Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Why Your NOLA Dog Might Need Additional Walking

One of the great things about New Orleans is that it is green year round, which makes it a great place to walk with your dog. From our gorgeous, oak-lined avenues and grassy "neutral grounds" to our large lush parks, the city provides a wealth of places to get out and give our four-legged best friends a little fun and some exercise.

Parks are a good place to walk because they usually have lots of shade.

Parenting a dog is a lot of responsibility, possibly even more so than raising a human child. Dogs have needs that are not always obvious, and unlike human children, they do not become more independent with age. Properly addressing your dog's needs will ensure you have a healthy, happy, and well-behaved pet.

In providing for their quality of life it's important to make sure that dogs have proper nutrition and daily exercise, as well as mental stimulation. In our previous blog post on Play Time we mentioned some of our favorite toys for entertaining and exercising pets. This month we are focused specifically on dog walking.

One of dog walk clients, Reilly ready to get going.

Many people think of dog walking merely as a time for their pet to "do it's business," and some dogs are actually quite particular about their elimination and won't "go" in their own yards. A quick trip around the block or short stroll through the neighborhood may be the extent of the dog's daily exercise.

Many of us lead busy lives. As a result, some dogs may be let out into the yard while their parent gets ready for work and only walked in the evenings. This may be okay for older dogs or low activity breeds, but most dogs will need a bit more time out of the house, not just for walking, but to explore and play a bit.

Here's our client, Lizzy happily rolling in the grass along Bayou St. John.

While taking a stroll is great exercise for both you and your dog, the benefits of daily walks also include mental stimulation and better socialization. Walk time is also an opportunity to have your dog practice desired behaviors like sitting and calmly waiting for further instructions (or a treat!), as well as how to interact appropriately with other dogs or people.

So how much time should it take? Celebrity Dog Whisperer Cesar Millan recommends setting aside thirty minutes to an hour in the morning for a walk. (Don't have 30-60 minutes in the morning? That's where Petit Pet Care comes in!) Of course the timing and frequency will depend on the age and breed of the dog.

Puppies and young dogs have a lot of energy and getting them out of the house for a stimulating walk keeps them from getting bored or engaging in destructive or otherwise unwanted behaviors. Some dog breeds, regardless of age, such as terriers and those bred for herding need more time outside than others to burn excess energy. These dogs could need up to 60 or even 90 minutes of exercise per day.

Our client, Max on a walk in Uptown New Orleans.

If your dog needs a little more time to burn off energy than a thirty minute walk can provide, you can bring along a favorite fetch toy to throw for them to retrieve. Be sure to bring along a bottle of water and a drinking bowl for your BFF to rehydrate. Also, vary the route of your walk; dogs like a little variety just like people do.

It's important to remember that the physical activity you choose for your dog needs to be appropriate to it's size, age, and breed. While many small breed dogs are prone to obesity, they just aren't made for trotting along beside you on your crosstown bike ride or 20 mile run. If your dog's recommended activity level doesn't match yours, you may want to hire a dog walker. (Fortunately, we can help you out with that!)


As we approach the official start of summer (and hurricane season) we want to remind you to take extra care with all your pets now that The Heat Is On!

For more information on walking and it's benefits to your dog as well as activity needs by breed, see the links below:

The Importance of Walking Your Dog

How Much Exercise Does Your Dog Need?

Exercising With Your Dog 101

Exercise Needs (by dog breed)

Dog Breeds Prone to Obesity