The Importance of Routines for Dogs

Friday, August 6, 2021 09:09:22 AM America/Los_Angeles

If you’re a doting dog paw-rent, you’ve likely been impressed by the striking accuracy of your pup’s inner clock. They seem to magically know when it’s dinner time and when the mail person will be stopping by. Dogs are keen on time because routine is what gives dogs a sense of security. As we discuss below, having a routine is the first step to a happy and healthy pup!

Photo by Veronika Jorjobert

Are routines actually important for dogs?

The simple answer is yes. No, your fur baby won’t implode (hopefully) if you’re late for dinner by 30 minutes. But the overall routine should be adhered to as much as possible. This isn’t only to keep your pup complaint-free. Routines for dogs are essential for providing a sense of security and safety. Inconsistency or major disruptions can upset their sense of security and can lead to separation anxiety, which has both behavioral, emotional, and physical consequences.

What’s a good daily routine for dogs?

As much as canines are creatures of habit, how their day is structured is a bit more flexible as long as you stick to it. A standard routine may look something like this:

  • Morning potty time (early morning)
  • Morning meal (early morning)
  • Morning walk (early morning - about 30 minutes after breakfast)
  • Midday walk or play sesh (early afternoon)
  • Evening potty time (early evening)
  • Evening meal (early evening)
  • Evening walk (evening - about 30 minutes after dinner)
  • End of day play sesh (mid-evening)
  • End of day walk (evening)

Of course, different dogs may have varying scheduling needs that have to be accommodated such as potty training, physical therapy, or general training classes. It should also be noted that dogs of different ages will have specific needs. A puppy or a senior dog may need to use the dog bathroom more frequently, and an adolescent pup will likely want extra play sessions. 

Food and potty times are the most basic routines that should be in place for a happy, healthy dog. If you have a schedule that prevents you from taking your dog out as needed, having an indoor pee pad like Bark Potty can be invaluable. Similarly, if you aren’t able to provide meals at their scheduled times, it’s a good idea to have someone -- either a pet sitter or other trusted person -- to make regular visits. 

Setting a routine and structure for dogs can seem challenging in this day and age, when we’re constantly out and about or preoccupied with our to-do list. But having a set schedule is not only critical for your dog’s sense of security, it also ensures that they remain both emotionally and physically healthy.