October 1 to 7 is National Walk Your Dog Week. So what does this mean?
I was curious as to why there was a week dedicated to walking your dog. Upon further research, I found that this week is to bring awareness to the obesity rates of canines and humans, and to encourage people to adopt dogs in shelters. This is something I can totally get on board with!
As a dog owner
Before getting my dog, I was pretty physically inactive. I really only exercised when I was on a co-op term and there was a gym in the building with a reasonable membership rate. But I only went to the gym because I was training for a 5K run with a friend. Since then, my only exercise was only walking to class when I was in school, or just non-existent at home. I would only exercise if I was motivated by someone else. Thanks to Toby, he’s my someone else and we go on our walks and play in the backyard!
With greyhounds, weight is a big topic. Weight gain with greyhounds can be harmful to their health as they’re such delicately framed and skinny dogs. From my understanding, their healthiest weight is their racing weight, which makes sense because they need to be in tip-top shape to run. If you’re not sure where to find out information on your greyhound, you can find it by searching on Greyhound-Data. Search by tattoo number, racing name, or good ol’ browsing!
For me, as a first-time dog owner and greyhound owner, I’m hyper-aware of his weight. Since his homecoming, I stressed a lot about keeping his weight as close to his racing weight as possible and not letting him go over. I would count the number of treats I gave him, ensured his food portions were correct, and made sure my family members didn’t give him too many treats. Over time, I’ve became more lenient since treat-counting was a bit excessive, but I am still aware of what I’m putting into Toby’s body.
I recommend taking your dog to your vet and see if they’ll let you borrow their scale to weigh in. It’s a great way to desensitize your dog to the vet (which can be scary for them!) and see how they’re doing. By knowing their weight, you and your veterinarian can adjust their food and exercise if they need more or less of each to ensure optimal health. Ensure that your dog has enough food to fuel their exercise needs and that they’re energized and happy, not lethargic. Always consult with your vet! I recently found out that Toby’s weight dropped, probably due to the hookworms he had when we first got him. So now, I’ve increased is food and treats, only slightly, and maintaining his current exercise to gradually bring him back up to racing weight.
Exercise and proper nutrition are critical in keeping your dog healthy. And walking your dog is a great way to let them burn their energy off and a great bonding experience. I have multiple friends whose dogs are overweight and they’ve told me how in the future, this extra weight will cause health problems. Education is key and learning about your dog’s breed, dietary and physical needs are critical in prolonging their lives. And this event is a great way to bring awareness to dog owners who may not even know that their dogs are gaining weight.
As a marketer
The only way I found out about this was through my pet insurance company. They sent an email invitation to bring their customers’ dogs to their office to go on a group walk. I think that seeing this event was a lucky find as I don’t normally comb through all the emails in my inbox, especially those in the “Promotions” tab. But, I love my dog more than a lot of things in life, and anything that relates to him, I’m more inclined to read.
I’m curious to see how this event will be marketed online, especially since the event is coming up in less than 2 weeks. Through a Google search, the AVMA (American Veterinarian Medical Association) has it listed on pet health related events in their calendar, articles have been written, and companies selling exercise-related dog items are on board. This is the perfect event for those companies selling dog treadmills, exercise gear, and apps tracking walks to really get their voice out there.
Also, high-five to my pet insurance company for hopping on and using this event to connect with customers! It’s great to see that in the email, they stated they wanted to put a name to a (dog) face. This definitely makes me feel like a valued customer and that they want to build a connection with me through informational events and emails. I hope more companies, vet clinics, and shelters capitalize this event and future ones to bring awareness for canine (and human) health and the increasing need to find shelter animals a home. I’d love to see my local animal shelter and humane society take advantage of this. How great would it be to see volunteers and members of the community come together and walk the shelter dogs?!
If you’re curious and want to learn more, see their Facebook page! Now that you’ve been informed, I encourage you to go on that extra walk with your dog. Grab a friend and enjoy the fall weather together! It won’t be long until winter is upon us.
Until the next post,