32 ways to build self-care into your dog walk

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Taking your dog out for their daily walk is a standard task of having a dog. Your pooch needs the fresh air and exercise to stay happy and healthy. But this doesn't just have to be an activity for your hound, there are many ways you can build self-care for yourself into your dog walk.

You probably have already equipped your pup with everything they need for their daily walks, like one of the best dog leashes or best dog harnesses. But what about you? While walking in itself, is already great for you, there are even more ways you can add in some quality activities to invest in yourself while making sure your pooch gets all their steps in. These are simple and easy, and most won't even cost a thing to implement into your routine.

Check out this list of ideas for adding self-care to your next dog walk.

32 ways to build self-care into your dog walk

1. Listen to a podcast

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There is a podcast for everyone. Obviously, we would recommend listening to one of the best podcasts for pet lovers. But whether you are into parenting tips or even documentaries. There is sure to be something that tickles your fancy.

2. Call a friend

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While out on a walk is a great time to catch up with friends. You can make this a regularly scheduled time to check in with loved ones or maybe a friend you haven't talked to in a while. 

3. Explore a new path

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Simply switching up your path can be a great way to build more fun into your dog's routine and yours.  There are some of the best dog walks in the US to choose from, so why not switch it up?

4. Listen to an audiobook

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If you love reading but don't have the time to sit down and enjoy a book, audiobooks are a great alternative. It also keeps your hands free, especially if you are working on loose-leash walking with your pup.

5. Add in squats

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It may feel silly, but trust us and squat like no one is watching. Squats are a great lower-body exercise and you will need strong legs to keep up with your puppy, especially if you have one of the high energy dog breeds.

6. Invite a friend

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Of course, you'll have your four-legged bestie to walk with, but having a friend who can talk back can be a nice addition to your regular walk. This could also be a great opportunity for your pooch to socialize if your friend also has a dog.

7. Get some vitamin D

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Take a walk out in the sun and soak up some of that vitamin D. Vitamin D is essential for bone health and several other functions in the body, according to the National Institutes of Health.

Make sure you protect yourself with sunscreen and if you ever wondered can dogs get sunburn, the answer is yes. There are several different options for sunscreens for your pooch as well. 

8. Practice tricks

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Practicing new tricks or just refreshing old ones, is a great way to bond with your pup. There are tons of quick and easy tricks to teach your dog and this learning session can help you and your pup feel happy and closer to one another. 

9. Brainstorm

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There is something to be said about how the fresh air can help clear your mind. If you have a big task or decision coming up, take the time to think about all the ins and outs while out on your walk.

10.  Follow the dog

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Why not let your pup take the lead? See where their nose takes you, this can take the pressure off of you a little bit. Of course, you still need to keep them safe but you might be surprised to see where they go and what sights and sounds interest your pup. 

11. Walk for charity

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Raising money for a charity of your choice can fill you with a sense of purpose. Along with getting your steps in and making sure your pup is getting the exercise it needs, you can also make a difference in someone else's life. 

12. Run some, walk some

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A walk doesn't have to be just a leisurely stroll, so why not crank it up a notch and add in some running? There are some tips for running with your dog to consider, like choosing a pavement their paws will agree with but running with your dog can be a great way to add in more exercise for the both of you.

13. Climb the stairs

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Trying out a trail which includes stairs is another great way to add more intensity to your walk. Stairs can also be one of the everyday fears and phobias in dogs, so taking the extra time to practice will help them become more comfortable with them. 

14. Bring your favorite drink

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Whether you're a coffee lover or a tea drinker, having your favorite beverage can make your walk more enjoyable. A cozy beverage can make cold weather walks a little toastier, or if you're out in the blazing sun a cold beverage can help keep you cool. 

15. Bring a treat

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Your pooch will definitely enjoy a break to snack on some of the best best dog treats. But consider packing a treat for yourself as well. Things like granola bars, a Ziploc bag of snacks, or anything else you think you would enjoy would be great to have while out walking. 

16. Add in play time

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Walks don't have to be all business. Consider taking a break to play with your pup.  If you are lucky enough to live near one of the best dog-friendly beaches this would be a great place to play around with your pup. 

17. Join a dog-walking group

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Taking a walk with other dog parents is just one of the clever ways to have more fun with your dog on a walk. The extra company will also be a comfort to you, and who knows you may even make a new friend or two. 

18. Meditate

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Meditation doesn't just have to be done at home. Try combining your pup's daily walk with meditation or even just a breathing exercise to help feel more centered. There are many meditation apps you can download to take with you on the go.

19. Practice a new language

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Learning a new language while out on a walk can help you give your brain a workout as well as your body. Download your choice of language app or even podcast and see how quickly you pick up new words.

20. Pack a picnic

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Doesn't have to be anything super fancy, just a few foods you can sit and enjoy with your pooch. There are many surprising things dogs can eat besides dog food that you can also pack with you. 

21. Tick items off your to-do list

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Whether it's making that appointment you keep forgetting about or putting together your grocery shopping list, you can get these done while out for a walk and make a dent in your to-do list.

22. Track your steps

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There are endless options for tracking apps. You can mark your trail, see how many steps you've done, or even how many calories you've burned. Having something track your progress can keep you motivated and inspired to go a little further next time or take it easier. 

23. Listen to music

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This may be an obvious one, but cranking up some tunes while out on a walk can be just the thing to boost your mood. Fire up your favorite track or make a playlist dedicated to your walks.

24. Practice gratitude

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It takes a lot of energy, dedication, and willpower to get out and walk with your dog every day. Take a minute to acknowledge this and be proud of you and your pup.

You can also take this time to think over things in your life that you are grateful for. Big or small, everything is worth celebrating.

25. Try a scavenger hunt

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A fun game to increase brain power and focus is a scavenger hunt. Try looking for things that are a certain color, or try to find a certain flower or tree. You may surprise yourself with how many things you notice outside when you are looking for them. 

26. Take a picture

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Nature photography can be a fun hobby to get into. You can create an album of different types of trees, flowers, or even interesting cloud shapes you see.

27. Try a walking tour

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You may be lucky enough to find a walking tour that allows dogs to come along. But if not, there are many trails and sites around that can give you a bit of history while walking your dog. 

28. Change up the time

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You may notice that your energy levels are different at different points of the day. Try switching up the time you take your walks, if possible and see how it makes you feel.

29. Add in some yoga

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You don't have to bust out a yoga mat and blocks. But there are many movements you can do while walking, like breath work or arm stretches. Of course, if you feel you'd like to add in some sun salutations, go for it. 

30. Set goals

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These can be goals for how far you'd like to walk or things you'd like to accomplish in your life. Setting goals can give you something to look forward to and will be even more rewarding when you achieve them. 

31. Repeat mantras

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Repeating mantras can reassure you and comfort you. Pick a few that resonate with you and recite them to yourself while on your walk. 

32. Record a voice note

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Record a message to yourself. You can use this as a daily diary entry, a to-do list, or a message for your future self. 

Alexis De Leaver
Digital & Syndication Staff Writer

Alexis has been an editorial writer for over ten years. While her most of her writing has been focused on all things lifestyle content, she has a passion for animals that she hopes shines though in her pieces.