6 Reasons to Start Walking Your Dog Yesterday!

6 reasons to walk your dog

6 Reasons to Start Walking Your Dog Yesterday

We all want to be great dog parents. We intend to train our dogs, practice learning new tricks every day,  take them out for a walk- no! two walks! a day… but when we get home tired from work, it’s much easier to let them out in the yard to do their business alone then let them back in for Netflix and pets. But dogs don’t create their own exercise routines on their own- they need direction, stimulation- or else they will do it in ways you prefer they not.

As dog walkers we can unequivocally tell you that truly, a tired dog is a much better behaved dog. Just like with children, dogs have active minds and a desire to explore the world with you by their side. They crave time with their parents, and also need to stretch their legs and get in some exercise to maintain their health. It’s a no-brainer that we should all be walking our dogs, but here are a six reasons to inspire action today.
walker walking running Pinecrest dogs
1. Keep your dogs at a healthy weight.
Dog obesity is on the rise. This causes many of the same problems for them as obese humans experience, including joint and muscle pain, chronic inflammation, depression, strain on the heart and other organs, crowding of the lungs, and more.

Exercising with your dog every day, coupled with a great diet appropriate for your dog’s needs, will result in maintaining a good weight for your pet and avoid any weight-related health issues with joints and bones.

How to tell if a dog is at a good weight when you don’t have a scale at home? Here are some quick visual guidelines:

  • Your dog’s ribs should not be showing. Feel the sides; you should feel their ribs after some slight padding, like having a blanket over the ribs.
  • Look at your pet from above: hip bones should not be protruding, but they shouldn’t look like a sausage or a ball with legs. There should be a nice narrowing at the abdomen.
  • Look at your pet from the side: You should see a dip in the abdomen when looking at them from the side. The stomach should not hang below the chest, or be too tight against the back.

2. Prevent premature aging
Exercise like walking your dog prevents premature aging by engaging and maintaining lean muscle condition. Lean muscle mass is important because it strengthens bones and “dramatically increases the availability of protein and constituent amino acids, which availability is tremendously important to maintaining whole-body metabolism and “organ reserve” (the functional capacity of organs to support life).

Whole-body metabolism and organ reserve are absolutely vital to basic bodily life-support but they tend to break down as bodies age,” according to Coach Dan Schulof at Varsity Pets. Take this to heart for yourself, too- get moving at least 20 minutes a day to prevent a slew of issues in your own body. Ah, dogs are a gift that keep on giving!

3. Maintain essential bodily functions:
Daily exercise is also considered one of the first treatments for dog constipation, in addition to adequate water and fiber in the diet. Did you know that lack of muscle use allows muscle to generate? Yeah, we learned about that in school at some point. Exercise such as walking your dog improves insulin health and metabolism, as well.

According to Animal Wellness Magazine, “Physical activity helps jumpstart natural gene systems involved in regenerating and maintaining insulin health, helping to reverse insulin resistance and diabetes. It’s another one of those natural adaptation mechanisms where the body adapts to physical work by improving nutrient absorption by the cells. It consequently improves sugar transport for the energy required by working cells, and helps restore insulin health and correct the diabetic condition. Improvement of insulin resistance literally enhances biological age and general health as well as energy, stamina and strength.”

4. Helps your dog be better behaved.
Are your dogs tearing up furniture, your favorite shoes, or being generally destructive when you’re not around? If you work or travel a lot or simply have a very busy schedule, your animals might be channeling their pent-up energy as best they can. Active dogs who don’t have an outlet for their energy can become destructive and exhibit neurotic behaviors such as chewing, digging, or barking, but you can prevent that!

Get up a little earlier to take your dog out for a morning walk- we promise it’s much cooler these days and it will get you off to a great start as well. Walks, without cell phones to interrupt, are a good time for introspection. And your dogs get to sniff the world around them. Just remember to be zen about the doggy poop pickup.

5. Training and Dog Socialization
Chances are, you’ll be meeting other dogs on your walk. Routine walks are a great way to teach your pets how to interact in a healthy way with other dogs. If it’s been a while since your dog has seen another animal and thinks it’s human (meaning, it doesn’t remember how to “dog”), or it is fearful or anxious, be sure to enlist the help of a great trainer who uses positive reinforcement to help get them over that hump.

6. Strengthen your bond with your pup
Dogs have evolved over thousands of years to please humans. Descended from wolves, their bodies became smaller, from paws to fangs, they became less frightening and less fearful, the first domesticated animal and our constant companions. We bred them to be with us and want to be with us- so bear with them when they crave your attention. Give them quality time, structured as it must be around your schedule- but find time to fulfill this need. Love for you exists naturally, but a bond takes time and small daily commitments to instill.

So take the 30 minutes to an hour to walk with your dog and strengthen your relationship with shared experiences and a chance to reinforce great walking behavior and other commands. Notice whether your dog is checking in with you, making eye contact. When you get home, incorporate a new trick or reinforce old ones. The point is taking the time to build a relationship beyond simply feeding your dog and petting it whenever it’s convenient.

As with anything in life, dogs thrive with care and attention. Daily walks and exercise help give them entertainment, health, and quality time with you or their other favorite humans- including dog walkers like us! We also create bonds with your pups over time, and are happy to step up for you whenever you’re busy working. Email us at info@equipawspetservices.com, or call us at 305.794.3733 to chat about your dog care options!

Curbing Dog Obesity One Fun Activity at a Time

dog obesity

Curbing Dog Obesity 

In the last decade the United States has seen obesity become a huge issue for society as a whole. Children, teenagers and adults are overweight and experiencing health problems due to our poor eating habits and lack of activity. Our nation is continuously working on providing healthier options and educating the public on food consumption. Who knew this issue would directly translate to our pets.

