Local to the Davis area and want one-on-one dog training and pet care?

Dog Training Survival Guide
Dog Training Survival Guide

Walking your dog is a key part of being a dog parent but knowing the best time to walk your dog might be something you may not have thought about or even considered.

Going on walks with your dog is a great way to get exercise and keep you both healthy.

Furthermore, going on walks with your dog is a great way to spot if your dog has a limp or upset stomach. This will help you take action to keep your dog healthy.

As a pet care professional and dog trainer I’m going to discuss some things to consider when going on your next walk with your dog. This can help you decide the best time to walk your dog, as it’s not a one-size-fits-all approach.

Factors to Consider When Deciding the Best Time to Walk Your Dog

The best time to walk your dog will depend on various factors including weather conditions, your dog’s age, size and breed, your schedule, your dog’s activity level, and behavior, as well as your neighborhood.

Walking Your Dog in the Morning

Going on a morning walk can be beneficial, particularly in the summer, as it is cooler. You won’t have to worry about climbing temperatures as much if you get out earlier in the morning.

Also getting out earlier in the day gives you as a dog owner a boost of fresh air, and is a nice way to start your day. Other weather conditions like rain or snow may affect a morning walk but that could mean just adjusting how long you go on your morning walk.

Walking your dog in the morning can help you avoid health hazards as well as some breeds fare better in the cooler weather. You can also avoid accidents as it’s bright enough for you to see if your dog grabs something during your walk.

To optimize your dog walking experience, make sure you check your schedule the night before and get organized for it, so you don’t feel pressed for time on your walk.

Another thing you may experience with your dog when walking your dog in the morning is lots of energy. That energy can mean lots of excitement to get out that front door. So be prepared for that as well.

With all that excitement, your dog will start pulling on the leash. Make sure in your hurry to get out the front door that you do not intentionally reinforce the pulling.

Also, depending on your dog’s age, you may want to schedule walking your dog first thing in the morning. That’s because puppies have tinier bladders, while senior dogs have urinary incontinence ie weak bladders.

As a result, they are more prone to accidents if they’re not given the opportunity to go first thing in the morning. Going on a walk that is at least 30 minutes should give your dog plenty of opportunities to go to the bathroom.

On the other hand, if you have time constraints in the morning, for example, work shifts that start quite early, walking your dog in the morning may not be feasible. Also depending on where you live, you may encounter a lot of wildlife in the morning which would be a distraction/hazard when walking your dog in the morning.

Ready to have a great experience at the dog park?

  • Learn what your dog may or may not like about the dog park
  • What to bring with you
  • How long you should stay
  • The mistake you might be unknowingly making that’s affecting your dog’s experience
  • The dog park app I use and recommend
We won’t send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time. Powered by ConvertKit

Walking Your Dog in the Afternoon

Going on a walk in the afternoon can be great to give your dog another chance to go to the bathroom and get some exercise. It’s also another opportunity to walk your dog if you did not have time in the morning.

One thing that can affect walking your dog in the afternoon is the weather. For instance, if you live in a place with hot summers this will impact when/if you walk your dog in the afternoon, how long, and where to go safely with your dog.

Dogs that are brachycephalic breeds like Boston terriers, bulldogs, or boxers to name a few, have a relatively broad, short skull that can impact their ability to breathe well. This makes them especially vulnerable to heat stroke so you will need to make a judgment call if, and for how long to walk your dog in the summer afternoon.

Even if you don’t have a brachycephalic breed, you may still have to adjust how long you go on a walk as other breeds can get overheated too.

Something to keep in mind if you’re walking your dog during your lunch break is that you may not have as much time as you’d like to go on a good walk with your dog and get back to work on time.

If that is the case, don’t sweat it. Just make sure you get your dog on a walk to go to the bathroom and maybe mix it up with some play inside your house.

Other things that may impact your afternoon walk could be more people, noises, cars, dogs, as well as other animals that live in your area. This can make it more challenging to walk your dog in the afternoon.

Also, if your dog gets stressed or fearful of certain things in this busy environment then having an encounter with them could delay your dog going to the bathroom.

Walking Your Dog in the Evening

The evening is usually from 4 pm – 6 pm. Going on an evening walk can mean there are fewer people, dogs, other animals, noises, or other distractions that could affect your walk.

