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What Happens If I Don’T Take My Dog For A Walk? (Vet Guide)

Walking your dog has numerous advantages. It brings you and your dog outside for some fresh air, exercise, and cerebral stimulation for your dog.

Nevertheless, what if you lack the time to walk your dog? Is it cruel to deny your dog a walk? And what will occur if you don't?

Find out how often you should walk your dog, what happens if you don't, and what you need for a successful stroll with your pet by reading "What Happens if I Don’t Take My Dog for a Walk? (Vet Guide)" by BestForPets (bestforpets.org).

Is it Cruel Not to Walk Your Dog?

Perhaps not necessarily. If you have a fenced-in yard, your dog regularly attends daycare, and/or you often take them hiking or swimming, it is not cruel to skip the neighborhood walk. It all boils down to ensuring that your dog receives daily and weekly exercise.

Your dog will need a consistent spot to defecate, whether it’s in your yard or on a walk. Just like you, your dog must relieve themselves regularly. Your dog will also require an outlet for some of their energy and focus. While you are at work or school during the day, your dog may be at home or in a kennel.

At the end of the day, when you are finished and fatigued, you want to crash. Nonetheless, your dog will be thrilled to see you, eager to spend time with you, and in need of an outlet for the excess energy they accumulated over the day.

How Frequently Should I Walk My Dog?

Little puppies should be taken outside every 2-4 hours to eliminate. Often, older dogs can go six to eight hours or longer without a walk or toilet break.

Depending on whether or not they are on medication, senior dogs may need to go outside every few hours like puppies. Medicines, such as heart disease-prescribed diuretics and steroids, may cause your dog to defecate more regularly.

If your dog is older and suffers from arthritis, it is actually more advantageous for them to take many short walks throughout the day than than two long ones. This will ensure that they get out of bed, lubricate their joints, and exercise muscles that they might not otherwise use.

This is also recommended to ensure that your senior dog’s bladder is entirely empty. If your dog has arthritis, it might be difficult for them to maintain the toilet position for extended durations.

Hence, if they are not given ample opportunity to void, they may not entirely empty their bladder.

How Long Should I Walk My Dog?

As stated previously, this is very dependant on your dog’s age. Young adult dogs, working breeds, arctic breeds, hounds, and other high-energy breeds benefit from lengthy walks.

Depending on your school or job schedule, this may consist of numerous short walks per day or one or two longer walks.

Once they are completely developed and their growth plates have fused, high-energy breeds can typically go numerous miles without incident.

Puppies and senior dogs benefit from many short walks per day. “Short” should be judged by your dog’s underlying health.

A dog with arthritis, short legs, a heart issue, etc., might only be able to walk to the end of the driveway and back, or around the block once.

Others may interpret “brief” in terms of time, such as 10 minutes at a time. Consult your veterinarian regarding an appropriate length based on your dog’s health.

Where Should I Take My Dog For a Walk?

If you do not have a fenced-in yard and must walk your puppy, remember that they are more susceptible to communicable infections during walks. Attempt to take them on less frequented routes. Walk them away from neighboring yards or spots of grass where a large number of dogs congregate.

Under no circumstances should you take your puppy to a dog park, a walk, the beach, or daycare unless your veterinarian has given permission! You do not want your puppy to contract parvovirus or nasty parasites from a simple walk.

If your dog has a great deal of energy, a pleasant hiking track will give them with the stimulus of sniffing in a calm environment. The best bet if your dog eats everything in sight is probably a local sidewalk, where they won’t meet stray objects to ingest.

Avoid blacktop or sunny regions in the middle of the day, or if your dog is prone to overheating due to his brachycephalic head shape, black color, age, etc. In the winter, you should avoid ice locations where you and your dog may slip, as well as areas where salt has been spread. Salt can irritate and traumatize the paw pads of your dog.

What Do I Need For a Walk?

If you have a retractable leash, dispose of it immediately. Immediately. If you never use a retractable leash again, you’ll make everyone’s vets happy.

These leashes offer little control over your dog and increase their risk of becoming entangled with other animals, individuals, or items. Not to mention that these leashes have been known to break if the dog pulls hard enough.

Buy a high-quality leash made of woven fabric, leather, or nylon with a sturdy clasp for your dog. Chains are not recommended because if your dog becomes entangled, you will be unable to free them. Depending on whether or not your dog pulls excessively, a halter or harness is often ideal for walking them.

Face halters, halters with a clip in the front, and harnesses with clips in the back are among the several available alternatives. They will assist in relieving the strain on your dog’s neck if he or she pulls and will provide you much more control while you walk. Simply ensure that the collar fits snugly so that your dog does not panic or escape.

Lastly, don’t forget the waste bags! Not only is it responsible to pick up after your dog every time you take them outside, but it also helps avoid the spread of diseases such as parasites and giardia. In addition, you will help prevent an unaware person from entering into anything unpleasant.


As clarified in “What Happens if I Don’t Take My Dog for a Walk? (Vet Guide)” by BestForPets (bestforpets.org), depending on where you reside, walking your dog may be necessary. It is not always cruel to not walk your dog around the neighborhood if you have a good fenced-in yard or if your dog routinely attends doggie daycare.

If you live in an apartment or have a high-energy breed, however, walking your dog provides benefits for both you and your pet. The duration and frequency of your dog’s walks depend on their age and underlying health conditions.

Be a responsible owner and walk your dog in areas that are safe for you and your pet, and always pick up after them.

Author Image

Dr. Deborah Fletcher

Deborah R. Fletcher, DVM, is a skilled veterinarian with more than 15 years of experience dealing with companion and exotic animals. She has experience caring for a variety of animals, including household cats and dogs, reptiles, birds of prey, and even primates. Dr. Fletcher is a valuable part of the BestForPets team, where she contributes to their aim of providing pets and their owners with the finest possible treatment and services.

Veterinarian (DVM) Dr. Deborah Fletcher


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