Your Back Yard Could Be Hurting Your Dog

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Ready to Read a Great Reason to Hire a Dog Walker?

“Why do I need to hire a dog walker? I have a back yard, he runs all the time out there!” We hear that often enough that we felt we HAVE to address that misconception. Pet parents in Miami who own nice backyards seem to feel that letting their dogs out, alone, for long stretches of time means that their dogs get great exercise. From experience, the majority of those pet parents have less than slim pooches.

We’ve done our research in order to disprove the equation: large, fenced-in yard = active dog, and turned to Dr. Ernie Ward. In his book “Chow Hounds,” veterinarian Ernie Ward dissects why people think their dogs are active when they go outside (the book is also a great read on the obesity epidemic skyrocketing in our cats and dogs, by the way).

The message: your dog will bolt out to check the perimeter of your house like it’s his job, because, in his eyes, it is! Then, when the owner opens the door, it’s natural for your dog to race back to comfy home, where treats, dinner, or delicious cool air is blasting. But what did your dog do while you weren’t watching?

A little primer on canine behavior:

Research on canine behavior shows that pet dogs and wild dogs spend around 80% of alone time resting, and 60% of it resting if they have a companion (another great reason to adopt a dog!).

In the wild, conservation of energy is extremely important to survival; in the wild, a dog will only exert itself to find food, shelter, protect itself, or perform social behaviors. Exercise happens as a result of satisfying these needs, not by itself! What does that mean for you and your dog today, when they have abundant food and wonderful, safe homes?

YOU must provide a reason to exercise, as well as the means to do so. NASA research and others calculate that dogs need much more than a light evening walk down the block and back to burn the calories from all those treats.

The ideal pace for a walk is 4.0 to 4.7 miles per hour, or a 14 to 15 minute mile, which is sufficient as a cardiovascular exercise. If you can’t maintain this, you should plan on supplementing your walks with agility training, fetching, swimming…

We know it’s hard for most of you with full time jobs and families to do this. Even kids have packed schedules! But this is vital to your dog’s health,and we are passionate about preventing obesity and all its effects on dogs. We offer walks and runs to keep them fit, healthy, and happy (it’s our tag line for a reason!). If you don’t have time, please consider our 30 minute walks.

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