How Much Time Should a Dog Spend Outside?

How Much Time Should a Dog Spend Outside?

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If you are a dog owner, chances are that you and your canine companion like to enjoy a sunny day outdoors. No matter what kind of dog you have, and whether you live in an apartment or a home, in the city or the country, most dogs do enjoy being outdoors.  This article will look at how much time a dog should spend outside.

How much time should a dog spend outside? The answer to this question depends on the weather and the breed, age, hair coat length, and general health of your dog. Most dogs prefer to spend some time in the outdoors, whether it’s hiking, walking, playing, or just enjoying the sights and sounds of nature. It’s recommended that dogs spend at least one-half hour per day outside, but this depends on the dog and other factors.

What factors determine how much time a dog should spend outside?

Several things affect how much time a dog should spend in the great outdoors, and these are listed below.

Breed

The breed of your dog will determine how much time is spent outdoors. For example, active breeds such as Australian Shepherds, Labrador Retrievers, and Jack Russell Terriers were bred to be energetic, and they may need more exercise and outdoor time than other breeds such as a French Bulldog or a Bassett Hound.

If you have an active breed, you may want to schedule at least an hour or more of outdoor exercise time, whether it’s hiking, walking, or playing a game of fetch. If you have a more mellow breed, 30 minutes per day should be more than adequate.

Hair coat

The type, length, and thickness of a dog’s hair coat will also determine how much time can be spent outdoors. For example, a Siberian Husky has a double coat that consists of a top coat and an undercoat. Huskies are a working breed developed to weather cold climates, and because of their double coat, they can be quite comfortable outdoors in the winter.

Contrast this breed with a Mexican Hairless which has no hair, or a Miniature Pinscher, which has a very short hair coat. Breeds that have short hair will not be as comfortable in colder climates as the Husky but might be perfectly happy spending more time outdoors in warmer climates.

Age

The age of your dog is also a factor because age affects activity level and the ability to regulate body temperature. Most senior dogs over seven years of age are naturally not as active as younger dogs, and as a result, these “oldsters” probably won’t want to spend as much time outside. However, it’s not uncommon for an older dog to enjoy basking in the shade or the sun on a nice day.

If you have a senior dog, you should also consider that older animals have a harder time regulating their body temperature, especially in cold weather. This is because senior dogs do not have as effective blood circulation as younger dogs. Also, senior dogs who do not have thick double coats will find it more difficult to be comfortable in cold weather, however, there are plenty of things you can do to keep your geriatric canine warm and cozy. 

Weather

The weather is also an important consideration when thinking about how much time your pooch should spend outdoors. As mentioned above, Siberian Huskies and other breeds who have thick double coats have no problem spending hours out in the cold, especially if they are active and exercising.

However, if you have a short-haired Daschund or a short-haired Chihuahua, these little guys might need a sweater or a coat to help them keep warm in cold weather. If you live in warmer climes, a short-haired dog may be more comfortable than a Husky, and they may have no problem dealing with the heat. But, it is important to be cautious when exercising your dog in warmer weather.

On very hot days, limit exercise to early morning or evening hours, and if your dog has white-colored ears or nose, be aware that he is more susceptible to skin cancer. Also be aware that if you have a short-nosed breed such as a Pug, they may have difficulty breathing in hot weather. Also, asphalt can get very hot and can potentially burn your pet’s paws, so try to walk your dog on grass or other non-asphalt areas if possible. And always remember to have plenty of water with you to prevent your pet from becoming dehydrated.

Humidity

Humidity is also a consideration. Dogs pant to evaporate moisture from their lungs, which can take heat away from their bodies. But, if the humidity is too high, dogs cannot effectively cool themselves and their internal temperature can increase to dangerous levels very quickly. If your dog’s temperature is over 103 degrees, he is too hot and can be at risk of heatstroke.

Overall health

Health is another factor in determining how much time your dog should spend outside. If you have a healthy, active dog, then he could spend hours and hours outside playing, running, and hiking. However, if you have a dog who has a medical issue, such as diabetes or an immune-mediated condition, this can affect activity levels, and how much time can be spent outdoors.

For example, diabetic dogs tend to drink quite a bit, and over-exercising in hot weather can exacerbate their thirst and potentially cause dehydration. Also, if you have a senior dog with joint issues or arthritis, he may not want to spend a lot of time in the outdoors and may be more comfortable lounging on the couch.

FAQs

How much time should a dog spend in a crate?

If you crate your dog, most dogs can be crated for about 8 hours. However, if your dog is a young puppy, or a senior dog who needs more potty breaks during the day, 8 hours may seem a bit too long to be confined in a crate. Although dogs are denning animals, and can be comfortable crated, it is important to consider the breed, activity level, overall health and age of your dog. It may not be appropriate to crate certain breeds, especially active breeds, for long periods.

How much time should I spend with my puppy per day?

Puppies need active playtime and socialization, and if possible, try to spend as much time playing with your puppy as possible. In socializing your pup, try to take him to places where puppies are allowed, such as hardware stores, or outdoor cafes (but first ensure your youngster is fully vaccinated first). Get your pup used to different environments, people and other dogs, and make sure he gets plenty of exercise and fresh air.

Is it bad to leave your dog outside all day?

The answer to this question depends on the dog and the weather. If you live in a warm climate, leaving your short-haired dog outside may not be a bad thing, as long as he has access to plenty of fresh water and shade. In contrast, if you have a short-haired dog, and you live in a cold climate, leaving your pup outside all day may not be a good idea. It’s important to consider the weather and the characteristics of your dog.

Final Thoughts

Determining how much time your dog should spend outside depends on many factors, such as breed, weather, age, hair coat, and the overall health of your dog. In any event, dogs love spending time outdoors, and at least 30 minutes per day is recommended for most dogs, but this of course depends on the dog’s activity level, age, and exercise requirements. One thing is for sure, dogs enjoy spending time with their owners whether it’s indoors or outdoors.