It can be tempting to stay inside and avoid the frosty weather during the winter months, but January is Walk Your Dog Month and what better way to kick start your New Year’s Resolutions by getting out and about in the great outdoors, walking off some of that festive food and drink.
With obvious health benefits for both you and your dog(s), this awareness month is a great way to help dust off the January blues, get out and about, meet other dog walkers and improve your own and your dogs well being.
It’s easy to put yourself first during the winter months when your mood is low due to the post-Christmas blues, you’re back to work and the last thing you want to be doing is spending time outside in the cold weather when at home it’s all cosy with the heating cranked up. But if you find yourself losing a little motivation to stay active, think about how your fur baby feels. Although the weather this time of the year is typically chilly and dull, your dog still needs exercise and stimulation. And of course, they want to do it with their favourite person- you!
There are many health benefits of dog walking to you and your dog. Typically a dog should have at least 20 to 30 minutes of walking per day, depending on the breed, age and health of the dog. Working breeds such as collies, shepherds and working spaniels may have higher exercise requirements than ‘lapdogs’ such as terriers and toy breeds, meaning working breeds may be able to tolerate more walking.
It gets you both moving
A body in motion stays in motion. We have heard this many times. There is no better motivation to exercise than those sweet doe eyes staring at you and the tail wagging to go with it. Dogs build up a lot of energy during the day, especially when they are home alone and taking frequent naps. Although you may be tired and sluggish from the grey weather, your pup wants to go expend some of that energy. It is proven that exercise and movement is healthy for both the body and mind, so even if you take them on a quick walk outside with lots of scent work, it will help them settle indoors. Plus, walking will help keep those extra pounds off of them (and you…).
A less-stressed dog
Think about it, exercise helps you sleep better and reduces stress. Well, the same goes for your pup. Walking daily with them will lower both of your stress levels and can even help manage some of their bad behaviours. Many times, when dogs misbehave or act out, it can mean they are not getting enough attention or exercise. A daily walk can help with many behaviour problems that are fed by incorrect or lack of stimulation.
A healthier dog
Walking is great for your dog’s body in countless ways. Getting their heart pumping gives them fresh oxygenated blood and a rush of energy and will help keep them healthy for many years to come. Walking also lubricates their joints, speeds up their metabolism and burns calories. If they need to lose a couple of pounds, or you just want to keep them in shape and healthy, daily walks for even 30 minutes will achieve this goal. What better gift can you give your dog other than a longer and higher quality of life?
Even though it’s a bit chilly this time of year, it is still good to get outside and get fresh air. The dry, stuffy air inside can often make you and your dog feel confined and claustrophobic. If it’s not too cold outside, getting some natural air and scents will arouse your dog’s natural behaviours and stimulate their instinctive natures to investigate new things they come across on a walk.
If you need some help with dog training and walking then get in touch with The Dogfather Devon, local dog walkers and trainers based in Plymouth.
We’ve done some research and found our top picks for dog-friendly locations in and around Plymouth during the snowy season, we are pawstively sure you will want to get out and explore with your furry friend!
So why not take your fluffy friend for a winter wonder walk around Plymouth’s stunning scenery and maybe stop for a warm brew and a bite to eat at one of Plymouth’s dog-friendly pubs, cafés, and restaurants.
From walks around the beautiful beaches to strolls around the charming countryside, from a cheeky hot choccie to a mouth-watering meal at your local restaurant, plan your perfect day with your pup and get those tails wagging!
Boston Tea Party is the perfect place to start your day and they’ll be sure to smother your pup with doggy treats and cuddles. If you’re after a scrumptious breakfast beside your furry friend then BTP will serve you a delicious, hearty and healthy breakfast to fuel up for a fun-packed day out with your dog.
Monty’s café is a dog-friendly cafe situated on the Barbican and offers up yummy food which is made fresh to order every day using local and seasonal food. Open for morning coffee and breakfast through to afternoon tea and cake, with their lunch and dinner menu offering fresh from the grill plates, and seafood dishes, there is something for everyone!
The Stable — perfect for pizzas, pies, and pups!
At the heart of the harbour, you’ll find The Stable on Plymouth’s Barbican waterfront. There is a scrumptious selection of ciders, pies, pizzas, and more, with all pizzas on the main menu available in gluten-free and vegan options too. The Stable source prime local ingredients from the finest producers in the region to create their totally unique and delicious dishes.
Your pup will be welcome with open paws with a bowl of water on arrival and with your permission perhaps a biscuit or two! Glory in the lovely views from the sun terrace of the marina with your pooch and enjoy their simple food, that’s simply amazing, all of which is freshly hand-made from scratch.
If letting your dog off the lead in an open public place is a worry then Paws at the Junction is the place for you. Located by Ridge Road in Plympton and set over 4 acres of land with 3 different enclosures, there’s plenty of space for your dog to enjoy an adventure without you worrying they’ll runoff. To book your walking slot visit www.paws-at-the-junction.co.uk.
Taste the fabulous fresh air on a crisp country walk this winter through Plym Valley Trail.
The Plym Valley Trail is a gorgeous gentle route dog walkers can enjoy. The trail offers some lovely views as you start from Plymouth and head towards Dartmoor.
On the trail you will pass through Plym Bridge Woods, which is managed by the National Trust, where you might be lucky enough to spot some wildlife and if you are quick enough perhaps a picture too!
A brisk walk and a bounce about at Burrator Reservoir.
Enjoy the beautiful Burrator Reservoir and the view of the scenic water and charming woodlands through the footpaths and bridleways open to the public and their pups all year round. Pop your wellington boots on and grab a collar and explore!
Cann Woods and Boringdon Camp hillfort walk.
Boringdon Camp is located in Cann Woods near Plympton, Plymouth. It is a popular destination for dog walks with free car parking available. Take a picnic and take advantage of the tables that are provided which offer spectacular scenery, and remember to pack your pooch some water too!
Near Kingsbridge in South Devon, Beesands Beach is an award-winning beach and the pawfect place to take your pup this winter!
Behind the mile-long beach, there are picturesque fields and a freshwater lake, giving you perfect panoramic views. These spots attract plenty of birds and wildlife, so be sure to pack your camera.
Wonder the gorgeous gardens of Saltram and its magnificent Georgian mansion.
This historic parkland is fantastic for your four-legged friend to run about and get some exercise whilst you enjoy the excellent views of the magnificent Georgian mansion. It is one of the Trust’s hidden treasures and rare survival of an 18th-century estate.
Want to stay out for longer?
Why not stay the night in one of Plymouth’s best-rated dog-friendly bed & breakfasts, Sungates Bed & Breakfast.
Situated just 2.2 miles from Plymouth Hoe, and in close proximity to an excellent hiking location, Sungates Bed & Breakfast offers dog-friendly accommodation with access to a balcony and free parking. There’s also access to a shared lounge and a garden, you and your pup can enjoy room service too, how pawsome is that?
Take advantage of the wonderful dog-friendly places in around Plymouth this January and start your year off the right way by embracing Walk Your Dog Month this January!