If you are thinking about starting a dog walking regimen, the Michigan Humane Society offers these tips to make your walks safe and enjoyable:
- Start slow. Especially if your dog is out of shape or during hot or cold weather. Keep walks under 10-15 minutes in length the first week. Over several months, gradually take longer, brisker walks.
- Watch your dog. Stop if your dog shows signs of limping or trouble breathing, or is falling behind. If your dog wants to stop, don’t force her to keep going.
- Keep safety in mind. When going for a walk, make sure your dog is wearing a collar and current ID tag and/or license. Always walk your dog on a leash. If you walk or run at night, dress in light colors and put reflectors on your dog as well as yourself.
- Hot Pavement. Paved roads can be too hot for your dog’s paws. Try to stay on dirt or grass paths and schedule walks for early morning or in the evening.
- Wintertime walks. Road salt and ice melt chemicals can also injure your dog’s paws or be toxic if ingested, so wipe his paws when you return home. Consider using ice melts with chemicals that are safe for children and pets at your home.
- Don’t walk in extreme weather. If it’s too cold or too hot, don’t walk your dog. Stay indoors and play a game or wait untill the weather is more mild.
- Water, water, water. Make sure your dog gets plenty of water before, during, and after your walk - at any time of year.
“no-pull” harnesses on the market. There are different brands available. The best are those that have the leash clip on the front, at the dog’s chest.
To help get you started “on the right paw,” consider trying one of the new
A pleasant walk
The right exercise