Can I Get Out of Walking My Dog?

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Section II: Going to the Dogs
(Or Cats)

13. How can I keep my dog healthy and happy without ever walking him again?

You can’t. Just like you, your dog needs regular, moderate exercise to stay healthy. Unless you’re disabled, it’s your choice to ruin your health by not getting up and walking around the block once a day. It’s not, however, your dog’s choice. If you can’t do that, either hire a dog-walker or find someone to adopt the dog who can do it.

Here in Arizona, it is too hot to walk the dogs in the summertime—even after dark, the asphalt on the roads can burn their feet. When we got out of the sack at 5:30 this morning, the thermometer on the back porch registered 100 degrees. One of the corgis here doesn’t tolerate heat well; the other will go for a long time, but exercising a dog in high heat is a bad idea (their bodies do not regulate heat in the same way as ours do). So there will be several weeks in July and early August when their doggy walks will be curtailed.

The result is that their claws grow long enough to make it uncomfortable for them to walk: I have to file or clip their claws, which they hate. But that’s only the half of it. If they don’t get exercised, they develop joint problems—dogs can get a backache from loafing around, same as you and I do. They become overweight. They may develop diabetes. They become neurotic with boredom.

Just like you and me.