The Top 3 Tips for Better Walks with Your Small Dog
All dogs need exercise, and getting your pooch out for a walk is an excellent way to meet that need. However, walking small dog breeds comes with different considerations than taking a Golden Retriever or Labrador out for a stroll. If you own a petite four-pawed friend, you’ve likely wondered how frequently you should walk a small dog and how far can a small dog walk. Their small stature may sometimes appear not well suited to trips around the block, but there are a few things pet owners can do to make the walk more enjoyable for everyone.
If you’re a seasoned small dog owner or a beginner, you’ll want to check out this blog post for the three top tips for better walks with smaller dog breeds; walking is just as important for tiny pooches as it is for big breeds.
Why is It Important to Walk Your Dog?
All dogs can benefit from daily exercise. While athletic breeds may get plenty simply running around the yard, smaller dogs may need more convincing. However, it’s essential that you get in some steps with your small canine.
Experts agree that exercise can improve your pet’s health. A lack of physical activity could affect them both physically and mentally. Regular movement helps manage weight, expend energy, and can help prevent things like joint issues, cardiovascular problems, and other diseases. A walk can also be mentally stimulating for your pet, often decreasing behavioral problems and helping manage things like hyperactivity.
Walking your small canine companion is excellent for their health and temperament. As a bonus, it may help to strengthen your one-of-a-kind bond!
Top Three Tips for Walking Small Dog Breeds
1. Keep Calm
Many of us are guilty of exciting our pooch before a walk. Whether you jingle the leash or lovingly ask, “Are you ready for a walk?!” over-stimulating your dog pre-walk isn’t ideal. A calm attitude helps set you up for a successful walk on a leash without tugging, meeting other dogs, and generally interacting with the outdoor environment.
Instead of hyping up your pooch, remain as calm as possible. Try to let your pup come to you, gently attach their leash or small dog harness, and then give them a little low-key praise. A tranquil start helps set the tone for a smooth and relaxing walk.
As a small dog owner, you may find that your pre-walk attitude can be a bit anxious too. It’s not uncommon for owners to be scared to walk small dogs with coyotes possibly lingering nearby or concerned that the walk will be too strenuous for their pet’s stature. But remember, your dog often picks up on your emotions. Encounters with unfriendly wildlife or other dogs aren’t typical, and usually, your pet will be just fine as long as you ensure your walk time and distance is suitable for your dog’s abilities.
2. Mind Your Minutes and Miles
There are two popular questions owners ask when walking little dogs. Before we get to them, let’s answer another common question, do small dogs need to be walked? Yes! Remember, exercise is essential no matter the breed or stature.
Now, onto our first hot topic, how often do small dogs need to be walked? How often to walk a small dog depends on a few factors. The fittest and healthiest small dog breeds, like terriers, will usually benefit from at least a half hour of walking each day. Most small breeds, in general, will enjoy a thirty-minute walk broken down into two fifteen-minute segments. If your dog has no underlying health concerns, plan on walking your furry friend daily.
Second, how long should you walk a small dog? This question is often followed by, can small dogs walk long distances? And, can you walk a small dog too much? Knowing how far to walk small dogs is crucial because you can overdo it. While larger breeds can handle three-mile walks without much training, smaller dogs aren’t designed to take on mile after mile. Instead of measuring distance, aim for time. For small breeds prone to respiratory problems, fifteen minutes is plenty for a single session. Even if this time limit means you only make it once around the block. Pay attention to your pet and watch for signs of distress to help ensure you don’t push them beyond their capabilities.
3. Get the Right Gear
Your pup can still pull and tug even if you have the best walking leash for small dogs. Holding firm or pulling back on the leash and dog collar can cause a lot of pressure on your dog’s throat. Sometimes, this can result in a collapsed trachea, a condition small dog breeds can be more prone to. Additionally, chances are your small dog won’t stop tugging because its opposition reflex is triggered.
Instead of a leash and collar, you may want to find the best walking harness for small dogs. A small dog harness prevents all of the pressure from being focused on your dog’s throat. Additionally, they tend to keep the leash from getting caught around your dog’s legs, help to alleviate back pain, and can be more comfortable for your puppy.
If the weather calls for it, you may also need small dog clothes for your walk. Tiny dogs can have difficulty retaining body heat, making accessories like a dog sweater or coat crucial if they’re going to be in the cold for prolonged periods. Winter boots can also protect petite paws from ice and salt. But remember, sometimes there aren’t best practices for how to walk a small dog in the snow because if the powder is too deep, inside play is recommended over a winter walk!
Smaller Dogs Do Benefit from Short Walks
Just because you have a small dog doesn’t mean you can forgo daily exercise, namely walks. But remember, the duration and distance of your walk should match your dog’s physical capabilities. Setting your dog up for success is also important and can be done with a calm attitude and the appropriate gear. We hope these top tips for safe walks with your small dog have given you the tools to walk small dogs safely and happily!