2 min read

Dog Sitting 101: Should I Walk My Dog As Soon As They Wake Up?


Written by Adam Lee-Smith

Veterinary reviewed by:

Published: 02/03/2022, edited: 11/10/2022

Walkies — they're the best part of a pup's day (apart from dinnertime). Many athletic breeds, like Border Collies and Labradors, need several walks a day to stay mentally and physically healthy. 

If you're new to dog sitting, you might be unsure when's best to take your canine client for their first walk of the day. Do you take them as soon as they roll out of bed? Or do you wait until after they've had breakfast? Keep reading to find out!

Should I walk my dog as soon as they wake up?

Yes, you should walk a dog as soon as they wake up. Like humans, dogs often need to use the bathroom first thing in the morning. Taking a dog for a walk first thing in the morning prevents accidents, especially among senior dogs who have less control over their bowels or bladder. 

Dogs usually have pent-up energy from sleeping all night and will be itching to run around and play. Taking a dog for a walk in the morning allows them to burn off some extra energy, resulting in a more relaxed and happier dog for the rest of the morning.

Depending on the local climate and the time of year, walking a dog in the morning could be beneficial or detrimental. For example, if you live in Florida, you'll want to walk your dog early in the morning to avoid the scorching midday sun. 

On the other hand, if it's winter in Michigan, you might want to wait until the warmest part of the day to walk a woofer. Senior dogs and breeds that are used to warm weather don't deal with freezing temperatures well and could become sick. 

Unsure of the best course of action? Talk to the pet parent about your canine client's schedule to see how they would usually go for walkies. Pet parents will often inform you of the best time to walk their dog. Dogs love routine and sticking to a schedule will result in a happier hound.

person wearing black boots holding leash and walking brown dog

Should you walk your dog before or after breakfast?

You should wait for about two hours after breakfast to take a dog on a long walk. You should take a dog outside for a walk around the block briefly to do their business, but wait a while after breakfast for a long walk. Walking a dog straight after a meal can cause an upset stomach. 

Some dog breeds are notoriously bad at digesting food. Many large breeds, including Great Danes, Poodles, and German Shepherds, are prone to developing bloat. For example, more than 40% of Great Danes will develop bloat at some point during their lifetime. 

Bloat is caused by gas and fluid becoming trapped in a dog's stomach. Bloat can develop quickly into gastric dilatation volvulus (GDV), a life-threatening condition that requires immediate veterinary treatment and surgery. 

So, you should take your canine client for a brief walk to relieve themselves, but wait a couple of hours after a meal to avoid an upset stomach and bloat.

New to the "woofderful" world of pet sitting? Check out our handy guide to pet sitting safety!

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