What Happens if You Don’t Walk Your Dog? Dog Walking 101

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Author: Jacob Kay

Have you ever experienced a dilemma where you didn’t get time to walk your dog? Well, many paw parents have a busy schedule and they can’t walk their dogs 🐢 every day. But, what happens if you don’t walk a dog?

what happens if you don't walk a dog?

Walking your dog is not only a fun and rewarding activity, but also very vital for your dog’s health and well-being. Dogs need regular exercise to stay fit, happy and mentally stimulated. However, many dog owners neglect this important aspect of their pet’s care, either due to lack of time or awareness. Let us explore the consequences of not walking your dog 🐢 as well as some benefits of walking your dog.

Benefits of Walking a Dog

Dog owners generally enjoy everyday walks with their dogs. They get to spend quality time with the dog and have fun together. These walks help to socialize your dog πŸ• and strengthen the bond between you and your furry companion.

But, apart from these, walking has many physical as well as mental improvement that benefits the dog. Obesity in pets is associated with a number of medical complaints including osteoarthritis, cardiovascular disease, liver disease and insulin resistance. However, regular walking 🐾 can help get rid of these issues.

Some benefits of walking your dog are:

  • Weight Management:

Obesity is a major problem in dogs, especially in breeds like Golden Retriever, Labrador Retriever, Pug and Cocker Spaniel. According to the APOP, 59% of dogs were classified as overweight in the year 2022.

Obesity leads to many health issues like arthritis, pancreatitis, kidney disease and decreased life quality. Thus, to keep your pup healthy and maintain his weight, regular exercise is a must and walking is a good way to burn the excess fat and calories while being in a proper routine.

  • Joint Health

From small puppies to senior dogs, every other needs to work their joints. Just like us, a dog’s bones 🦴 and muscles become stiff if not exercised regularly. Therefore, it is mandatory to walk regularly 🐾 and keep the joints in motion.

happy dog on leash

Mobility also helps keep muscles active, preventing them from weakening. Moreover, osteoarthritis occurs when the cartilage that cushions the joints slowly breaks down, leading to pain, swelling and decreased mobility.[1]

  • Digestive and Urinary Health

Walking provides an opportunity for a dog to relieve itself. By following a regular walking schedule, the dogs can adjust their routine to empty πŸ’© themselves. Walking also helps regulate the digestive tract as it can lead to better digestion of food.

  • Improves the health of the owner

Walking your dog is not only beneficial for your Fido but also contributes to improving your overall health. Benefits include improved cardiovascular fitness, lower blood pressure, stronger muscles and bones and decreased stress.[2]

Along with this, walking also improves the social, emotional and personal health of a dog. With so many benefits to offer, it becomes paramount to walk your dog 🐢 regularly. However, you might wonder sometimes what happens if you don’t walk your dog. Well, that’s a good question to consider!

Also before heading out on a walk, make sure you are equipped with best dog walking gloves for optimal comfort and control of the leash.

What Happens if You Don’t Walk Your Dog?

Owning an active dog is like a blessing. You can encounter the most silly plays with him in fun activities. Playing with your Fido is not enough for his personal health. The more active the dog, the more exercise πŸ‹οΈβ€β™‚οΈ he needs. Thus, it is important to fulfil his needs by walking him regularly. But, what happens if you don’t walk your dog?

Become Lethargic

Have you ever felt moodless and lethargic during rainy days? Yes, of course! This is because your body does not get enough exercise during monsoon. The same goes for dogs. If they do not get regular walking 🐾 sessions, they will be lazy.

Being lethargic will diminish their level of activeness and eventually your dog will be a couch potato 😴. Your dog needs motivation to go out for a walk with a person it adores (Yes, that’s you!). Thus, you should care for your dog and give time from your busy life to your Fido.

Negative Behaviour

Dogs get bored too easily. You might have experienced aggressive behaviour like barking, scratching or chewing his on to relieve their boredom. This happens especially, when the owners leave their dog πŸ• alone without providing stimulation. Behavioural problems, and especially destructive behaviour, are commonly a result of not getting enough exercise, confirms Sandra C. Mitchell at petMD.

negative behaviour in dogs

Dogs need mental stimulation to keep themselves engaged. Walking is a good way to help your dog 🐢 with that. It prevents the growth of unnecessary behaviour in them. Taking your dog out not only keeps them entertained but they can release some energy during this time.

