Good for you, good for your dog too
This month, the first week of April will see our campaign focus on the power of walking with dogs, as we aim to help UK dog owners fall even more in love with this important activity.
To get involved, send us a photo of you and your dog on a spring walk, or upload it to Instagram using #WalkWithBarc 🐾
If you own a dog, chances are you’ve already discovered just how fulfilling and enjoyable walking your dog can be. Offering so many benefits to both mental and physical health, it’s no wonder dogs make for such loyal and fun exercise partners.
Most of us know that we should be more active to improve our health, but despite being aware of the benefits exercise brings, life tends to get in the way.
Walking is one of the simplest, most accessible forms of exercise out there. It doesn’t require money to be spent on access to facilities like gyms, and it provides the opportunity to spend more time outdoors in the fresh air.
A dog can be an incredible motivator for engaging in this form of exercise, as our pups help to create expectations and establish accountability. Even on days when you may not feel like moving from the couch, your dog patiently waits to hear ‘walkies!’
At Barc, we believe that the time spent with your dog during walks is invaluable - helping to strengthen your bond and deepen the emotional connection. It also offers itself as an easy solution to the risks of physical inactivity.
In our guide below, we dig deeper into dog walking, with top tips to help you and your pup's exercise time quickly become a walk in the park.
Discover more about dog walking:What are the health benefits of dog walking?
Why do dogs need walks?
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What are the health benefits of dog walking?
Dogs provide a great opportunity to incorporate exercise into our daily routine, helping to increase our total step-count and stamina.
There are a number of potential health benefits to walking with your dog, including:
- Increases cardiovascular fitness
- Releases natural endorphins
- Reduces stress and mood problems
- Lower blood pressure
- Improves circulation
- Enhances energy and fights fatigue
- Strengthens muscles, bones and joints
- Boosts immune system
- Improves sleep at night
- Burns calories and aids weight loss
- Helps with breath work
- Stimulates digestive system
The NHS recommends adults to engage in physical activity every day, and spend at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity per week. But if you aren’t an avid gym-goer, or involved in a team sport, finding the motivation to get moving can be difficult.
You’ve probably heard of the 10,000 steps a day goal that we should all be aiming for, but despite popular advice, just 29% of people living in the UK are reaching this target.
Studies have shown that dog owners are a lot more likely to meet daily exercise requirements, with their four legged friends encouraging them to stay fit and healthy.
- Routine: Add structure to your day
- Fresh air: Spend more time in nature
- Socialisation: Meet new people out on walks
- Reduces stress: Helps to release endorphins
- Companionship: Reduce loneliness, bond with your dog
- Bonding: Fun family activity, suitable for all ages
Why do dogs need walks?
Dog walking not only provides benefits for humans, but it is also incredibly important for your pup’s mental and physical health and wellness too. There are so many benefits of dog walking for our furry family members, and as a dog owner, it’s your responsibility to ensure your dog is getting enough exercise each day.
Not only does dog walking help to maintain a dog’s fitness, it also helps to provide mental stimulation and prevent boredom and destructive behaviours. If you own a dog, you’ll know just how happy they get hearing walkies!
We have a lot to learn from dogs when it comes to their enthusiasm to get outdoors - just think back to the days when you were first training your dog to walk on a lead. Dogs try to take charge and lead the way, desperately excited to explore their surroundings. As curious creatures, they sniff and peer here, there and everywhere to discover new sights, smells and sounds as they go.
Most dogs love to run too. As soon as they are let off the lead and are able to roam free, you’ll find they pick up the pace. Like us, dogs release endorphins during exercise, which means walking your pup can help it to feel happy.
As well as this, dog walking is crucial for their social development. It provides the perfect opportunity for playing and socialising with other dogs, helping them feel at ease with the world around them.
How long should you walk a dog for?
The amount of exercise your dog needs depends on its breed, size, age, temperament and predisposition to exercise. As a general guide, dogs tend to benefit from 30 minutes to 2 hours of physical activity per day.
Different breeds have varying energy levels and exercise requirements, so it’s important to research the individual needs of the dog you own. There are three main energy level categories, including:
- Low energy: These breeds require anywhere from 30 - 60 minutes of exercise per day.
- Moderate energy: For moderate energy level dogs, 40 - 70 minutes of exercise or more is recommended.
- High energy: These dogs suit people with an active lifestyle. They benefit from 1 - 3 hours of exercise per day.
If you aren’t sure what’s best for your pup, use a dog exercise calculator to find out.
How many walks a day for a dog?
