Think Twice Before You Pass on Walking Your Dog

For canines, just being let out into the yard is not at all the same
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 24, 2024 12:50 PM CDT
Think Twice Before You Pass on Walking Your Dog
Stock photo   (Getty Images / alexei_tm)

Think skipping a walk is no big deal for your dog? Think again. Though some days it may be tempting to simply let your dog out into the yard for fresh air, Kelly Conaboy explains in the Washington Post why that's not a good idea. For dogs, walks are not only their main form of exercise—most won't exercise on their own, so even if they're outdoors in your yard, they'd need you to play with them in order to ensure they get in physical activity—but are also an important source of companionship and mental stimulation. Going on a walk means spending time with their owners—and it also means getting to sniff around and see what's been going on in the neighborhood since they were last out (one owner refers to her dog "checking its email" while on walks).

Denied those opportunities, dogs can get bored (an expert likens it to reading the same book over and over) and can even experience the same symptoms of chronic stress that people can, the expert says. Think depression, anxiety, and even immune system issues. And, of course, studies have also shown that walking dogs can reduce stress and improve both mental and physical health for humans, too. Read Conaboy's full piece, which also delves into why you need to let your dog take its time sniffing while on walks, at the Post. (More dogs stories.)

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