Best Times to Walk a Dog: Learn All the Facts

It’s time to walk the dog. All canines need to stretch their legs to stay healthy, but how much walk-time do they truly need? New dog owners have so many questions about what’s best for their precious pooch. How often do they need to go out, and does playing in the yard negate the need for a walk? It can seem overwhelming if you’ve never had a dog, or if you’re getting a new pooch of a very different breed. There’s no need to stress. I’ve had many dogs over the years, and I can help you sort out all the details so you and your dog can get out at the best times for both of you.

How Much Does Timing Matter

The time of day isn’t everything when walking your dog, but it does matter. Ideally, you should walk your dog no less than three to four times per day for at least fifteen minutes. Spreading those walks out evenly is better for you and your dog. Hence, morning, noon, evening, and night are all the best times for walks.

Depending on your animals’ age, your schedule, and other factors, you may need to adjust your timing. If you cannot walk them in the middle of the day, it pays to invest in a dog walker. Realistically, dogs are creatures of habit. Canines do best on a regular, predictable schedule.

Not only does your dog do best with a schedule, but it will help them in surprising ways. Having a standard walk schedule can help prevent indoor accidents. Additionally, the bonding time you spend together on leash training and simply being outside together will bring you closer.

Here are the best times to walk your time:

1. Look at the Time

Depending on the time of day, your walks should adapt accordingly. It helps to vary your route and allow your dog plenty of time to sniff around. Canines need to use their noses to discover the world around them. Letting your dog have a casual snuffle around rather than an overly regimented promenade contributes to their mental wellbeing.

Keep in mind that, although you should let your dog explore, you shouldn’t ever let them walk you. It’s essential to maintain leash etiquette. Do not allow your dog to pull you. Similarly, you should not let them ‘lead the pack’ by choosing where to go. Casual walk or not, you are the alpha in your home, and that matters to your dog more than you could possibly understand.

2. Early in the Day

Your morning walk should be the longest of your three to four exercise breaks. Shoot for a thirty-minute walk. Because your dog will typically sleep overnight, this helps them wake up. More importantly, it also allows their body time to eliminate any stored wastes from the previous day.

3. Mid Day & Evening Walks

Fifteen minutes once or twice during the middle of the day is enough. Getting out and seeing a little of the neighborhood will help your dog release pent up mental and physical energy in a healthy manner.

4. Night Walks

Just as it’s good for humans to stretch their legs before retiring for the evening, your dog could use an enjoyable stroll in the evening. This is an excellent time for another long walk. However, in the wintertime, especially if you live somewhere cold, it’s alright to make this another short fifteen-minute walk.

Safety First

The best times to walk your dog are not necessarily the right time for every dog. Pets and their owners are highly individual. Resultantly, so are their needs. Hence you need to consider everything that affects your dog-walking schedule. The first concern should always be safety, both for you and your pet.

What exactly does that mean? Safety while walking varies based on factors like where you live. The crime rate can undoubtedly help determine when and how you should go out for night time walks, for example. Here are the primary safety questions you need to answer before deciding when to walk.

Five Questions for Safer Dog Walking:

  1. Is traffic a factor? Depending on where you live and whether there are proper crosswalks at the intersections nearby, traffic can be a danger. Also, some dogs are more prone to overstimulation when out in heavy traffic.
  2. Do you have reflective or light-up clothing for both of you? Even people who live in the countryside need to be visible when walking in the dark or at dusk. Reflective safety clothing and leashes can help avoid serious injury or even death.
  3. Where do you walk? Depending on whether you’re headed out to the forest, or wandering down a city street, it changes what you need to prepare for a walk.
  4. How’s the weather? Extreme temperatures can change the best time for your dog walking.
  5. What’s the crime rate in your area? It’s always important to learn how to walk confidently and without undue distraction, but in high crime areas, it’s better to do so earlier in the evening. Moreover, you should always take some form of self-defense with you like pepper spray or a personal safety alarm.

Safety Preparedness

There are some necessary steps you can take to help protect yourself and your canine companion when you walk. First, make sure that both of you have on reflective gear or neon colors. Even in full daylight, it will help keep you safe. In a pinch, you can add this yourself with reflective tape.

However, I suggest picking up a Noxgear LightHound Harness from Amazon to be sure cars will see your dog. It gives three-hundred-sixty degree light and recharges quickly. With the LightHound can choose from several colors and warning flash patterns depending on your situation and preferences. Find out more details when you click here

Beyond light up or reflective gear, you should always take a few other essential items with you. For example, you should have a keychain flashlight even in the daytime. Take enough water for both of you, regardless of the weather or your intentions. Dehydration can happen at any time of year.

Make sure your cell phone is fully charged, but don’t play with it while you walk as it could distract you. Also, when the weather is extreme, consider putting dog shoes on your pet to prevent burns, freezing, or other injuries.

Potty Needs

It’s essential to consider your dogs’ bathroom needs when scheduling walks. Although an adult dog can typically hold their urine for up to eight hours, it’s better if you don’t make them do so needlessly. Walking after a meal will help them digest and eliminate waste.

Holding in their urine for too long can contribute to canine cancer. The carcinogens your dog eliminates when they pee, along with other cells, can damage your beloved pet. Furthermore, holding it too long or too regularly can lead to UTI’s. Unfortunately, the more urinary tract damage your dog has over time, the higher the chance of incontinence in old age.

Dogs who hold it until their bladders expand often have accidents as they age. Damages can become permanent in just a few months. Hence, a regular walking schedule isn’t only advisable. It’s necessary for your dog. Beyond mere physical fitness and mental health, walks help keep your dog’s body running like the sporty machine it was meant to be.

