You’ve been teeter-tottering on the edge of finally getting a dog.
The thought of having a new furry best friend warms your heart! But still, you wonder…am I really ready for this?
There’s no way around it; it is a huge responsibility to have a dog. A pup puts a lot of extra demands on your time, finances, and energy.
You don’t want to cut corners but can’t help but wonder if certain dog-owner responsibilities offer any wiggle room.
Like, will you really have to walk your dog every single day? Is it okay not to?
While not required, it is strongly recommended that you walk your dog at least once every single day for around 15-20 minutes, with multiple walks daily being ideal. Dogs benefit from the exercise, socialization, exploration of their environment, and bonding that is uniquely provided through going on daily walks.
In this article, I will explain what happens if you don’t take your dog on walks. Then, I will detail how often you should realistically take your dog on walks and give you a few tips to help make walks with your dog more enjoyable.
Does the idea of committing to walking your pup each and every day still sound slightly daunting?
Once you learn how much this daily ritual will benefit your dog, you’ll be racing to lace up your sneakers.
Let’s get moving!
Sometimes life just happens. Even the most diligent dog owner may have emergencies or schedule conflicts from time to time that can make taking daily walks a challenge.
So, what happens if you don’t get that daily walk-in?
First and probably the most obvious, your dog may do their business indoors! Of course, if you have a safe, fenced-in yard, you can simply opt to let your dog out rather than take them on a walk. This will at least prevent your pup from making a mess inside.
But letting your dog outside should be considered the bare minimum.
Maybe you’re really sick or extremely slammed with work, and taking your dog for a walk is just out of the question on a particular day. Or perhaps weather conditions are such that a walk wouldn’t be possible or even enjoyable for you or your pup.
Ideally, the scenarios above should be a rarity and the exception, not the rule.
You’re not a bad pet owner if you have to just let your dog outside from time to time. But there are certain specific benefits that a dog gets from going on walks that they do not get from simply being let outside in the yard.
If you don’t walk your dog, they can’t reap any of these rewards!
Some of these benefits include:
If your goal is purely having your pup use the restroom, letting them out in the yard will get the job done. But your pup may likely eliminate even faster and easier if you take them on a walk.
The smells and evidence of other animals having used the bathroom in the vicinity may jumpstart your pup’s own need to go!
The motion of walking will also help their digestive system get things moving more rapidly.
In addition to speeding up your pup’s potty time, walking your dog is an amazing form of exercise. Walking, running, and jogging with your dog on a consistent basis will help keep both of you healthy.
Taking your dog on walks is a great way to expose them to other dogs, people, and situations.
If your dog is used to meeting and interacting with new humans and animals on a regular basis, they are more likely to be well-adjusted. Daily walks may help your dog be more at ease and comfortable in various atmospheres.
Perhaps the biggest benefit your pup gets from taking daily walks is the fun and adventure of exploring new environments. The sights, smells, sounds, and interesting new things they encounter on their walks enrich their minds.
Walks allow them to play and prance around as a puppy should!
From hiking to seizing trails you’ve never explored, your walks with your dog serve as intimate bonding time. Your walks are where remarkable memories are made as you conquer exciting, new terrain together.
There is no perfect formula for how often you should walk your dog.
Generally, younger dogs with more energy need more frequent walks. On the other hand, older dogs with more health problems can usually stand less activity.
Depending on your dog’s age, breed, temperament, and level of health, they may need anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours of exercise each day. This is a wide range, and it may take some trial and error to figure out exactly how much activity your pup needs.
You may want to experiment with longer walks fewer times a day or if your schedule allows, try shorter walks more frequently.
You may want to start off with a walk first thing in the morning, in the early afternoon, before dinner, and before bed. You can make adjustments based on your dog’s energy levels, disposition, eating schedule, and bathroom needs.
Worried that all these walks may get boring after a while? Have no fear! There are many ways to mix things up on your dog’s walks to keep things fresh and exciting for both of you.
Here are some tips for keeping your walks with your canine compadre lively:
Daily life can be so hectic. So it’s totally understandable that adding a daily walk with your dog, much less multiple walks a day, may feel like another task on top of the to-do list.
But as you actually get into the groove of practicing these daily walks with your pup, you will probably notice overwhelming benefits. These walks will likely result in a dog with smooth and regular bathroom habits, a fit and healthy body, and good social skills.
These daily walks are primed to produce a pup brimming with curiosity, with a good sense of fun, adventure, and play.
But the positive side effects of all of this walking don’t stop there. As you walk together, you will be building life-long memories daily, side-by-side, step-by-step.
And that’s certainly something worth walking for!