Going out for a walk doesn’t seem like a big outing, but adding your dog to the mix requires slightly more planning on your part. Although the exercise is beneficial for you and your pup, you’ll enjoy your time in nature together when you have everything you need. Check out these essential things you need to walk your dog and make your experience as enjoyable as possible.
Leash and Collar or Harness
Unless you’re confident of your dog’s ability to stay by your side or nearby without restraint, you should always put them on a leash. Choosing the right leash for your dog is dependent on their size, strength, and how much freedom you want them to have.
For example, you’re more likely to lose your balance if you put a larger dog on a long leash. Therefore, a shorter leash is the best option if you’re relatively weak or your pup tends to drag you. Aside from the leash, you’ll need a collar or harness to connect it to in order to keep your dog secure.
Collars are perfect for holding their ID tag with your contact information, connecting the leash, and giving your furry friend some extra pizazz. However, you must consider how it fits. If it’s too loose around your dog’s neck, it might not hold them back when they take off running toward a person or animal in the distance. With that in mind, leather collars with a buckle may be a better option than fabric ones with snaps.
A harness might be the best option if you have a smaller dog that may injure itself fighting a collar. Rather than hooking the leash to your pup’s collar, a harness wraps around their body and connects to the leash. It prevents them from slipping out of the collar and removes most of the strain from their neck. You can find a harness for dogs of almost any size, but many veterinarians recommend using one for small breeds.
There’s nothing worse than walking in uncomfortable shoes. Therefore, swapping them out for a comfortable option before leaving for your walk can drastically improve your experience. If you plan to walk on hot or rough terrain, consider getting some shoes for your four-legged friend as well.
Although most dogs need to adapt to wearing shoes, protecting their paws should be your priority. It’s not always necessary to put shoes on your dog, but it’s sometimes a good idea to ensure their comfort and safety. When you’re both comfortable, the walk is much more enjoyable, and you can stay out longer.
Doggy Poo Bags
Even if you aren’t gone that long, you never know when your pup will need to go potty. Therefore, keeping doggy poo bags with you is always a good idea. Fortunately, you can buy a poo bag holder that connects to your leash; that way, whenever you have your leash, you won’t forget to bring bags. Failing to pick up after your dog can get you in trouble in some areas; nevertheless, it’s never polite to neglect picking up after your pup. They can’t help where they go, but you can help whether or not you leave a mess behind.
Water and Treats
Even if you don’t think you need it, water is essential to any walk—especially on a hot day. Additionally, bringing a few treats can help you reward your pup for good behavior and make them want to stay close to you. You may feel like you’re carrying too much, but a dog-walking fanny pack can help keep your hands free and carry everything you need for a nice, long walk.
When you don’t have everything you need or get thirsty, you may feel the urge to cut the walk short and head home. Bringing water with you is the best way to stay hydrated and cool off on a hot day.
Your Cell Phone
You might want to leave your cell phone at home to disconnect from reality during your walk, but you should keep it on you. It’s okay to put it on silent so it doesn’t disturb or distract you from enjoying nature with your furry friend, but you won’t regret bringing it along in the case of an emergency. If something happens to you or your pup, there might not be someone nearby to help you; therefore, having a phone to call for help is essential for safety.
Sunglasses or a Hat
Walking with the sun shining in your eyes is uncomfortable and can cause headaches. Consider wearing sunglasses or a hat to keep the sun out of your eyes and make it easier to walk outside. If you’re worried about sunburn, you should lather on sunscreen before leaving home or consider bringing an umbrella to shield your body from the sun.
Pro Tip: Use sunscreen on your four-legged friend if the UV index is high and you think they might burn through their coat.
Positive Attitude and Motivation
While they’re not physical items, you’ll need a positive attitude and motivation to take your dog for a walk. Dogs need daily exercise (you do too), and they may become antsy or anxious without it. With that in mind, taking them for a walk every day might help keep them in shape and use their excess energy.
However, you have to be in a good mindset to get the most out of each walk. Consider playing music through your phone speaker to increase your motivation, or use a motivational app before leaving home to get you in the right headspace.
Walking every day is the best exercise for anyone, but you have to prepare if you plan to take your dog. If daily walks are new for you and your pup, take your time working up to longer distances. You shouldn’t try to strain yourself or your dog to walk longer than you comfortably can, but gradually increasing your distance is the best way to improve endurance.
Consider these essential things you need to walk your dog and stick to your goal. Be sure to take your pup to the veterinarian to check on their overall health to ensure they’re ready for substantial daily exercise.