Is my puppy lonely when I leave all day to go to work? Should I hire a dog walker to come over during the afternoon to give Benji some exercise and social contact? For a long time, I grappled with these questions with my dog, just as many other dog owners have wrestled with the same issue.
It’s often hard to know exactly how your pet feels when you’re away. Each pet and each situation is different, so there’s no one right answer for everybody. If you’re on the fence about whether to bring in some outside help, keep these considerations in mind.
All dogs need exercise, but just how much is enough? With the dog obesity rate in the US at 54%, it’s important to know what kind of exercise your dog needs to maintain optimum health. PetMD recommends that as a general guideline, dogs get between 30 minutes to 2 hours of activity each day. Task-oriented breeds like the hunting, herding or working dogs need 30 minutes of stronger exercise, plus 1-2 hours of general activity.
Knowing your dog’s exercise needs based on breed and unique personality will help you determine whether they’re getting as much exercise as possible. If you are still unsure, discuss your dog’s exercise regimen with your vet to come up with a healthy plan.
Frequent dog walks help maintain physical stamina and can lead to a longer life. They also offer a more stimulating daily experience. When considering your unique arrangement, ask yourself if the amount of time you’re away is comfortable for your pet.
Does your dog get into things if you’re away too long, or seem depressed when you come home? Does your dog need lots of attention to feel secure? If so, you may want to try a dog walker for a while and see how things work out.
If you’re away a lot, is a doggy door accessible if nature calls, or an outdoor dog bed for naps? These important quality of life questions can help you confidently assess whether your dog’s physical and social needs are fully being met.
When considering dog-walking services, cost may play a major role in service options. Fortunately, many companies tailor services to family needs, which can create a good balance between quality of care and costs involved.
According to Angie’s list, pet owners can expect to pay around $15-$20 a day for a 15-20 minute walk. This is fairly standard across the board. Ultimately, however, the type of dog walking service, cost of living in your area, and your pet service needs all determine exactly how much you will pay in the end.
Remember, your decision ultimately should be one that fits your pet’s requirements, both mental and physical, while also working well with your budget and lifestyle. If you do opt on a service, don’t go on price or dog walker personality alone. Check references, ask friends for company referrals, and do a test run before signing any contracts, to ensure you are doing all you can to make the dog walking experience a happy, healthy one, for everyone involved.