breathing in the fresh air and enjoying the beauty around you is a joyful experience for humans and animals alike. Our dogs adore us, and going on walks together is just one way you can enrich your bond with your dog.
Dr. Laurel Davis, Asheville holistic vet, offers “Stories from a Holistic Veterinarian”, the blog of a holistic vet and “animal interpreter.” With a clinic in downtown Asheville, NC. Dr. Laurel also offers animal health, lifestyle and vaccination advice for cats, dogs and their human friends across the country.
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Asheville’s holistic vet: 3 Reasons to Walk Your Dog
The air is crisp, the sun is bright, and the leaves are beginning to dance in the wind. Time for a happy dance because it is autumn at last! This time of year is simply majestic here in Asheville, and I’m sure it’s beautiful where you live too.
A fun way to enjoy this lovely season with the favorite pooch in your life is by participating in National Walk Your Dog Week, a national holiday created to improve the health and well being of America’s dogs.
The idea behind the holiday is to make the pledge to start walking your dog for at least 30 minutes a day for a week and to share your experience and the changes you notice in your dog and yourself in just seven days. Make sure you check out their website to learn more about the campaign, and if you decide to accept the challenge, please tell us about it over on our Facebook page. We love to hear your stories!
There are many wonderful reasons to walk your dog, but these three are at the top of my list (and some dogs’ lists too!).
Forty percent of dogs, a total of about 17 million in the United States alone, are overweight. I can’t say enough how crucial regular exercise is for keeping your dogs lean and healthy. Daily walks are great because they give your pup something fun to look forward to that also benefits his health and wellbeing. Walking helps build muscle mass and stamina, and hey, if your pup’s primary form of exercise can be something he also loves, I call that a win-win!
Remember to take extra care and consideration with older dogs who have musculoskeletal issues. They may be painful when moving around for an extended period of time, so long or daily walks might not be appropriate for those oldie-goldie pooches. Instead, treat them to a few walks a week and allow them to enjoy moving at a snail’s pace and getting in a boat-load of sniffs.
To understand what the doggos enjoy the most about daily walks, I decided to go straight to the source and check-in with my neighbor’s hound mix, Curry, and my friend Robin’s black lab mix, Stella. Here’s what Stella and Curry had to say…
Curry shared that he feels the best part of walks is being with my pack and having my humans relax and leave their burdens behind.
Stella agrees with this sentiment and adds, being outside in nature is being with Spirit.
Being outside on a walk just nurtures everyone involved, says Curry.
And according to Ms. Stella, a matter-of-fact and straightforward sort of creature, most dogs and people are capable of going on at least a short walk.
Ok then, Stella! Message received. Ha!
In addition to the insights these lovely beings have provided, I would like to add that, for ol’ Rover, taking a walk is a lot like reading the local newspaper. When I used to go on walks with my shih tzu, Grace Almighty, she would snorkel around sniffing everything, and it was clear to me that she enjoyed being out in the environment checking on things and downloading info with her adorable smushed snout.
For Quality Time.
I feel like one of the biggest and best gifts you can give your dog is to take them on a walk as often as possible and be present when you are with them. Treat your walk as an opportunity to unplug and avoid electronic distractions (like cellphones!). Be here now. The animals demand this.
breathing in the fresh air and enjoying the beauty around you is a joyful experience for humans and animals alike. Our dogs adore us, and going on walks together is just one way you can enrich your bond with your dog. Sometimes building a good relationship is as simple as making the time to listen and observe.
I’ve noticed that the more my clients hang with their pooches, the closer and more familiar every nuance of their four-legged’s physical, mental, emotional and spiritual aspects become to them. These are the clients who will come in with Spot who is ‘feeling a bit puny’ or ‘ has a tiny lump under his left front leg’ or ‘seems to be breathing a bit harder when he goes up the drive on the last leg of our walks in the evening.’
Staff Picks: Best spots to walk in the Asheville area
When she was with me, Gracie loved to walk around the lake at Lake Powhatan Recreation Area and Campground just off of 191 near the Arboretum. Since she has passed, I asked my staff where their dogs enjoy taking walks.
Linda and her Pomeranian mix, Rosebud, enjoy a good romp uptown every Saturday. Linda says Rosebud loves to make new friends and spread a little joy and cheer among the homeless they encounter.
Julep, Billie’s Yorkie mix, loves looping around Carrier Park in West Asheville several times and then lounging in the shade while her mom knits.
Stacy walks her dogs, Morgan and Merle, on her windy country roads out in Candler. They love exploring the bridge near Stacy’s house and peering into the trout-filled creek below.
Julie and Pippin enjoy spending time in the gardens at Biltmore, checking out the bass pond and playing in the creek.
I’d love to hear your recommendations too. What does your dog love the most about walks, and where do the two of you enjoy spending time together? Hop on over to our Facebook page and share it with us!
Dr. Laurel Davis is WNC holistic vet, offering phone and Skype consultations for animal lovers everywhere. Call 828-254-2221 or order an Ask Dr. Laurel™ phone or Skype session or bring your dog or cat to her downtown Asheville, NC clinic. Read more patient stories.
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