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Spring is in the air! Get out and walk the dog!

By Anna Webb; Broadcaster, Nutrition & Behaviour expert has studied with the College of Integrated Veterinary Therapies www.annawebb.co.uk 7 months ago 2444 Views

As the days get longer, it’s like breathing a huge sigh of relief. With more daylight hours Spring brings a sense of optimism as shrubs and trees start to bloom. It’s a chance to embrace the gateway to the outdoors that dogs give us, yet staggeringly statistics reveal we’re not walking our dogs enough.

Animal welfare organisations including Dogs Trust, the Kennel Club and the RSPCA all suggest a minimum of 30 minutes for small breeds and up to two hours for larger dogs per day. Owners admit to squeezing a dog walk into the school run, or for a quick loop around the block after work, before cuddling up on the sofa. To curb our sedentary lifestyles, we’re being encouraged to get outside and exercise. Back in the day before the trend for dog walkers and crèches, you walked your own dog.

Walking the dog hits the jackpot offering thinking time, being in the present and connected to the outdoors. Nothing beats walking as a low impact, but strength building exercise, that’s free. Battling our inactive lifestyles, dogs can help not only to make us more active, but to make us more sociable too! It’s also a chance to meet like-minded people and counter any feelings of loneliness as dogs are natural ice-breakers and conversation starters.

According to The Kennel Club, dog owners are more likely to be lucky in love than non-dog owners. It seems dog owners generally have a positive outlook with 21% being confident about finding the right match, compared to only 9% of non-dog owners. Meeting ‘the one’ out walking the dog may or may not happen, but the Kennel Club revealed that 22% of dog owners have been asked on a date whilst out and about with their dog


Walking the dog is also a chance to nip any unwanted behaviours in the bud. Working through your dogs’ reactions to various stimuli in real time will strengthen your relationship in the long term. In addition, walking the dog is perfect to enrich your dog socially, not least it offers them the chance to catch up on their ‘pee-mails’. Above all it keeps your dog emotionally and physically healthy. With one in three dogs considered obese by the PDSA (People's Dispensary for Sick Animals), perhaps it’s no surprise that health studies suggest that obesity related diseases in dogs like diabetes, has increased three-fold in thirty years. Maybe not walking the dog enough is partly to blame for this increase, but if we’re to believe Hippocrates who stated in 600BC: “Let medicine be thy food and food be thy medicine”, arguably diet can impact positively and negatively on our dogs’ health.

I feed my dogs, Prudence and Mr Binks, as naturally as possible on raw, balanced and complete meals from Natural Instinct. Packed with proteins, fats, and functional carbohydrates like veggies and fruit, it optimises health as anti-inflammatory and species appropriate. By contrast heavily processed kibble diets are pro-inflammatory, as they’re packed with non-functional carbohydrates and ingredients that are not species appropriate.

One of the downsides of Springtime are the biting bugs like ticks and fleas that spring into action. Interestingly dogs that are fed on a raw diet as less prone to attack from these nasty critters. Blood sucking insects thrive on sweet sugary blood, which is created by high glycemic foods like biscuit based kibble.

With Spring in the air leap forwards with new intentions to spend time walking your dog. Take a leaf out of Nature and gain the peace of mind that you’re feeding as nature intended.

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