We veterinarians have been fighting the growing obesity problem in America’s pets, but we’ve got a new champion in our corner.
Surgeon General Vivek Murthy has announced that one of his prime initiatives is to encourage walking and walkable communities, and what better way to enjoy walking than with a canine companion? Walking a dog supports good physical and mental health for both the dog and the dog walker, and strengthens the human-animal bond.
The AVMA endorses the surgeon general’s call to action, and we encourage all veterinarians to promote One Health by encouraging dog owners to get out and walk for the health of both their dogs and themselves. Have patients with weight problems? Encourage a friendly competition to see what pet-owner pair can rack up the most walking miles over the next few months. Or hold a dog walk to benefit a local pet charity or raise money for your clinic’s Veterinary Care Charitable Fund (Don’t have one yet? Sign up on the AVMF website.). Consider helping your own staff stay healthy by holding walking meetings or providing ample time for staff to walk (with or without a dog) during the day. You’ll all feel better for it!