Most pet owners think that taking pets for a walk is just a way to relieve their needs when nature calls. Being sensorial animals, our pets “see” the world through sounds and smells. Taking your pets for a walk allow them to get in touch with sensorial stimulation and improve physical and mental health while decreasing the boredom of staying inside. Cats and dogs love the comfort and safety they feel when they are home, but it is part of their nature to walk, socialize, and explore the world.
When it comes to walking our pets, most of us only think about dogs, but if trained, cats can also enjoy the fresh air outdoors. Cats certainly can be more reluctant to go outside or even put on the harness, but the benefits from a good walk pay off the effort.
A nice walk outside has a lot of benefits that sometimes is impossible to have indoors. It gives your pet the opportunity to exercise and use the accumulated energy, develop discipline and training, opportunity to socialize with other pets and people, fights boredom, and ultimately, it’s a great bonding time between you and your four-pawed friend.
Whether you are taking a dog or a cat for a walk, there are a few things you need to be prepared for. Here are some tips to have a positive experience when you’re walking your cat or dog:
The first thing you need to keep in mind is to make sure your pet is up to date on all medications and shots they need. When they’re outside, they will be vulnerable to dangers they will face no encounter at the safety of your home. Also, make sure to ask your vet if your furry friend is healthy enough to go for a walk.
When you’re outside with your pet, what will keep them safe is what connects you to them. Make sure you invest in a quality leash, collar, or harness. It will protect your pet and you from unexpected accidents and prevent your best friend to be separated from you.
Before you go for a walk, try to map the route you're going to take. Some things to consider is if the how busy the route is, is it noisy, and what are the chances of meeting other pets. Most dogs can socialize with other pets easily, but cats are not so welcoming.
Try to be consistent and take your pet for a walk around the same time every day. This will make them feel like walking is part of their routine and feel safe.
Avoid going for long walks when the temperature is too high or low. In the summer your pet can burn their paws if the ground is too hot or have heatstroke if exposed to the heat for too long. Just like humans, pets can also have hypothermia and frostbite in the winter. If the weather is too extreme, make the walks as short as possible or just stay home for the day.
Positive reinforcement could make the process of walking with your pets a lot easier. Positive reinforcement is simply rewarding your pet for good behaviour and whenever your furry friends do something you like. This reward could include petting, praising, and treats. Nothing will make your pet more excited to go for a walk if they know they will be rewarded afterwards.