Dr Carri Westgarth

dog walking expert and lecturer in human animal interaction

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In our busy lives, it’s easy for dog walks to be rushed or put off until tomorrow, but now is the time to think a little differently about the daily dog walk…

Walking your dog for at least half an hour a day, or up to two hours a day for larger breeds, is one of the best things you can do for your dog. With canine obesity a growing and serious problem, not only will regular walks help to keep your dog trim and healthy, but the mental stimulation provided by sniffing and exploring on a walk is vital in order for them to rest well at home and prevent behaviour problems such as barking and separation anxiety.

However, it’s not just dogs that benefit from regular walking. My research shows that being outside in nature is incredible for owner mental wellbeing, and people who walk with their dog regularly say it’s a great stress-reliever. What makes it so extra special is the joyful feeling from watching your dog having a good time. Plus, brisk walking is a fantastic way to burn calories, and owners tell me that ‘dog walking doesn’t feel like exercise’ – it’s exercise by stealth!

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In fact, dogs are the biggest motivator for physical activity known to science. People who own a dog are FOUR times more likely to achieve the recommended minimum physical activity guidelines of 150 minutes per week than people without a dog. This means our dogs can actually make us live longer!

Most of us could spend more time enjoying the great outdoors with our four-legged friends, who make the perfect walking companions. Unlike many activities, dog walking is something that the whole family can enjoy together, and better still, it doesn’t cost anything at all.

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Through Forthglade’s The Great Dog Walk Challenge campaign, we want to help you re-discover the joy of walking. Our six-week ‘Mindful Dog Walking Challenge’ provides practical advice on how to reap the benefits of longer, more frequent, and more mindful dog walks without it feeling like a burden or chore. Over six weeks we will help you tackle your barriers to enjoyable dog walking and gradually establish a new daily routine.

Happy walking!

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People who own a dog are FOUR times more likely to achieve the recommended minimum physical activity guidelines

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our experts

more advice and tips

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Steve Leonard

TV vet with over 20 years experience, and a patron of Painted Dog Conservation

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Adam Henson

Perhaps the best-known farmer in the UK, TV presenter & lifelong dog owner

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Dr Carrie Westgarth

Dog walking expert and Lecturer in Human Animal Interaction at the University of Liverpool