It’s important for any dog pawrent to know what to do when you can’t walk your dog. Why? Dogs are pretty much reliant on us to live a happy, healthy life. After all, they can’t walk themselves. But sometimes, you just can’t give your dog the attention they need.
A hefty 39% of British dog parents admit that a lack of time stops them from getting out with their pooch. In many cases this is down to work commitments, with others missing out because of illness or injury – or even just having time away when they need someone else to walk their dog.
Whether you’re injured, going away or just can’t find the time, we’re here to fill you in on what to do when you can’t walk your dog.
Benefits of walking your dog
First of all, every pawrent should understand how important regular walks are for our pups. After all, they’re the reason it’s so important to know what to do when you can’t walk your dog. Here are some of the biggest benefits.
Just like us humans, dogs need exercise to keep fit and maintain a healthy weight. Pet obesity is an alarming trend in the UK, with 81% of vets reporting an increase in the number of overweight animals. Not only will regular walks help your pooch shed those extra pounds, it can also strengthen respiratory and circulation systems, as well as aiding digestion.
Regular walks don’t just have an abundance of physical benefits, there are plenty of psychological benefits too. Dogs are naturally curious beings. With so many smells, sights and sounds in the great outdoors, a walk provides plenty of mental stimulation. It’s also a great opportunity to give your pooch some positive love and attention, while spending time doing what they love most – running, walking and exploring.
Walks are the perfect chance to check that your pooch is sticking to their training. There will be plenty of times when their obedience will be tested, whether it’s calling them back or interacting with other dogs. Take a few small treats with you when they’re still learning and reward them constantly with praise and cuddles whenever they behave appropriately.
Just like us humans, most dogs have a calm state of mind after a walk. As the common saying goes, a tired dog is a happy dog. Most pooches are extremely active by nature and being cooped up in a house all day is detrimental to their health. Without enough exercise, you may notice your pup starting to act up for extra attention.
To learn more about the importance of daily dog walks, be sure to check out our post on how much exercise your dog needs every day.
What to do when you can’t walk your dog
As loving, responsible pooch parents, we all want to make sure our dogs are living happy and healthy lives. And getting out for regular walks is just one part of that. But sometimes life can be unexpected, and things can come between your quality walking time with your pooch. Whether you’re off on holiday, working long hours or have a chronic injury there are lots of options to ensure your pooch is getting the mental and physical stimulation they need, from dog walkers to doggy day care.
If you’re at work or away on the weekends, a local dog walker is a great way to make sure your pooch is getting the attention they need. Even if you’re not working long hours, but you cannot get out of the house as often as you’d like because you’re ill or injured, a dog walker can be a life saver for you and your pup.
How much do dog walkers charge?
The cost of hiring a dog walker is dependent on a number of factors. Do you have multiple dogs that need walking? Are they travelling from out of your local area? How many walks per day or week do you require? All of these factors will impact how much your dog walker will charge.
Doggy day care
If you’re out of the house for long periods of time each day, a doggy day care service may be the best option for you. They provide your pooch with the company, walks and daily affection they need. From local dog sitters to a dedicated day care centre, you have a number of options when it comes to choosing a day care for your doggy.
How much is doggy day care?
Similar to dog walking, doggy day care costs can vary significantly anywhere from £15 a day to upwards of £30 per day. The cost depends on a number of factors, primarily the services they provide and how many dogs you are enrolling. Some doggy day care centres may even offer multi-dog discounts, so be sure to shop around. In some cases, it can work out cheaper than dog walking and will involve 1-2 walks as part of the service, so it’s well worth doing a full review of what’s best for your dog.
How to find a dog walker?
Your dog means everything to you (and you to them!), so it’s important you’re happy with your dog walker or sitter. You may be tempted to opt with your local dog walker and simply go for their pricing out of convenience. But you can find a much better deal by shopping around. Using sites like Tailster, you can find a local, reliable professional dog walker, or dog sitter in no time. On Tailster, all featured dog walkers have been thoroughly vetted, so you can have complete peace of mind that your pooch is in good hands.
