Dog Dad Zack Manko and his dog Sorcha remind us to be bundle up but go out and enjoy the brisk weather! Don’t let the cold stop the walk!!
January—the start of the year. The First Month. The month of new beginnings. The time of making (and probably breaking) resolutions. National Soup Month. Season when the car won’t start, and people forget how to drive.
Indeed, January is many things, but did you know that National Walk Your Dog Month is one of them? While many of us in the northeast curse this month for the weather it brings, the truth is that we’d all be a lot better off making the most of life’s little challenges, January included. Approaching it through the lens of a reason to get outside with Fido is just the refreshed perspective we need.
A Reason to Get Outside
The biting cold, howling wind, and treacherous ice are reasons enough to stay inside during January and the other winter months. However, if there’s one takeaway from long stretches of forced isolation, it is that staying cooped up is bad for your health—in more ways than one.
From heightened anxiety and trouble sleeping to spikes in depression and substance-abuse, staying shut-in is a surefire way to mess up your health. But getting outside for some light exercise is just as certain to improve your health. Regular exercise, even something as simple as walking, can help with weight loss, regularize your appetite, maintain healthy blood sugar levels, and boost your mood.
The benefits don’t just apply to you, either. One of the primary reasons that the Association of Pet Obesity Prevention instituted National Walk Your Dog Month is that, in 2017, 56% of dogs in the United States were obese, and these numbers continue to climb. Overweight pets suffer from many ailments, including kidney disease, high blood pressure, arthritis, lower quality of life, and reduced life expectancy. Simply walking your dog regularly can combat all of these effects.
With all that mind, don’t wait for February—get out there with your dog now!
You should also start walking your dog in January because of the cold, not in spite of it. Let’s get honest—sticking to an exercise regimen, even light walking, is tough. Many of us have the best of intentions, but then life gets in the way. Rush projects at work. Sickness, in ourselves or households. Car repairs. Unexpected visits. There are all sorts of reasons to fall out of a routine.
However, you will not suddenly develop the discipline necessary to commit to a routine out of nowhere. You also won’t suddenly cultivate the dedication on a magical calendar date—there are no perfect Mondays. You simply have to get started and stay started.
January’s cold temperatures can actually enhance this commitment-building experience. If you can get yourself motivated to hit the trail (or the sidewalk) when temperatures are near or below freezing, you’ll be able to do it when it is warm and sunny out too.
So, get moving now and you’re setting yourself up for success for the rest of the year. Your future self (and your dog’s future self) will both thank you for it.
Walk Smart to Hang Tough
Now we’re all for getting gung-ho about exercising outdoors during the winter months, but we also want to emphasize that you should do so fully prepared. Staying disciplined and braving the elements is one thing but running outside in the snow in bare feet just for the sake of exercise is silly.
Stay warm—and, more importantly, stay dry—with the right gear. A good jacket, headgear, gloves, and a trusty pair of boots can give you the warmth and insulation to stay safe. They can also give you the comfort to help you stay committed.
You should take the same precautions with your pooch. While many breeds of dogs are designed to thrive in cold weather, others can suffer from overexposure to the cold. Sure, dogs have built-in fur coats, but the skin on their nose and especially their footpads is at risk for frostbite. Moreover, many de-icers and sidewalk salts can harm or get stuck in their paws, causing discomfort and injury.
The solution? Just like you, consider some snow shoes or boots for your dog. From waterproof technology to no-slip grips and organic materials, there is a dog shoe out there for every type of hound and every type of hound owner.
Snowshoes for you and your dog might not be an issue for you, depending on where you live. But if they are, take it from the mouth of experience—get a pair that fastens securely, or your dog will be kicking them off before you leave the house.
Another consideration for this month is all those friends and family members who may have received pets as a gift for Christmas. While there are many Dos and Don’ts when giving a pet as a gift, if someone has already taken the plunge (or is now on the receiving end of said plunge), there’s plenty of ways you can encourage a strong and successful relationship.
Chances are, if they did get gifted a new dog, it was a puppy. Pet Perennials’ Puppy Basics Bundle is the perfect way to help them accommodate their new fluffy friend. It has all the treats, toys, and necessities to make that pup feel right at home. If they got a different kind of bundle of joy near the holidays, then you can pair that bundle with the Pawtners in Crime Baby and Pet Frame. This picture frame is designed to feature baby and puppy together for maximum cuteness.
You can follow up that basics bundle by showing them this blog and encouraging them to get some safe and healthy exercise by walking that new four-legged companion this month!
January All Year Long
Changing our perspective on how we think about January is a good model to follow throughout the rest of the year. A somewhat hectic or even hated month takes on new meaning when seen through the lens of getting exercise and staying healthy with your dog. It would do us all some good to try and reframe the trials, tribulations, and challenges of 2023 this way. Let’s see them not as problems or issues, but opportunities for growth, change, and getting better.
Happy New Year from Sorsha and Pet Perennials!