Why Routine Is Important for Dogs

Chihuahua by dog bowl and alarm clock waiting for feeding routine
(Photo Credit: David Izquierdo / 500px / Getty Images)

For many pet parents, weekdays are defined by routine. It’s an important part of the organization of life and the pursuit of whatever goals you have, especially when you have your dog’s needs to worry about, too.

Routine helps people foster daily practices that get them closer to what they want or who they want to be. They can help establish good habits while eliminating bad ones.

So, if routine is important for humans, imagine the positive impact it has on pooches as well! We’re going to break down the reasons why routine is important for dogs

Why routine matters for your dog

Dogs are creatures of habit. The more they’re able to have a general understanding of an established routine or schedule, the more comfortable they are with their environment.

Jennifer Coates, a veterinarian based in Fort Collins, Colorado, says, “Dogs thrive on a routine, in large part because they don’t have to worry about what is, or is not, about to happen next.”

If your dog’s day has constant changes, then it could lead to anxiety in your dog. Not knowing when their next meal will come or when they can go outside to relieve themselves can cause their stress levels to go up.

Jeb Cadwell, a certified canine behavior consultant in California, says, “A routine establishes a predictable stream of information about the primary resources. This information reduces stress and opens the door for the dog to move on to enjoying life beyond mere survival.”

Another reason routine is important for your pup is that it helps to housetrain them. Having a consistent routine will help them recognize when and where they can go potty. This will also prevent accidents inside your home if they stick to a regular schedule and know how soon they’ll be able to go outside.

Routine can also help your dog with training in general. Teaching them a new trick or behavior requires consistency. A dog who receives the same cues over and over again will eventually learn the trick or behavior taught to them.

Routine keeps your dog healthier

Establishing a set feeding schedule will ensure your dog’s metabolism is stable and will help prevent overeating and weight gain.

Some dogs need several smaller-serving meals a day while others only need to eat larger meals once or twice, maybe with some treats in between. Ask your vet what’s most appropriate for your dog. Making sure they have a comfortable and safe place to eat is also recommended.

Taking them out at least twice a day — preferably more — is important for your dog so they can not only get some needed exercise, but also so they can go potty. It can also prevent health problems associated with holding their bladder for too long.

If you’re a pet parent who works the whole day, your pup might be at home on their own. If you have time, adding five to 10 minutes of some quick play before you leave or when you get home will help quell their separation anxiety and loneliness.

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