With the start of a new year, the urge to clean up your physical space and check in with your routines can be quite strong. Whether you’re looking for some new year inspiration or you’re gearing up for a productive spring, we’re sharing some things you can do to get your dog’s routine organized.
How Is Your Dog’s Routine?
Exercise, mental and physical, is important to keep your dog’s stress levels low. A bored or stressed-out dog can turn destructive as a coping mechanism. Have you thought about your dog’s daily routine? Are they getting enough exercise? How about mental activity? If you drew up your dog’s daily schedule, what would it look like?
As you evaluate your dog’s routine, keep their behavior in mind. Are they more clingy than usual? Are they engaging in destructive behaviors? These are signs that you may need to make some adjustments to your dog’s routine.
We may not have a lot of cold weather keeping us inside, but with the holidays, we may have gotten out of the habit of regularly exercising our dog. A quick potty run doesn’t count. Maybe your dog has a little more squish to them after the winter months, or maybe they’ve seemed more hyper than usual. These are both signs that your dog may not be getting enough exercise.
Exercise isn’t just important for physical health, it helps with their mental health as well. If your dog is only getting a quick walk to potty, they’re not getting essential time to sniff and explore. Dogs need a chance to decompress, and sniffing and exploring their environment is incredibly important to keep them destressed and happy.
Mental enrichment for a dog can come in the form of puzzle toys that engage their brains on an instinctual level. You can play games with your dog, like a dog-friendly version of hide-and-seek. If enrichment toys seem too pricey, you can make your own. Even a fistful of kibble tossed into a box of crumbled paper works as enrichment for your dog. Searching for food mimics foraging behaviors that come naturally to your dog.
Your dog’s daily routine depends on their age and even their breed. Puppies and senior dogs need more potty breaks throughout the day. Active breeds need more physical activity. Needs also vary by individual dog. If your dog is a chronic fence jumper, it may be that they need more structured exercise like walks.
An Example Routine For Your Dog
Your dog’s routine will, of course, depend on your own. An example routine might look a little like this:
7 am - 7:30 am - Quick potty walk and some playtime
7:30 am - 8 am - Breakfast
8 am- 9 am - Another potty break
9 am - 12 pm - First nap time
12 pm- 1 pm - Another walk or some playtime
1 pm - 5:30 pm - Second nap time
5:30 pm - 6:30 pm - Head on out for another walk
7 pm - 7:30 pm - Dinner
7:30 pm - 8:30 pm - Quality time
8:30 pm - 9 pm - Potty break
9 pm - Bedtime
This might be a good sample schedule, but if you have to work away from home, it isn’t very realistic. Follow a schedule that works for you and your dog. If your dog is healthy and happy, and if your routine works for you, then absolutely stick with it!
If you’ve taken a look at your dog’s current routine and have decided to make some adjustments, we highly recommend jotting that new routine down. This will help you stick with it as you’re still getting used to it. After all, studies say that it can take an average of 66 days to form a new habit!
If you’re concerned that your dog isn’t getting enough exercise or enrichment, and you’re unable to adjust your routine, we have your solution! We know that life is so busy, and it can be difficult to fit in hour long outings multiple times a day. That’s why, at Pet Waggin’, we offer Enrichment Visits and Decompression Walks. These are great services for Long Beach dogs that are needing a little bit more stimulation in their routines.
Your Dog’s Health and Wellness Check
Once you’ve thought about and organized your dog’s daily schedule, it’s time to look at their appointments. If you don’t schedule your dog’s check-up appointments in advance, they may be due for a routine exam. If you have not yet received a reminder from your veterinarian, give them a call ahead of time, and get that appointment booked.
If your dog gets groomed regularly, when was their last appointment? Have you already booked an appointment to fight off the Spring Shed? How are their nails and ears looking? If your dog has gone from neat as a pin to looking like a scraggly urchin, it might be time to give the groomer a call.
Ideally, you keep your dog on preventatives year-round. Sometimes it can slip your mind. Do you have heartworm and flea and tick preventatives on hand? If you do, it might be time to apply them. If you don’t, make a note to pick them up at your dog’s wellness exam.
Update Your Dog’s Information
Have you moved recently or even… not so recently? If you have, did you remember to update your dog’s microchip? If your dog isn’t chipped, now is definitely the time to get that done!
How about that collar ID? Is it still attached to your dog’s collar? If it is, check and make sure you can still read the information. If it’s scratched and hard to read, it’s time to order a new one.
Are you part of the Pet Waggin’ family? If you are, it’s time to log in to your Client Portal and update your information. Add any new medications your pet may be on, update your address, and add anything that has changed for your dog that you think we should know. Frequently updating your dog and your home’s information is incredibly important. Your Client Portal is where we look for every single visit with your pet, so we rely on that information to be 100% accurate!