With spring just around the corner, many of us are eager to soak up as much warmth and sunshine as possible… much to the benefit of our four-legged friends!
When it comes to dogs, outdoor time is so much more than a bathroom break. Going outside is also an opportunity for exercising, exploring, and socializing. Plus, exposure to fresh air is never a bad idea.
As much as we want to dedicate our entire schedules to our dogs, we can’t exactly plan to spend 24 hours per day with our pets. That being said, it’s crucial to incorporate walks and outside time into our daily routines. So, how much outdoor time do dogs need? Why is it so important to get outside?
Benefits of Daily Walks
Walking your dog every day is important for several reasons. For starters, it’s an easy way to make sure you and your dog are both getting your daily dose of exercise, which will help to control your pup’s weight.
As dogs get older, their joints will naturally become stiffer. Being active every day is a great way to help keep those joints loose and prevent further mobility issues. Combine daily walks with Pet Honesty’s Hemp Mobility Chews to provide even more joint health support!
Moving the body helps to keep the digestive system moving, too. Regular exercise, regular diets, and regular digestion are ideal for your routine-loving dog. If your dog needs some extra digestive help, Pet Honesty’s Digestive Probiotics Chews regulates the digestive system and promotes intestinal health.
Those frequent pee breaks aren’t just because Fido needs to relieve himself—it’s actually part of how dogs communicate. Leaving urine markings is a way of leaving “messages” for other dogs around the neighborhood. That constant sniffing is just another way for your dog to explore and communicate with the world around him.
Daily walks are also a good way to socialize your dog, especially if you stop to chat with others along the way, or make your way to a local dog park. Of course, daily walks together are simply a great opportunity for bonding time between the two of you. Your dog loves any chance to spend time with his favorite person!
What About Backyard Time?
Spending time in the yard is also a great way for your dog to get outside, but you don’t want to rely on your backyard as the sole source of outdoor exposure unless you’re actively exercising together by playing games such as fetch or working on agility courses.
You also shouldn’t keep your dog isolated for too long—you don’t want him to dig up your yard as a result of boredom or separation anxiety. If your dog is chewing up your pillows and furniture inside, sending him outside isn’t a productive way to deal with the problem. Instead, try to identify the reason behind the destructive habits. If Fido is acting out due to anxiety, it may be time for crate training; allow your dog to isolate himself to a safe space by choice, rather than banishing him to the backyard.
How Long Should You Walk Your Dog?
Generally speaking, most dogs benefit from anywhere between 30 minutes to two hours of exercise per day. Try to walk for at least 30 minutes per day; depending on the breed, age, and health of your dog, you can increase the length of your walks or the intensity of the physical activity.
As long as your dog is comfortable, there’s really no limit to how long he can spend outside or on walks. Be aware of your dog’s abilities and limitations, though. Some dogs need multiple, shorter walks each day while others have more stamina and can get all their exercise in one “marathon” session.
Be wary of heatstroke during the summer months, which can be fatal. Symptoms of heatstroke include fast, heavy panting, excessive thirst, glazed eyes, a fast heartbeat, and bright red gums. Avoid heatstroke by going for walks early in the morning or late in the day, when it’s cooler. Whether you’re out for a walk or spending time in the yard, be sure to provide plenty of water and access to shade.
In the winter months, go for walks when the sun is shining to help keep your pooch warm. If you’re cold standing outside, your dog likely is, too—which means it might be a good idea to invest in a winter coat for your canine.
If it’s raining, or if the weather is just too unbearable to go outside, there are still plenty of ways to exercise your dog without leaving the house.
If your furry friend suffers from springtime seasonal allergies, avoid going outside in the early mornings or late afternoons when pollen levels are at their highest. It’s also a good idea to wipe your pup’s paws and body before coming inside, to prevent him from bringing those outdoor allergens into the house.
For dogs dealing with seasonal allergies, Pet Honesty’s Allergy Support Chews help to improve seasonal and occasional allergies by promoting a healthy histamine response.