It’s no secret that pet ownership can be a bit tricky. You have to consider many variables as your pup adjusts to life with you. That’s not always easy! Fortunately, there’s a simple way to keep your dog happy and healthy. A dedicated schedule for playtime, meals and more can create more structure for your furry friend to enjoy.
Here are a few ways to set your dog on an effective daily routine.
1. Set a Consistent Bedtime
Your pup should sleep at a similar time every night. It’s important to note that most dogs have varied sleep schedules. A dachshund may need more or less rest than a golden retriever. A consistent bedtime can ensure that they’re well-rested when they wake up. You could put your dog to bed when you go to sleep, but it’s also smart to give them their own bedtime if you want.
You can expect a new puppy to sleep for up to 16 hours a day. Therefore, it’s also essential to set specific naptimes. Make sure that your dog’s crate isn’t near any loud areas. They should be able to rest without interruptions. If they skip a nap and become too tired, it’s likely that they won’t go to bed when you intended.
2. Give Food Twice Daily
Your dog’s food schedule depends on their age. A puppy who’s anywhere from six to 12 weeks old should eat four meals per day. As they age, it’s best to decrease their mealtimes. At six months, you may be able to decrease to two meals daily. This part also depends on your dog’s size. Larger pups need more food than smaller pups. All dogs should eat only two meals per day after they turn one.
A consistent mealtime can make a significant difference for your dog’s health. You should feed your dog at the same time each day so that they’re well behaved. Don’t leave any food out for longer than 10 to 15 minutes. Feel free to use treats for training purposes — but that should be the only other food that they eat. Otherwise, it’s easy for them to gain unnecessary weight.
You can help your kids learn about responsibility if you include them for duties like mealtime. Your kids can write down their specific tasks so that it’s easier for them to keep track. For example, one child can feed the dog before school while another child takes over before dinner. This effort can teach a few valuable lessons — and give you more time to complete other chores.
3. Maintain Regular Potty Breaks
Your dog should go outside for a potty break consistently. A regular bathroom schedule can help train your pup, too. This way, you won’t have to deal with any messes. While you can’t expect your dog to always wait to be let outside, it’s more likely that they’ll avoid your carpet if you stick to a routine. An adult dog may only need to take a potty break three to five times a day. You’ll find that puppies should go once every two hours or so.
You can let your dog outside when you wake up, after mealtimes and before bed. If they’re still young, it’s essential to set an alarm so that you can take them outside after bed. A quick morning and night walk can double as both exercise and potty time. This schedule should ensure that your furry friend can relieve themselves without any issues.
4. Incorporate Enough Daily Exercise
All dogs should have enough playtime throughout the day. Whether you want to toss a ball around the yard or take them to a local park, they must leave the house every so often. Some dogs don’t need much exercise, so it’s essential to check with your veterinarian if you have any questions. That said, most pups need at least 30 to 60 minutes outside a day.
You can incorporate these exercise sessions around lunchtime. If your family won’t be home throughout the day, it’s important to go on a walk when you wake up so that they can burn some energy. Otherwise, they’ll be rambunctious. You can also ask your kids to play with the dog whenever they return from school or activities. Don’t leave playtime for late at night if you want your dog to go to sleep soundly.
A regular playtime can help your pup manage their energy better. If they’ve had enough exercise, it’ll be easier for them to eat their dinner and go to sleep without any problems. This effort also contributes positively to their mental and physical health.
Be Patient With Your Dog as You Work Together
Whether you’ve adopted a new puppy or an older dog, it’s essential to remain patient as you develop this schedule. If they’ve never lived with a routine before, it won’t always be easy for them. Make sure to stay consistent and strict — but it’s okay to let your pup off the hook every so often. It’s necessary to have a little give and take.