Every good dog parent wants the best for their pooch. In an ideal world, we wouldn’t have responsibilities and passions pulling us away from our pups for several hours a day, or we would at least be able to bring them with us everywhere as we handle our human lives. However, we require jobs to, at the very least, allow us to provide financially for our dogs and their food, shelter, supplies, and medical needs. On top of that, we also need to, you know, pay our own bills, feed ourselves, and attempt to achieve self-actualization. We love our dogs, but many of us are simply unable to be home enough each day to ensure that their needs are truly being met. This is where hiring a qualified pet care specialist comes in handy. Having a trusted professional providing daily walks for your dog while you’re at work has several benefits, including but not limited to:
Obvious? Sure, but not as much as you may think. Scheduling a professional pet care specialist to walk your dog each day ensures that your dog is experiencing a regular and healthy amount of exercise. Though it makes us feel bad, we can easily find ourselves too tired to walk the dog after a long work day, or we may have other tasks that take precedence, such as household chores, grocery shopping, transporting the human children, etc. Even if you do manage to walk your dog yourself after work, your attention span is likely to be stretched thin—a risk that is exacerbated by more mentally and physically demanding jobs. Awareness is not something you want to be lacking while walking your dog, especially in neighborhoods heavily populated by other canines (dog fights break out more easily and frequently than people give them credit for), or where there’s a lot of traffic and you are often crossing the road. Another issue you may not consider is substituting walking for sprinting. If you sit on a couch or stay stationary in your back yard while having your dog run back and forth repeatedly after a ball or the red dot of a laser pointer, you may actually be doing more harm than good. It seems like an easy way to make up for lost exercise, but straight sprints can often injure dogs and cause long-term joint damage. In actuality, domestic dogs are descended from their wild ancestors, which roamed vast areas of land and developed healthy hearts and lungs from trekking miles per day. Likewise, the dogs we currently call family are also much better suited to derive their exercise from walking than running, as this is the course canine evolution has taken. This is not to say that playing fetch or getting your dog to run is bad, just that it shouldn’t be done excessively in short spans of time in order to make up for a lack of walking.
How often have you returned home to find that your dog has chewed on some furniture or other items that aren’t their toys? Maybe you keep them crated and they’ve gnawed on the bars of their cage, making their gums bleed? Destructive and undesirable chewing is often a result of restlessness, which can occur if a dog spends too much time bored or alone. Dogs will even chew destructively as a way of “acting out,” expressing their frustration with you the way a toddler behaves badly when they want attention. A daily walk while you’re at work is a great way to dispel such restless behavior, keeping both your belongings and your dog safer. After all, chewing on the wrong item can not only be irritating for you as the owner of that object, but it can also be a source of physical harm and health issues for your dog. You don’t want your dog choking, getting sick, or damaging their teeth.
Having someone outside of your family become a regular member of your dog’s life helps promote positive socialization for your dog. Such experience develops their ability to trust and accept others and gives you the opportunity to allow more people into your dog’s life without problems. The better your dog is with people, the more they can be a part of your life beyond the house. Your dog will also gain more general exposure of people and fellow dogs, though likely from a distance, while on his or her daily walks, and this will help enable your dog to be more comfortable in the world, reducing skittishness and increasing confidence. Though not as complex as humans, dogs still have an emotional capacity that is influenced by their social interactions or lack thereof. Dogs that have been surrendered to shelters, for instance, have often proven to become depressed, as they have lost the bond shared with their former owners and now likely receive minimal attention and interaction. A dog that is left alone at home all day may also experience its own semblance of anxiety and sadness, whereas a dog that is being taken for a walk during the time you’re gone gets to experience enough socialization to keep them in a more ideally balanced emotional state.
You can love and care for your dog as much as you would a human child, but even the most attentive pet parent still misses things. Furthermore, dogs can’t speak up and tell us outright when something is wrong with them. They may still communicate, but not in our language, and not in ways that are obvious when we come home tired or stressed. If a human child is behaving oddly or moving strangely, we can ask, “What’s on your mind?” or “Is something hurting you?” With a dog, we can only observe, and this can be more difficult if the dog resists letting us touch or move them for proper scrutiny. Thanks again to evolution, most dogs are innately stoic, as wild dogs viewed humans and even other dogs as threats and hid pain out of fear of making themselves vulnerable. By having another set of eyes observe your dog each day, you allow the opportunity for someone whose awareness has not been compromised to interact with your dog and notice abnormalities in their appearance and demeanor. Such professionals can also offer the objective insight of an outside observer, who may be able to bring things to light that you wouldn’t realize because you’re used to whatever they’re pointing out and see it as normal, when it may actually be a problem.
Better Nail Health
The busier we get, the more difficult it can be to remember to get our dogs’ nails trimmed. This isn’t as big of an issue for those lucky people whose dogs are chill enough to let them clip their nails at homes, freeing them of the necessity of scheduling appointments with veterinarians or groomers to do the task for them. In addition to taking the time out of a busy day to call and make such an appointment and then drive to it, you must also have a time slot available that coincides with a vet’s office or grooming salon, and that can be equally difficult if the vet or groomer finishes their work day when you finish yours. Even if you do have the tools and ability to trim your dog’s nails at home, it’s still easy for such a task to fall to the wayside when trying to get a thousand other things done, in addition to finding a sliver of free time for yourself to relax. Many people don’t even realize, however, that walks (on sidewalks, roads, and hard surfaces, not grass, of course) help trim and shape dogs’ nails. While daily walks shouldn’t be seen as an alternative to regular nail trims, they do help reduce the frequency and necessity of them. In addition to avoiding snagging and tearing a nail, maintaining nails also aids in preventing painful paw arthritis as dogs age, and regular walks help keep nails trimmed properly.
These are only five benefits of enlisting the aid of a professional, licensed, and insured dog walker. We could tell you about more, but we’d much rather give you the opportunity to find out for yourself!
Written by: Kayla Kennedy, Pet Care Specialist, Executive Pet Services