Pet Health – Walking Your Dog vs. Backyard Playtime

Walking your dog after a busy day at work may feel almost impossible after the long day. You may want to let her enjoy herself in the backyard, especially when she needs bathroom breaks. However, when you’re deciding between walking your dog vs backyard playtime, it is important to consider pet health and pet exercise needs.

With a fenced backyard, you don’t need to worry about your dog leaving your house premises. On the other hand, walking your dog has tons of physical and mental benefits that are crucial for her well-being. Therefore, you should try to balance the time between walking your dog and letting her enjoy herself in the backyard.

Is your backyard space sufficient for your dog’s pet health?

Your backyard may be big enough for your dog to run, providing the perfect place for her to exercise. But, according to certified applied animal behaviorist (CAAB) Dr. Pam Reid, dogs need to see different types of things when they go out of the house. They need to smell new odors, feel novel substrates as they walk, and also hear new sounds.

Smelling new scents, experiencing different walkways, and hearing sounds they’ve never heard before are all major parts in puppy socialization and pet health. The above things don’t happen if you only allow your dog to play in the backyard. The pet will eventually get bored and frustrated with the same surroundings, leading to various destructive behaviors, such as circling the perimeter of the backyard, barking ferociously, and even trying to escape from your home’s premises. Furthermore, some dogs will begin to run towards the fence and bark at people when they pass by your house. 

Dr. Ari Zabell, a popular veterinarian at the Banfield Pet Hospital in Vancouver, advises pet owners to not keep their dogs in enclosed spaces too often. By keeping your dog in an enclosed space for too long, they won’t be able to familiarize themselves with people and other pets and may become less confident.

As Latchkey Pets discusses pet health, it is important to recognize both physical pet health and mental pet health. Experts say that you can take care of your dog’s physical health by letting her play in your backyard, but walking her in the park is essential for her mental health. As a result, both balance your dog’s overall health and keep her happy.

backyard playtime

If you want your dog to enjoy her fullest in your backyard, make sure it has a secured fence. Also, don’t forget to microchip your dog to protect her from getting lost.

Pet health benefits of walking your dog

As already mentioned, walking your dog takes care of her physical and mental health. It allows her to socialize with other dogs in the park. According to dog behavior specialists, dogs are usually curious explorers, and walking them gives them enough opportunities to take a look at different things.

Walking your dog provides mental stimulation to dogs that they may not get if they run around in the backyard day after day. Sniff walks allow dogs to enjoy new territories, thus boosting their mental stimulation.

Additionally, walking your dog develops her social skills. Your dog may meet new dogs or kids at the park. The new environment will enable her to familiarize herself with a new setting. Merely running in the backyard may not provide that advantage.

Walking your dog with a leash around her neck strengthens your bond with her. It gives you a chance to train your dog instead of allowing her to walk back and forth aimlessly. 

pet health balance

Finding the right balance between playing in the backyard and walking your dog

When caring for your dog, it is essential to strike a balance between the backyard and walking your dog. Some high-energy dogs may require spending a significant amount of time, more than geriatric or low-energy dogs. You first have to figure out whether your dog enjoys running or walking or not. Finding the right balance between playing in the yard and going on walks is different for each furry friend. Take special note of which activity your dog enjoys the most. 

Speaking from her experience, Dr. Reid says that some dogs who prefer playing in the backyard also require the exposure of leash and sniff walking to familiarize themselves with the environment outside of the home’s premises.

She goes on to mention that it would be better if your dog empties her bladder and bowel before going for a walk to prevent frequent breaks. She may sniff the vegetation in and around the park that invariably contains the eliminations of other dogs. That may prompt her to urinate or defecate. If she already empties her belongings before going out, she may not want to stop even if she smells the urine of other dogs.

pet exercise needs

How often should you walk your dog?

A common question from dog owners everywhere is, “How often should I walk my dog?” 

Latchkey Pets recommends that you take your dog out for at least a 15 or 20-minute walk every day and also let her play in the backyard. If she has some underlying health problems, you should consult with the vet before taking her out for a walk.

Make sure that the harness or dog collar you choose is comfortable for her. Don’t use collars that cause her discomfort or pain while walking as they may instill fear in her mind and not allow her to freely socialize with other dogs. Dog ID Collar carries high-quality, comfortable, and customizable dog collars and leashes. Shop their collections today! 

It’s best if you use a harness if your dog pulls and tugs a lot. Using a collar would put pressure on her neck. Laura Hills, a certified dog trainer and also the owner of The Dogs Spot in North Kansas, Missouri, says that it’s wise to use harnesses that come with a clip to comfortably attach the leash. This would prevent your dog from pulling the leash frequently. Your dog will be disbalanced if she tries to pull because her back will be towards you. It’s an excellent product for training your dog.

On the other hand, a flat collar is ideal if your dog doesn’t tug or pull frequently. You can choose reflective collars and harnesses as they are easy to spot as the sun goes down. They will allow you to see your dog even in low light.

Your veterinarian is the best person to figure out the characteristics, needs, and lifestyle that your dog requires. We recommend consulting with the vet to understand more about pet health and how much time you should spend walking your dog vs backyard playtime.

How Latchkey Pets can help meet your pet exercise needs

After reading the above article on all the benefits of walking your dog and backyard playtime, you may be worried about making sure your pet gets the exercise they need, each and every day. No need to worry! Latchkey Pets provides daytime dog walking services that include walks, backyard playtime, potty break, water check, and a delicious treat for your four-legged best friend! Find a dog walker near you today and make pet health a priority! 

walking your dog for pet health
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Jeanna Ruehter