7 Things to Think About when Picking a Walking Route

A good way to keep your dog engaged and motivated on your daily walk is by changing things up a bit.

Varying your walking route will help give your dog all new things to sniff and entertain himself with. But do make sure to select your route wisely.

Here are some things to keep in mind when selecting a good dog-walking route:


Dogs don’t have the luxury of wearing a baseball cap, sunglasses, and shorts to cool down in the hot sun. So in addition to avoiding walking your dog when the sun is up high in the sky, you’ll also want to choose routes that provide plenty of shade. Some dogs will absolutely not walk in the sun and spend the whole walk running from shady spot to shady spot.


Our dogs are usually not wearing shoes either (though booties could be a good idea in certain situations), so be aware of where they’re walking. Is he walking on hot asphalt? Is there snow? Did someone break glass in the area? Have pesticides been recently sprayed? Not only can your dog step on something and injure his paws but when you return home, the first thing he’ll do is lick off whatever he got on them.


Depending on the time of year and your area, parasites are another consideration. Watch out for wilderness areas that are not well-maintained and are overgrown in order to reduce the risk of your dog (and you) catching ticks. Mosquitoes like standing water, so keep an eye out for that. Know about areas that are infested with fleas—and if you must walk in them, consider some natural pest control.


Walking in areas with a high number of moving cars means you and your dog will probably be breathing in large amounts of car exhaust. If you do walk along busy streets, do so at low traffic times. Walking this type of route may also be a challenge in that sidewalks can be narrow and you and your dog will have to contend with other pedestrians, bicyclists, and dogs in a much smaller area with cars and trucks whizzing by. Plus, it can get noisy and counteract what should be a relaxing walk with your dog.


If you have a dog with environmental allergies, you’ll want to be aware of the potential allergens in areas you consider walking. Look for paved or dirt trails for dogs with grass allergies and if your dog is allergic to any trees, plants, and/or flowers, make sure you are familiar with them so you can avoid them. Dilute some apple cider vinegar with water and use it to wipe your dog’s paws down when you get home. If you regularly see him itching and scratching after his walks, there could be an allergen on your route.


For dogs who get overexcited with other dogs or even people, you may want to avoid city parks because there’s a greater chance of finding more dogs (even off leash) and small children running around. If you must visit city parks, go when it’s off peak hours.


Since your dog will most likely relieve himself on his walk, make sure your route has plenty of trash bins so you won’t have to lug around a poop bag your entire walk. Also, particularly on hot days, your dog may finish the water you’ve brought on his walk and need a refill. A route with some drinking water fountains nearby can also be very useful.

You and your dog can have many adventures together by changing up your walking route. Keep these tips in mind for a safer and more comfortable walk for the both of you.

Meet the Author: Jessica Peralta

Jessica Peralta has been a journalist for more than 15 years and an animal lover all her life. She has had dogs, cats, birds, turtles, fish, frogs, and rabbits. Her current children are a German shepherd named Guinness and a black kitten named Riot (and he lives up to that name). It’s because of her love for animals that she focused her journalistic career to the world of holistic animal care and pet nutrition. In between keeping Riot and Guinness out of mischief, she’s constantly learning about all the ways she can make them healthier and happier.

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