Say What Now?
There was a scary stat released recently from a survey by Forthglade, that less than half of UK dog owners walk their dogs on a daily basis. Some of the reasons cited were not wanting to go out in the rain (sometimes the dog, sometimes the owner), being too tired, not wanting the dog to get dirty or just not having enough time.
Dog Walks are an Important Part of Dog Ownership
Now, I’m not an active person. I’d never have chosen to go for a walk for its own sake before we got our boy. BUT this was something I had to factor when deciding to get a dog. And I’ll admit that it took me a while to get into the swing of it. We send him off to a doggy daycare once a week, but the rest of the time it’s up to us to fulfill these needs.
Now, some people will say that they don’t need to walk their dog as they let them out to run in the garden. While this is a lovely addition, it’s not good enough on its own. A walk is far more than just the physical act of walking, it comes with mental stimulation of fresh sights and, more importantly, smells. A dog will not get this plethora of information in the same back garden every day.
There are times when you need to decrease the length of the walk, or drop them entirely for a period. Puppies and senior dogs don’t need as much as adult dogs, and SHOULDN’T be taken out for long periods of intensive exercise. Dogs that are recovering from surgery, illness or injury may also need to be restricted. In this case you’ll need to introduce some brain games to keep them mentally stimulated – this will come with the bonus of lowering their energy so they’re easier to keep calm and still.
Wet weather is NOT an acceptable reason to keep your dog inside – something I have to remind myself in the middle of winter. Snow and ice however might be different, and I’ve twisted ankles in previous years in such conditions, and the idea of doing that with the dog terrifies me. Luckily, my other half lives for snow, so he takes over the bulk of walks during those rare occurrences. If it was just me, I might be substituting in some brain games during a white christmas. USe common sense in these circumstances.
If there’s thunder and lightening it may well be worth skipping a walk as some dogs can be fearful. Same as during firework season (which now seems to be in the middle of the day on a Sunday if you’re in Hammersmith!).
High Temperatures can Kill Dogs
Hot weather is another matter. I have written previously about safety issues regarding your dog and hot weather, but I think it’s worth re-emphasising that when certain temperatures are reached, you are not being neglectful if you do not walk your dog. In fact, it’s basically the opposite. Dogs burn their paws off when walking on overly hot roads and pavements, and they can die of heatstroke. They will not die if you miss a walk. Or you can get up early to walk them in the cooler morning, or later into the evening. But if you have to miss walking for a day, they will not come to harm! Sub in some brain games if you need, but if they’re like my dog, when it’s hot, he has no fucks to give on anything – we just put a cold wet towel over him, or use his cooling collar and leave him be.
Not walking your dog for one day does not make you one of the 50% that don’t walk their dogs at all.
Not every dog will enjoy the heat, the crowds, or all the strange dogs. Make sure that you're taking your dog's needs into account when attending events like this.
How to Find a Good Dog Walker
Whether your dog is an office dog or a stay at home dog, you may still need to use a dog walker from time to time, make sure that you're using a good one.