And if you want to know what your pup is up to without you, Tailster offers GPS tracking, photos and maps so you can see exactly where your dog has been, how long they’ve been out for and how much they are enjoying themselves.
If you fancy giving these guys a try, we’ve asked for a cheeky discount. Use this link to get £10 off your first walk. You’re welcome!
Free options for dog care
Dog walkers are a great way to make sure your pups are getting their daily dose of exercise. However, the solution could be closer to home than you think. Friendly neighbours can be life savers when it comes to looking after your pooch. Whether they spend the whole day with them, pop in every hour or so or take them for a couple of long walks each day, your pup will benefit tremendously from the company.
In any case, choose someone you’re comfortable with, that your pooch likes and who you trust to go in and out of your home. Many of us may feel reluctant to hand over the lead to someone else and miss out on valuable bonding time with our dogs. But if they can enjoy being outdoors, live a happier and healthier life and still make the most of the time you do spend together, your job as a pawrent is complete.
What about holidays?
We’ve covered what to do if you can’t walk your dog regularly, but what about those one-off trips? If you’re heading off on your jollies and can’t take your pooch with you, the last thing you want to do is spend your holiday worrying about their safety. While your dog sitter may be willing to take care of your pooch for a few days, you may occasionally need to look elsewhere.
Luxury kennels and dog hotels offer you the peace of mind you need when enjoying a trip away. With the right kennel or dog hotel, your dog will be able to roam free in spacious gardens, get plenty of rest at night and even be pampered during the day with “doggy spas”.
If you have to be away from your pooch for a few days, or even a couple of weeks, make sure they’re somewhere safe, fun and trusted. They’ll have the time of their life, while you can make the most of your holiday without concerns of your dog’s safety.
Or, if the holiday permits, you could even consider taking your dog abroad.
Keeping your dog entertained at home
There’s lots of ways for you to bond with you dog when you get home. If they’re still full of beans at the end of a long, here are some fun ways to keep your dog happy and healthy at home…
Feeding time = play time
Putting some of your pooch’s favourite food in a feeding toy instead of a bowl is a great way to get them to burn off a few calories. It can also make feeding time more exciting, or work as a great way to reward your dog with treats while still giving them a mini workout.
Hide and seek
Hide and seek isn’t just for children. Your dogs will love playing too. Have someone keep hold of your pooch while you go off and hide. Then call their name and your beloved pup will start to search the house for you. Once they find you, be sure to reward them with cuddles, treats or toys.
Take the stairs
One of the best ways to tire out an over excited puppy is to make the most of what you already have. Walking up the stairs can be a tiring activity for both humans and dogs. But, for your pooch, it can also be exciting. Send a friend up the stairs and take it in turns shouting your dog. They’ll soon have burnt off some excess energy.
If you live alone and struggle to reach the top of the stairs, try throwing a ball or toy to the top and turning it into a game of fetch.
Indoors fetch or tug of war
This is something we do every evening with Smudge to keep him entertained. Occasionally even Boo will get involved too! The back-and-forth, fast-paced nature of the same will tire your pooch out in no time. You can sit back and relax after a long day at work, while enjoying the special bonding time it brings with your dog.
Remember, make sure you’re in a safe space and opt for an indoor-safe ball or a dog-friendly rope chew. Or you may have to explain your way out of a broken TV or window!
Stay healthy with Scrumbles
Walking your dog regularly is one of the fundamental responsibilities we have as pawrents. Not only can you help to maintain their health and keep them happy, you will increase your own quality of life with fresh air, friendly faces and quality bonding time with your pooch.
At Scrumbles, as well as knowing what to do when you can’t walk your dog, we think it’s vitally important to give your dog the right food. All our recipes are tailored to dogs’ nutritional needs, with healthy, natural ingredients, giving them all the energy they need to tackle big daily walks.