Year after year, the goal to get more exercise is at the top of many people’s New Year’s Resolutions. And despite starting off with the best of intentions, many of us can get distracted or encounter obstacles before we even get a good running start. One way to stick to a new exercise routine is to find a friend to help keep you accountable. Another strategy is to make the activity part of your daily routine. Walking your dog on a regular schedule is a great way to do both – your dog isn’t likely to let you forget and fitting at least a short walk into your day is often pretty doable.
Since New Year’s Resolutions happen in January, cold weather can be one of those obstacles that discourage your healthy new intentions. Winter walks can be enjoyable, though, with a little extra preparation. Start with your own warm gear and use lots of layers. Look for a jacket or sweater for your dog, especially if your dog is short-haired, on the small side, or getting up in years. Also consider some booties or rubber boots to protect their paws from ice, snow, and de-icing chemicals. If your dog won’t tolerate the booties, you can put petroleum jelly or paw wax on the pads of their feet – just make sure to wipe it off when you get home, so they won’t lick it off and ingest it, or track it all over the house!
Shorter amounts of daylight in winter can also pose a challenge to your walking routine. If your work or school schedule allows, walking in the middle of the day is obviously ideal, since it will also be the warmest at that time. But when a mid-day outing isn’t practical, you can find all kinds of gear for yourself and your dog that is lighted or reflective, such as headlamps, vests, leashes and more.
No matter which approach you choose, our team at Simonton Veterinary Clinic are here to support you and cheer you on as you resolve to incorporate good exercise habits into your new year!