With the festive season over, why not encourage your clients to get outside with their dogs to kick-start January's “Walk Your Dog Month”. It helps to move all of the Christmas turkey dinners, beats the winter blues, and gets those New Year's resolutions started - but most importantly, it improves well-being for both the owner and their dog!

What is the The Walk Your Dog Month initiative?

This dog-walking drive was created to highlight pet behavioural problems and help tackle pet obesity; did you know that 1 in 5 dogs don’t get a daily walk and if they do it lasts less than 20 1 minutes , or that almost 12% of the dogs owned in the UK are overweight? The lack of mental 2 3 stimulation and physical activity that a dog would gain from a walk or park-play can lead to destructive behaviours and contribute to many pet obesity related health problems including:

● Diabetes

● Joint Health

● Heart Disease

The UK Kennel Club has recommendations for most breeds on their website on how much exercise they require daily - and it is usually about 30-60 minutes on average per day to stay fit and healthy, so let's get started!

Getting your clients on board!

One of the first things to consider when talking to owners is the current health status of their pet; is there any cardiac disease present, do they have a respiratory disease which can impact their tolerance for exercise (for example, brachycephalic dogs) or are there any joint health issues that may need to be managed first. The key is to take it slowly and build up fitness if their dog doesn’t walk very much at the moment, and it is easier to get the owner and their dog into a routine if it is manageable and sustainable: start with two-10 minute walks a day for a week, and then increase to two-15 minute walks a day for the next week, and so on - especially as the days will be getting longer and the evenings will be getting lighter!

Encourage your clients to try somewhere new for their next weekend dog walk. The Woodlands Trust ​website​ gives dog owners advice on walking through their woods and there is also a function to search for their closest woodlands. The ​Canal River Trust​ also lists some of their favourite pathways for taking dogs to and some of them are even off lead!

To keep safe during these winter walks, here are some of our safety tips:

● Wear reflective jackets (for both the owner, and their dog!), harnesses or collars. The addition of a blinking light around the collar is also a good idea.

● Watch for paths that have grit on them - avoid them completely as it can burn paw pads.

● Don’t use extendable leads while walking in the dark.

● Take a flashlight!

For those busy dog owners who are unable to walk their dogs as often as they’d like too, it is a good opportunity to suggest a trusted dog walker to help them on those days that they cannot manage.

Using our veterinary nurse voice! As veterinary nurses, we are the pets advocate for their happy and healthy lifestyle, so let's get talking to clients today about Walk Your Dog Month. Get your clients engaged and excited by stocking some new leads and collars for the practice shop and make a post on social media to showcase the new accessories. You can also mention to clients that you’d love to see a picture posted of them and their dog out for a walk and tagging #WalkYourDogMonth2020 and your practice in the post.

Happy walking!

1 ​Daily Mail Article

2 Forthglade Article

3 Independent Article


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