Resist New Environment

Dogs often love sniffing around while walking. They actually get to know about their surrounding; it’s smell, sight and sound. This helps them to feel comfortable while moving to a completely new environment.

If your dog is kept in the house all the time, then he won’t get an opportunity to explore. Walking them regularly helps the dog fight stress, anxiety and fear of exploring which eventually eases the dog for the environmental 🏑 shift.

Anti-Social Tendencies

Another advantage of walking is to see and maybe even meet other dogs. This can be a great chance for you to teach him socialization. New people, other dogs and animals and some on-road triggers like a cycle or a car will altogether build up a suitable environment for your dog.

walking a dog for socialization

This will help your dog 🐢 to learn certain behaviours like how to act around others. Socialization is also another opportunity to proof the training and commands that you have been practising at home.[3]

Without regular walks, some dogs may become reactive to other dogs, people or stimuli when out walking. Learning proper techniques for how to walk a reactive dog can help socialize them.

Loss of Bonding process

Walking is the best way to improve the bonding between you and your furry friend. Your dog can be with you as well as get exercise simultaneously. Walking also proves the trust between the both. Thus, you might miss out on the love and bonding moment if you don’t walk 🐾 your dog.

How Often Should You Walk a Dog?

While walking your dog, it is important to know how much to walk your Fido. Not all dogs are the same. As the diet, shape, size and activity level of dogs vary, so do the exercise they need. Depending on the age, breed and medical condition the duration and frequency of walk varies.

Small puppies need small walks thrice a day whereas senior dogs need a walk for more duration twice a day. When it comes to Adult dogs, are more capable and active and need 30-45 minutes of walking depending on their breed.

Breeds with short legs need short walks as compared to those with long legs. As a general rule, you should start walking your dog 🐢 twice a day for 15-20 minutes and gradually increase the time. If your dog does not show any signs of tiredness, he is good to go.

However, during very hot summer days, it’s important to consider when is it too hot to walk your dog.


  1. How long can a dog go without a walk?

    No dog of any age should be made to wait longer than 8 hours! Different breeds have different social needs. Some working breeds and guard dogs can go without walking for 10-12 hours.

  2. Do dogs need walks every day?

    Most dogs need to be walked at least once each day. This is important for their bladder and bowel management. However, some dogs may require walks twice or even thrice a day. The breed of dog you have, as well as its level of fitness and age, will also determine how long and how vigorous your walk should be.

  3. Is it OK that I don’t walk my dog?

    In any case, it is OK to skip the long daily walk every once in a while. On days without walks, we just need to make sure that the dog gets enough opportunities to relieve itself. Adjust the frequency of these trips to your dog’s age and health status.

  4. What happens if you don’t walk your dog?

    Lack of enough exercise will lead the dog to weight gain and obesity. Further, it causes various problems like arthritis, pancreatitis and kidney problems. It can also affect the mental health of your dog causing negative behavioural changes like aggression and anxiety.

Final Thought

What happens if you don’t walk your dog? Not walking your dog can have serious negative effects on your dog’s physical and mental health, as well as your relationship with your dog.

Walking your dog regularly can help prevent or reduce health problems like obesity, hypertension, diabetes and liver disease. It is a way to show your attention and reinforce your relationship with your dog. If you love your dog, you should make walking a priority in your daily routine. Your dog will thank you for it! 🐢


  1. Staff, A. (2022). How Joint Supplements Help Dogs with Arthritis. American Kennel Club.
  2. Harvard Health. (2015, September 1). Having a dog can help your heart β€” literally from Harvard Medical School.
  3. The teenage years: Puppy-proofing and training tips. (2023, May 5). Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine from Cornell University.
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Jacob Kay
Jacob Kay is a Veterinary Advisor and Editor at WWD. He’s also a dog lover and has two pet dogs of his own. He has extensive knowledge in the field of veterinary medicine and is always happy to share his insights with others.

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