When You Can’t Walk

Making sure your pet has somewhere to go when they can’t get out for a walk is vital. Especially for very young and aging dogs, who have more accidents, some fake grass can be the perfect solution. Although it should never be a substitute for walks, there are times when you can’t get out as often as you’d like.

People who live in extreme climates may not be able to head outside with their dogs safely in mid-summer or mid-winter. Likewise, if you should break a hip or otherwise find yourself incapable of going on dog walks for a short while, an indoor solution can be a lifesaver. Not to mention, it can save your floors.

A BringerPet Indoor Toilet made from faux grass can help you eliminate messes. The drainage tray helps trap urine and makes cleanup simple. Save your floors and a lot of frustration by tailoring your indoor environment to your dogs’ needs. To get one from Amazon, click right here

Establishing Territory

In addition to using the bathroom on walks and stretching their legs, dogs need something else from their travels around the neighborhood. Healthy dogs mark territory. Lifting a leg on trees, bushes, and stop signs isn’t just expected; your dog needs to mark their area.

Doggy instincts go back thousands of years. Even domestic pets are driven to claim an area as their own. By allowing your pet to scent-mark along your walking routes, they get a sense of accomplishment. Your canine companion has announced to the world that he, or she, is there. Moreover, they have laid claim to their home. Doing this can help prevent the need to mark inside the house.

You shouldn’t discourage marking behavior outdoors. As long as your pet isn’t aiming at a person or vehicle, it’s okay for them to make ten stops to squirt fire hydrants. Be patient with them. Your dog is just doing what they feel compelled to do so that no one invades their space.

Breed, Age & Health

When and how much you walk, your dog also varies based on other factors. While all dogs need to get out and stretch their legs, their breed, and lifestyle, as well as factors like age and health, profoundly affect how much walking they require. Most dogs need thirty minutes to two hours per day of walking time regardless of their other lifestyle activities.


Some high energy dogs, like collies, may need more walks in a day, or longer walking time to stay sane and healthy. Dogs who ‘go nuts’ in the house and run around like maniacs, or tear things up, require a healthy outlet for all their energy. Walk time varies substantially based on the breed.

Especially if your dog is medium to large and has a lot of energy, they need more walks. Playing in the yard is nice too, but going out together and walking is also necessary for your dogs’ wellbeing. Even dogs who are allowed to play in a large yard most of the year should go out several times a day.

Alternately, some smaller breeds can do with just one or two walks per day. French bulldogs are well-known couch potatoes with very laid back personalities. Moreover, their size means that they get more exercise running around the house (proportionally) than bigger dogs would. It merely takes them more effort to go the same distance.

Employed Dogs Need the Most Walks

Most pet owners don’t think of their dogs as having jobs. However, sporting dogs, hunting dogs, and working dogs like herders and police dogs need more walks. Their physical activity levels demand more from them. As a result, their ‘downtime’ also needs to be more active. These dogs, regardless of breed, need a minimum of an hour per day walking. They are happiest with as much as two hours of regular walks daily.

Brachycephalic Dogs Need the Least Walking Time

Dogs who have shortened faces, especially those who are prone to breathing issues, don’t need as much walking time in a day. Their unique physical condition means that they exert far more energy, even merely walking than other dogs. As a result of their breeding, brachy dogs are often more challenging to raise. So, if you own bulldogs, Boston terriers, or boxers (among other short-nosed breeds), you may be looking at as little as twenty minutes of walk-time per day.


Puppies are delightful. However, they are more easily and quickly tired out than healthy adult dogs. When first starting your walks with a new puppy, consider their age. Take shorter ten to fifteen-minute jaunts while they grow. Helping acclimate them to leash walking takes time and patience.

Older dogs may not be able to keep up their walking schedule the way an average adult dog can. As your canine companion gets up in years, you’ll need to adjust accordingly. Cut down on the duration of your walks if they have trouble. Like puppies and recovering dogs, it’s alright to take older dogs out less often or more often for shorter periods.

Deciding the exact schedule for old and very young dogs depends on their energy level and capabilities. Consult with a professional if you’re having trouble working out how much walk time is right for your particular dog. By answering a few simple questions about their health, breed, and lifestyle, your vet can help you to figure out what will work best. Be patient. It may take a few adjustments before you find what works for both you and your pet.


A dog who has been sick or injured doesn’t need the same walks. It’s best to work back up to full strength. Take shorter trips for a while. Particularly if a dog has had surgery or other serious complications, a thirty-minute morning walk might be too much for their body. Dogs who have trouble urinating may also need more frequent jaunts.

Try walking for five to ten minutes, but also going more often in the day if your dog has been sick or hurt. Six short, ten-minute walks, is a good start. Alternately, a dog with a broken leg may not be able to go for walks at all for a while. Always consult your vet before self-assigning a new schedule for a recovering dog.

Long term health conditions like hip dysplasia and arthritis can affect a dog’s ability to walk. Dogs who have special health conditions need additional consideration when walking. A great supplement like Paws & Pals Glucosamine for dogs can help your pet walk longer and feel better. You’ll be pleasantly surprised how much a supportive chew can aid your dog. To check prices and availability, click here

Final Thoughts

Getting your dog on the right walking schedule is essential to responsible pet care. Not only does your dog need his exercise, but you also need the time to bond and work on leash training. A healthy dog is a happy dog. Walking your pet at the right time of day can make all the difference.

Whether you have a hectic schedule, or you’re a work-from-home type who can set down what you’re doing at will and go out for some sunshine makes a huge difference in your walking schedule. However, one thing is sure. Every dog needs their walks.

Now that you know more about when it’s best to walk your dog, get out there and enjoy yourselves. Walking in the fresh air will do you both a world of good.

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