walk your dog at least once a day, for about 15 to 20 minutes. However, ask your Las Vegas, NV veterinary clinic for more specific advice.

What Can I Do To Stop My Dog From Hauling Me Around?

Although Fido is a very good boy, he does have a few bad habits, such as pulling.

Every time your dog hauls you, change direction on him. This can get tedious, but that’s why it works. In time, your feisty pet will discover that pulling does not only not get him where he wants to go, but actually drives him further away from his goal.

Of course, some pups need more work on their petiquette than others. If you are having trouble breaking this bad habit, consult your Las Vegas, NV veterinarians or a pet behaviorist.

What Should I Do To Keep My Dog Safe While Walking?

There are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to safety: both yours and your dog’s.

  • If you listen to music or podcasts, don’t turn the volume up too high. You need to be able to hear things like brakes, shouts, and barking.
  • Watch the ground, and steer your pet away from things like broken glass and litter.
  • Keep an eye out for holes and wires as well. 
  • You’ll also need to be aware of spots where snakes, scorpions, and other critters could be hiding. Places like branch piles, debris, old logs, and nooks and crannies make tempting hideouts.
  • Don’t let Fido get ahead of you when crossing driveways, parking lot entrances, or intersections. 
  • Keep your dog leashed at all times (except in fenced areas).
  • Be extra diligent at night. Once the sun has set, stick to well-lit, busy areas and save your explorations for later.
  • Always take a phone with you.

How Can I Keep My Dog Comfortable On Walks In Extreme Weather?

Nevada summers can be scorchers. When it’s hot out, always bring water with you if you plan to be gone for more than a few minutes. 

Pay attention to the terrain as well. Your pet can also burn his paws on hot asphalt or tar. These surfaces don’t immediately cool off when the sun goes down, so err on the side of caution and keep your pup on soft surfaces as much as possible. Using paw balm or wax can keep those toe beans moist and protect them from burns and blisters. 

We recommend that you keep your pet’s toe fur trimmed, too. Although those tufts are cute, they can pick up a lot of gunk and foreign things.

In conclusion: daily walks are very important to your pet’s health and happiness. Use basic safety precautions, and enjoy the time with your canine companion. 

Do you have questions about your dog’s health or care? Contact us anytime! As your Las Vegas, NV pet hospital, we are here to help if you have questions about your dog’s health or care.