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The Joys of Dog Walking: How Often Do We Really Walk Our Dogs?
36% of dogs gained weight during the pandemic. Last year, we were all guilty of feeding our pups extra scraps at the dinner table or gifting our doe-eyed dogs one too many treats while stuck in our homes. We were indulging and our pets followed suit, leading to more than one overweight dog!
One of the best ways we can keep both ourselves and our pups physically active is by taking walks either daily or multiple times per day, depending on the age, health, and energy level of your furry friend. Tractive recommends one walk per day for smaller breeds or other companion dogs like Chihuahuas, Dachshunds, or Pugs, while high-energy breeds like Border Collies, Dalmations, Australian Shepherds, or Labrador Retrievers need multiple walks per day (20-25 minutes per walk).
But how many of us are actually walking our dogs multiple times per day? The team at Veterinarians.org conducted a survey to investigate. In an online survey, we asked over 2,100 dog parents across the U.S. to tell us how many times they walk their dogs in an average week. From there, we were able to find the states that walk their dogs the most and the least. Dog walking habits were also uncovered by gender and generation.
Further, we asked canine parents the following questions:
- What time of day do you prefer to walk your dog––day or night?
- Who do you trust to walk your dog––dog walkers, neighbors, friends, or family?
- How does dog walking affect both your physical and mental health?
- Do you practice good dog-walking habits––checking hot pavement and poop pick-up?
Go ahead and grab your leash! You may be motivated to walk your dog immediately after seeing our results! Read on for the full findings and to see where your state stacks up.
The States That Walk Their Dogs the Most (and the Least)
Best dog walker awards go to pooch parents in Alabama and New York. Residents in these two states walk their dogs the most in an average week, by far. Alabama respondents walk their dogs 10.45 times per week on average (46% higher than the national average of 7.17 times per week), while New York respondents take their pups for a stroll 10.14 times per week on average.
10.45 walks per week dice down to nearly 1.5 walks per day, which seems reasonable, especially for NYC doggos living in 750 square feet apartments and yearning to stretch their legs. Colorado (9.08 walks weekly) and Florida (8.98 walks weekly) also fall within the top five states that walk their dogs the most in any given week.
Where things get problematic is when we look at the average number of weekly walks for states like Oklahoma, Vermont, and Ohio. Pup parents in Oklahoma may be extremely pressed for time or have dogs that don’t do well in heat because Oklahoma respondents only walk their dogs 3.67 times per week on average––that’s not even the equivalent of walking your dog every other day. Vermont (4.25 walks weekly) and Ohio (4.71 walks weekly) also landed on the bottom.
Shockingly, residents from 50% of states included in our survey walk their dogs less than once per day.
Dog Walking Habits By Generation
What does dog walking cadence look like when we zoom in on specific generations? According to survey results, baby boomers walk their dogs almost twice as often as Gen Z dog parents, which may make sense given many baby boomers are retirees with ample dog-walking hours on their hands. Meanwhile, Gen Z is comprised of busy students and college grads entering the workforce. At 8.24 and 7.12 weekly walks on average, Gen X and millennial dog parents are at least walking their dogs once per day or more.
Dog Walking Habits, According to Pet Parents
Our findings show that many dog parents are skeptical when it comes to letting others walk their furry pal. An overwhelming majority of respondents, 93%, say they have never hired a dog walker. When asked, “who would you trust most to walk your dog?” dog owners seem to only put faith in themselves or their significant others, and neighbors are the least trusted with Fido. 68% of respondents say they would trust neighbors the least with their dogs.
Other eyebrow-raising insights found include:
- 77% of dog parents check how hot pavement is before walking their dogs during the summertime. 23% admit they do not check.
- 48% of dog parents will walk their dog in rain or shine. 41% have no qualms about walking their dog in the snow either!
- 25% of dog moms avoid walking their dogs at night because they feel unsafe. Only 10% of dog dads say the same. 1 in 3 millennials feels unsafe walking their dog at night.
- 15% of Gen X dog parents admit to leaving their dog’s poop behind on walks, more often than not.
Dog Walking’s Impact on Our Mental & Physical Health
Dog walking is a proven method for releasing endorphins and alleviating stress in both yourself and your pup. It’s a tried and true activity for exercise, but also for boosting moods and improving mental clarity. According to survey responses, three-fourths of dog parents say owning a dog keeps them more physically active, and 69% of dog parents say their mental health has improved since getting a dog. Only 3% say it has gotten worse.
That wraps up our study on dog-walking! In addition to the perks listed above, here are a few other behavioral and health benefits of dog walking:
- It teaches your pup discipline and to follow instructions by matching your pace.
- It can help to reduce harmful chewing or scratching.
- It lowers the dog walker’s blood pressure.
- By walking regularly, it strengthens the dog walker’s muscles and bones.
If you’re a new or longtime dog parent, you know that a healthy pet is a happy pet. Avoid expensive emergency veterinary bills with One Vet, a subscription-based, virtual vet clinic, where licensed veterinarians are available 24/7 to meet all of your pet’s needs. Get started today!