Happy New Year – Welcome to the Dog Days Blog
Happy New Year! I hope 2021 is off to a good start for you and wish you all the best this year. 2020 was definitely challenging for us all.
Welcome to the new blog from Dog Days! This space will be dedicated to providing you the best tips for pet care that I’ve picked up along the way not only as a pet owner but through my experience working with pets. I’ll also be sharing tips and good advice from local veterinarians, dog trainers and other pet care professionals. Topics will include exercise and health maintenance, fun activities to do with your dog and helpful hints when it comes to travel, grooming, where to shop and more.
If you’ve been on my site before, you probably already know that I’ve been in business for the past 15 years providing dog walking, pet sitting, play groups and grooming to pets in West Hartford. I sold the playgroup/grooming part of the business 3 years ago and now offer dog walking and pet sitting services for a variety of domestic pets. Over the years I’ve worked with many dog trainers so that we would understand the behaviors they were working on to help reinforce the training. I’ve met with veterinarians to get necessary training on administering insulin for cats and pet dentists to get the latest instruction on caring for pets’ teeth.
If you have a pet question you’ve been looking to get answered, shoot us an e-mail and we’ll try our best to get you an answer. One question I get asked a lot is – How much dog walking does my dog need? This is a very good question because it is up to us as pet owners to ensure that are dogs get enough exercise to maintain a healthy weight and to avoid problem behaviors that can crop up when dogs are bored and have pent up energy. This is not a one-size fits all type of answer though, so I’ll try and give you some guidelines so you have a starting point.
Check with your veterinarian if your dog has any condition which makes you unsure of his stamina. Next consider your dog’s size/ breed. Larger breeds need more exercise than the smaller ones. Next consider your dog’s age and current level of activity. You don’t want to jump in with an extended hike when your dog is not used to that. Most dogs can go for a 20 minute walk without a problem. If you have a healthy dog, (not obese etc.) start with the 20 minute walks and see how they do. Do this 2 times per day if you can. If you’ve got family members willing to pitch in, you can spread your dog’s walks among the family members. That brings me to my next suggestion, try and maintain a consistent schedule. Dogs love routine. Figure out what times of the day your dog needs walks that match up to the times you have available to walk them, and set up a schedule.
Here’s what I do with my dog Harry:
AM walk 7:45AM – 15 minutes
AM walk 2 11AM – 20 minutes – dog walker
PM walk 3PM – 20 minutes
PM walk 6PM – 15 minutes.
Since Harry is a smaller dog, the shorter durations and increased frequency work well for him. The short 15 minute walks are mainly potty breaks but he still gets a little exercise as well. You can easily change this to suit you and your dog’s needs. For example a larger fit dog could do 2-3 walks per day at 30 minutes each . By having a schedule you can enlist the help of family members or hire a professional service for one of the time slots when needed.
What to watch for when setting your dog’s walk duration? If your dog frequently stops for no apparent reason or is panting a lot he/she may be signaling that they’re tired. By starting off slowly, you should be able to complete the walks without a problem. You’ll want to monitor your dog once home to see how they behave. If you notice lots of water consumption or any changes to physical habits, you should adjust down your walking time. The goal is to establish a good schedule and build it up over time. All this dog walking is not only good for your dog – it’s good for you too!