What YOU Need to Know: Between 20 and 40 percent of all dogs seen by veterinarians in the United States are considered overweight, and many are clinically obese. When a dog is obese they lose speed and stamina, which makes any movement difficult.

Furthermore, a dog can become heat intolerant, where they cannot regulate their body temperature, which can be a serious problem in Miami. Digestive disorders can develop as well.

Carrying extra weight puts more stress on joints, bones, and ligaments causing permanent damage to their frame. In addition, lack of environment change and activity will increase boredom and destructive habits.

Our mission at Equipaws is to keep your pet Fit, Healthy and Happy. Here are some great ideas to start an active journey, to get you and your dog moving! These activities will strengthen the bond between you and your pet, give them mental and physical stimulation and keep your pup in good spirits.

15 Fun Activities for you and your dog:

1. Obedience Class: No matter how well-behaved your pup, Fluffy can always use a brush up on manners. Obedience class offers helpful tips on handling and commands for both owner and dog.This is an opportunity to socialize your dog and strengthen the trust between you two. We recommend Applause Your Paws for enriching discipline for you and your dogs.

2. Bike Ride: Try cycling with your pooch. Walking or jogging may be too slow of a pace for your dog. Having your pup run along side while you cycle is a great trick to get them moving. Be very careful where you attach the leash to the bike. This activity may take some practice and improvising.

3. Hike: Explore your surrounding area! Miami may not be the best neighborhood to “hike”, but seek out new trails in a Nature Preserve or National Park. Dogs love to see, smell and hear new things and a new environments keep them alert and motivated.

4. Doga Session This is a non-traditional yoga session for you and your canine. Doga is explained, “Through acts of meditation, gentle massage, and stretching, doga practitioners seek to achieve a greater harmony with their dogs.” This is an opportunity for the human and dog to work as one unit. Although, if your dog is hyper and can’t stay still this may not be the best option

5. Canine Freestyle Routine: This is a form of obedience and movement training that illustrates the beauty of the dog movement and learning to work as one team. Canine Freestyle is a medium meant to be creative, and visually illustrate the trust between handler and dog. Think synchronized swimming for dogs.

6. Tag or Hide and Seek: While pet sitting this is a favorite game you can play indoors or out. Running up and touching the dog and running away does the trick. They will chase you around the kitchen island or through out the back yard. Dogs love the chase. This gets the owner and dog active.

7. Fetch: Have you ever heard of a chuck it? It’s a tool that acts as a slingshot for a ball, allowing humans to throw a long ball for fetch fanatics. A great tool for fetch in the park and will save your throwing arm.

8. Dog Walk: Having a dog and going for a stroll go hand in hand. It provides a potty break and fresh air for your pup. Humans are creatures of habit, so beware dogs can get bored on their everyday walk. Change your path, tour different neighborhood or go explore the nearest town. You and your dog will love the new sights, sounds and scenery.

9. Frisbee: A backyard game of Frisbee is a nice change of pace from fetch or a walk. Your pup is jumping, running, dodging and working all of their senses for that mid-air Frisbee catch! Plus a Frisbee is a lightweight toy that can easily travel anywhere.

10. Dive In: A pool is a refreshing place to play catch and splash around. In the Fall, many pools in the close for the season and host a doggy play day. This is when canines take over, all dogs small and large are welcome to jump in and play in the water for the day. This is wonderful socializing opportunity and a out of the ordinary activity for your pup.

11. Agility Class: Find an agility class in your area and teach your dog to handle any obstacle. They will be challenged with running up and down boxes, traversing through tunnels and hurdling jumps. It’s a perfect challenge for an eager and active dog, plus practices good handling manners between human and dog. 

12. Herding Class: Perfect for the working & herding dog. These specific breeds love to work, it allows them to use their instincts and release built up energy. The American Kennel Club is a great place to start for more information on requirements, testing and trials.

13. Adventure: Take your pup on an adventure with you. Why not take a vacation, trip or visit a new city with your best friend in tow. Research accommodations before you go, but most places have dog friendly hotels, restaurants and parks.

14. Dog-Friendly Restaurant: We live in a dog loving city with many outdoor restaurants and cafes who are pooch friendly. If you are going out, take your dog too. You both will enjoy the company, but stay away from the table scraps, as it defeats the purpose of staying active. Take a look at our posts on dog-friendly restaurants in Miami for some ideas!

15. Beach: Florida offers a beautiful beach front we have access to everyday. Take advantage and go explore with your pup. Anytime of day it is beautiful with the salty breeze, sand between your toes and waves singing in your ear.

16. Flyball:Flyball is a relay race that requires a dog to race over four hurdles, catch a tennis ball that has been released from a spring-loaded launcher, and then race back over the hurdles again.” This is a wonderful activity for energetic dogs who love fetch, are attentive and social.

17. Visit People in Need: Patients at a nursing home, hospital or rehabilitation center love the presence of a pet. Visits from pups can dramatically help the mood of patients. You and your pet may need to become certified for this activity. Research Animal-assisted activities (AAA).

18. Support Your Pup’s Health While Buying Local: Equipaws partners with a few local businesses, who provide all natural dog food to the community. They agree that portion control is a real issue among pet parents. Dogs always act hungry or beg, so we give them food. We have to train ourselves as pet parents to rid that habit. Consequently, the habits begin with you. A few snacks and table scraps can quickly pack on the pounds.

In Miami, you and your pup have a gorgeous backyard to go explore together. Don’t let your pup fall into bad habits. We Take advantage of these excellent ways to keep your dog Fit, Healthy and Happy. If you don’t have the time give your pup regular exercise Equipaws can help! We offer dog walks, runs and daily adventures. Email us at info@equipawspetservices.com or call 305.794.3733 for more information!