Walking your dog is very good for them—not only does it allow them to get outside for a bathroom break, but it gives them great exercise. Dogs need fresh air and it’s a great bonding experience for pet owners. It also gives them some socialization with other people, other dogs and mental stimulation.
Of course, the amount of time your dog needs outside can vary with different breeds. Smaller dogs might not like lengthy walks, whereas bigger dogs might need playtime or a good romp. Even the time of day can affect how you walk your dog. If you’re wondering if there is a preferable time of day to walk your dog, continue reading this article for more information.
Dogs are crepuscular, this means that they are naturally most active at dawn and dusk. For many dog guardians and owners these needs have led to us walking our dogs in the morning and evening as it also fits in with our routines. However there is no set time of day that you must walk your dog. However there are plenty of things that can affect if it is a good time to walk your dog each day.
When Should You Not Walk Your Dog?
There are a few environmental factors that can affect the time of day you walk your dog. This can be anything from high temperatures, rain or snow, or your dog’s routine.
When it’s too cold, make sure your dog is bundled up. If they have short fur, they might need a doggy coat to stay comfortable. Keep walks shorter in the winter too because salt isn’t great for their paws and freezing temperatures can cause them discomfort and affect their joints. Alternatively, if it’s too hot, you might need to keep walks shorter, so your dog’s paws don’t get scorched by the sidewalk or driveway. Keep water handy to keep your dog hydrated and try to stay on the shady side of the street. Some breeds are more prone to heat stroke, especially those with black fur.
If you live in a busy area that is particularly noisy at night, avoid walking your dog during this time. For example, if you know Friday nights bring in big crowds on your street and loud noises, try walking your dog a little bit earlier in the evening—especially if you have a nervous dog!
Is It OK to Skip a Dog Walk?
Yes and no. There may be circumstances that are valid to skip a dog walk, but you should always try to avoid this. Dogs need to take regular bathroom breaks and exercise at least three times a day 30 minutes to an hour in length. If there’s a thunderstorm outside in the morning and you recognize your dog hates thunder, give it another hour to let your dog calm down first so they don’t panic. Alternatively, maybe you can just let them out in the backyard on a leash to pee and come right back in.
There are other circumstances such as when you first get a puppy, and they have not had all their vaccination shots—this is of course a situation where you might be able to take them outside right away for regular walks.
If you have a dog with behavioral or mobility issues you may be advised to keep walks very short or just to exercise in your yard.
Help With Walking Your Dog
There are many different services you could turn to if you have a very busy schedule suddenly, or if you must take an out-of-town trip. Services like dog walkers are widely available through mobile applications or websites nowadays. These apps are usually very trustworthy that depend on user reviews for repeat customers. Try getting a dog sitter through personal references so you know a friend or family member has used them before with a positive experience.
Alternatively, you can bring your dog to a dog daycare. These are also widely available and can be researched beforehand to ensure it’s the best environment for your dog.
Dogs rely on regular walks everyday and are naturally more active at dawn and dusk. Pet owners should be ready to be up in the morning and be available throughout the day to make sure they have the chance to go to the bathroom and get outside for activity. It keeps their minds sharp and elevates their mood! It allows them to make other doggy friends and socialize.
Keep an eye on the weather and keep your dog protected from the elements when needed. If you need some help, get a friend or dog walking service to give you a hand. Your dog should be outside at least three times a day, so keep this in mind when you first get a dog.
Featured Image Credit: Jaromir Chalabala, Shutterstock