If you could give your dog the schedule he or she wants, what would it be? What schedule would make a dog the happiest? In this article, we will try to answer that by helping you understand the way dogs like to eat, sleep, play, and live!
- Play – Dogs like to play! You can help your pet be their happiest both mentally and physically by providing plenty of stimulation. This can be in the form of toys, a companion to play with, or plenty of walks and playtime with you. If you are really busy, use a doggy daycare or have a pet sitter stop by and give them a walk while you are at work. If a dog has enough to do during the day, they will stay awake when the sun is up and sleep at night when you do.
- Sleep – There are sleep requirement differences by breed, but, generally, dogs like to sleep around 16 to 18 hours a day. Dogs sleep more than people, but wake far more frequently. How much and when your dog sleeps depends on the level of activity in their environment. A dog living as a pet in a home is likely to sleep more than a dog that works for a living, such as a search and rescue dog or a dog working on a farm. Some dogs will sleep more out of boredom.
- Water – Dogs like to have free access to fresh, clean water at all times. Make sure your dog’s bowl is fresh. Change the water daily and wash out the bowl.
- Food – Generally, dogs like to eat once or twice a day, although some dogs will only eat well every other day. They appreciate the opportunity to eat every day. Smaller breeds often like to be fed more often than larger breed dogs. Young puppies need to be fed more frequently than adult dogs.
- Opportunities to Eliminate – Adult dogs like opportunities to urinate and defecate at least every 8 hours. Although some dogs can hold their urine a long time, if they had their choice, they would still like the opportunity to “go out” every 6 to 8 hours. Puppies need to be let out more often, especially if you are trying to housebreak them.
- General Comfort – Dogs like the comfort of a clean environment that is not too hot or too cold. Most dogs are very happy indoors, although outdoor dogs are able to have great lives. Dogs especially enjoy the comfort of the indoors during extreme hot or cold temperatures. If you have an outdoor dog, they should have access to warm shelter in the winter and shade in the summer, as well as constant access to fresh, clean water.
- Time – Dogs love to be fussed over and to spend quality time with their owners. This time makes them feel important and loved, just as we feel when a loved one gives us undivided attention. This “time” can be just sitting or watching TV. Many dogs love to be pet and brushed as well!
An Ideal Daily Schedule for Your Dog
7 am – 7:30 am
- Wake up and go for a brisk walk with the opportunity to urinate and defecate.
- If you have 10 minutes for a little playtime, that would be great. Fetch or something interactive is a welcome game.
- Spend about 10 minutes of quality time just talking and petting your dog. Look for anything unusual about their demeanor, attitude, hair coat, look of their eyes, etc.
7:30 am – 8:00 am
- Time to eat. Change the water as well to make sure the bowl is full and fresh.
- Offer food if you feed your dog more than once a day.
8:00 am – 9:00 am
- Dogs like to have the opportunity to go out for a bathroom break after they eat.
9 am – 12 pm
- Nap time or time to follow you around as you do your housework. If you are off to work – then naptime it will be.
12 pm – 1 pm
- Ideally, most dogs would enjoy some interaction again with the opportunity to go out, exercise, or play.
1 pm – 5 pm
- Nap time again or another opportunity to observe you working.
5 pm – 7:30 pm
- Drinks, dinner, and playtime. Again, change the water and offer dinner. Monitor your dog’s appetite. Offer a longer and more extensive playtime than you did in the morning. Let them really play and burn off some of that pent-up energy.
7:30 pm – 11 pm
- Quiet family time. This may be a good opportunity to brush and groom your dog, brush their teeth, and spend some quality time together lounging on the couch and watching TV.
- Most dogs appreciate another opportunity to go out and do their “business” one last time. Then bedtime!
It is understood that most people have to work and may not have the flexibility to offer all these frequent trips outside. If you work long hours, you might consider doggy daycare, getting a dog walker, or having a neighbor come and give your pet attention and exercise.
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