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Published: Feb 22, 2012

February 22 has been identified as "Walking the Dog Day," but any responsible dog owner knows that every day is walking the dog day - or should be.

According to VCA Animal Hospitals, walking is often recommended by veterinarians as a key aspect of a weight-loss plan for dogs. While creating a structured walking regimen can help your pet lose extra weight if it needs to, it is also an important aspect of the animal's overall behavior and physical well-being.

Some breeds need more exercise than others, and a dog's walking routine should be adjusted based on its age, size and breed. According to Animal Planet, dogs that belong to the herding, sporting and working breed groups tend to need the most exercise, as they were originally bred to be extremely active. Dogs in the non-sporting and toy breed groups, on the other hand, need less vigorous exercise. All pets need exercise to maintain a healthy weight and ward off conditions like canine diabetes or arthritis.

VCA reports that if a dog needs to burn serious calories, it is important to give it plenty of flexibility in its collars and leashes. Using a leash and collar can compress the trachea when the dog pulls, and choke chains or any other similar collars can do the same. Instead, owners should opt for head halters or walking harnesses to keep the canine safe and secure.