When it comes to how many walks you should do per day with your dog, the recommended number is between 1 to 3 walks. How often you walk your dog can be worked around your schedule, so long as your dog is receiving the correct amount of daily exercise required for its breed.
Walking your dog twice a day is preferable, and lots of people tend to make time for this in the mornings and evenings before and after work.
Can you walk a dog too much?
Yes, you can. Over exercising can result in negative physical impacts on your dog, so it’s important to watch out for signs that you’re walking your dog too much. Keep an eye out for:
- Sore muscles and stiffness after physical activity
- Signs of exhaustion post-walk
- Slowing down or lagging during walks
- Excessive panting
What is the best time of day to walk a dog?
There is no single, set time of the day that’s best to walk your dog, but there are lots of different factors to consider when choosing your dog’s walking schedule. It’s important to give your dog a steady routine and aim to walk them around the same time each day.
Walking your dog in the morning provides a number of benefits, allowing it to release its energy early in the day. An evening walk can also offer advantages and help dogs with sleeping through the night. Other factors to consider are:
- ☀️ Hot weather: Lots of breeds are predisposed to heat exhaustion, so it’s important to think about the temperature before heading out for a long walk.
- 💦 Hydration: To prevent your dog getting dehydrated during walks, remember to take a dog travel bottle or collapsible water bowl with you, making time for water breaks as you go.
- ❄️ Cold weather: In the winter, cold and icy surfaces can damage dogs’ footpads, and the grit laid down to help melt snow can also be toxic, causing their paws pain. Because of this, it’s important to take extra care when cleaning feet once home.
Should I walk my dog the same route each day?
Though you should aim to walk your dog around the same time each day, it’s important to try new routes and find unfamiliar places to explore. By choosing different locations, you are enriching your dog’s walking experience mentally and physically, increasing their excitement.
With this being said, if you are still in the training phase, you should stick to familiar routes to ensure your dog doesn’t get distracted.
If you live in the UK, check out 9 dog walks you can explore with your pup rain or shine.
Can I walk my dog without a lead in the UK?
Yes, you can. In the UK, off lead dog walking is allowed in most parks and woodland areas, but it's important to look out for signage that details any restrictions in the place you're walking. For example, certain children's play areas ban dog walking without a lead.
There is no set law that requires dogs to be kept on a lead in public spaces, however it is against the law to let your dog be 'dangerously out of control in a public place'.
Remember to follow off lead etiquette and:
- Closely watch your dog without allowing them to wander out of sight
- Be mindful of your dog approaching other dogs that are being walked on a lead
- Monitor your dog in group environments when playing with other dogs
Less than 50% of UK dog owners walk their dogs on a daily basis
Sadly, a recent study by natural dog food company Forthglade found that the average UK dog walk lasts just 20 minutes. To make matters worse, over ½ of UK dog owners have admitted to not walking their dogs on a regular basis.
The reasons for not getting outdoors varied, with the most common explanations being:
|Dog owners reasons for not walking more with their dogs||% of UK dog owners|
|Not having enough time||28%|
|Their dog doesn't like the rain||20%|
|Feeling too tired after work||15%|
|Their dog misbehaves on walks||15%|
|Their dog pulls on the lead during walks||13%|
As we can see from the responses, there are solutions to help dog owners discover the joys of dog walking and get out more. From waking up earlier and starting your day with a walk, to investing in a dog raincoat and lead training your dog, there are lots of ways to improve the quality and overall enjoyment of your walks.
And on a more promising note, the study also found that a huge 93% of dog owners wished they were able to walk their pets more often.
WALK with Barc London
Knowing how important dog walking is for both humans and dogs, we aim to promote this healthy lifestyle with products that enhance our dog’s lives.
In order to get the most out of your dog walks, it’s important to have all the right essentials - including a comfortable snug-fitting collar or harness, and a quality lead that suits the style of walking you’re doing.
We have all the dog walking accessories necessary to get you going. Remember, organisation is key - so use our top dog walking tips to make your walks as enjoyable as possible.
Planning your dog walk:
- Pre-plan your route in advance
- Look at the weather forecast before you set off
- Run through a checklist to ensure you haven't forgotten anything (especially not the pick-up bags!)
Dog walking checklist:
- Dog collar with ID tag
- Lead and/or harness
- Muzzle (if required)
- Poop pick-up bags
- Any toys you’ll need
- Dog treats
- Bottle of water
- Waterproof dog jacket (if walking in wet weather)
- High visibility jacket (if walking at night)
Happy dog walking!