When most people think about why their dog might benefit from a midday dog walk the most common reasons that come to mind are a potty break and exercise.
While mid-day potty breaks are a welcome reprieve for all dogs it is a necessity for others. Puppies often need extra breaks as their bladders are growing with their bodies. As dogs age their bladder ages with them, so at some point you may find that your senior dog can no longer hold it until you get home from work.
The number of hours you are gone each day also factors into the need for a midday dog walk. While most dogs can “hold it” for about eight hours, it is not necessarily good for them to do so. Having your dog hold it for long periods on a regular basis can lead to the development of bacteria in the accumulated urine. Over time this can lead to a urinary tract infection or even a bladder or kidney infection. While it might seem counter intuitive, having your dog hold it for long periods can also contribute to incontinence as they get older.
According to many studies, exercise needs vary based on your dog’s age, breed, size and overall health, but most dogs should spend between thirty minutes to two hours on an activity every day. Breeds in the hunting, working or herding groups need the most exercise. Getting a midday dog walk of twenty to forty minutes during work days not only helps to satisfy the activity requirement but also gives the pet parent a reprieve on those days when you can’t or just don’t want to run home after work and take your dog for a good walk.
While your dog is getting their mid-day bathroom break there are other important benefits. If your dog is a napper and has little activity during the day this can lead to weight gain. According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, 54% of dogs in the U.S. are overweight. Despite this worrying statistic, over 80% of pet owners believe their pet is at a healthy weight. Just like with people, being overweight can lead to a shortened life expectancy for your pup.
Not all dogs are nappers. Some dogs left to their own devices and boredom can end up becoming disruptive, like barking, or destructive, such as chewing, digging or trying to escape. Being left alone for long periods can also lead dogs to develop separation anxiety which in turn can also lead to destructive behavior.
Taking your dogs for walks anytime is good for socialization and leash manners. In a 2015 study on the importance of early socialization in adult dogs, those who lacked regular socialization showed increased aggression and fearfulness as adults. Walks are a good time for a dog to explore their surroundings, come across new objects and other people and pets. Done on a regular basis, this will result in a calmer and better-behaved dog.
A mid-day dog walk or backyard playtime may be a small detail but it can make a big difference to a dog left alone at home. If you aren’t able to do this yourself, anywhere from one to five days a week, Pet Minders has experienced dog walkers ready to assist. Please call us to customize a schedule that satisfies you and your dogs needs.