Another factor that may make walking your dog in the evening beneficial is the weather, particularly in the summer. By evening, the weather has cooled down making it more comfortable for you and your dog.

Walking your dog in the evening provides a great opportunity to go on a longer walk especially if you were pressed for time when walking your dog in the morning and/or afternoon. Walking your dog in the evening is also a nice way to end the day and decompress.

As summer ends, the days are shorter so it may end up becoming dark in the evening. So the issue you may face with it getting dark is not seeing everything that could come your way unexpectedly, like a black dog with no lighted collar off-leash.

If you have a dog that is fearful of other dogs that could lead to a stressful situation and delay your dog wanting to go the bathroom if he/she is stressed out.

Wearing a head lamp would be a great thing to do for your safety as well. Wearing a headlamp would also help you be able to notice other people and animals in order to make better choices and not let your dog see them.

I like this headlamp as it is LED which means you can charge it instead of having to buy batteries. As a pet care professional and dog trainer, I look for things that are easy to use when it comes to working with dogs and making recommendations for my dog-training clients.

I would avoid walking in parks in the evening as I have learned that the evening can mean different things/situations in a park than what you might expect during the daytime.

Safety for you and your dog is paramount and enjoying your walks together is the goal.

Encountering wildlife in the evenings is another potential issue that can impact your walks especially if you know there are a lot of different wildlife that come out in the evening in your area.

Walking Your Dog at Night

Sometimes you might want to take your dog on a walk late, for instance, at 9 pm or later.

For instance, maybe you fed your dog later than you had expected or you are worried about an accident. I can totally understand wanting to give your dog another chance to go on a walk and make sure everything goes well when you and your dog go to bed.

Also, at night there are very few distractions if you’re worried about your dog getting distracted during your walk. And the weather is much cooler, so it’s a good time for brachycephalic breeds to go on their last walk during the summer.

When walking your dog at night, you want to pay particular attention to your safety and keep this walk short. There is no reason to go for a long walk at night depending on how many other walks you have had during the day. It is okay to keep this one simple and even walk just in front of your home and head back inside.

Keep that head lamp on and if you live in a neighborhood that has wildlife then that is another reason to keep that walk short in the nighttime.


Can I Walk my Dog at 5 am?

Yes, if that is the best time for you to go on a walk or if you have a puppy (fully vaccinated) who needs more opportunities to go to the bathroom.

You would be the best person to know if your neighborhood is safe to walk this early in the morning. I would suggest having a headlamp and your cell phone on you just in case.

What Time of Day is it Safest to Walk Your Dog?

It’s safest to walk your dog when there’s daylight outside as that gives you the advantage to see other people, dogs, cats, and other animals that could affect your walk.

When is The Best Time to Walk Your Dog in Summer?

The early morning is the best time to walk your dog in the summer. Also, the evening can be another good option as it tends to cool down then.

Checking the weekly weather forecast during the summer can also give you a window of time that could be best for you and your dog.

Another thing to consider is finding places in your city, like parks, that have more shade and driving over there with your dog. This helps you and your dog stay safe and avoid heat stroke by not being directly in the sun.

I find that when it starts to hit the seventies dogs tend to not do as well. Also, your dog may start panting quickly when it’s hot and that is something to watch out for when it’s summer and the weather is hot.

Final Thoughts on The Best Time to Walk Your Dog

As you can see, there are several factors to consider when deciding on the best time to walk your dog. And there are pros and cons to each time.

Finding a time that works for you, your dog and your work schedule is key.

It is okay to pivot when it comes to walks and the times you can do it. Be kind to yourself and your dog and keep working on staying consistent walking your dog. That’s what really matters.

Another thing that can affect your walks is what you bring or don’t bring on your dog walks. My Dog Walk Supplies Checklist can give you some ideas on what you may need to make walks go smoother for you and your dog.

This checklist can give you ways to be more prepared for walks and can be a helpful addition to choosing the best time to walk your dog.

resources guide for product recommendations:

wanting to know what I recommend to new pet parents?

mini leash manners:

needing to teach your pup some manners on the leash?

whos walking who:

wanting to enjoy the walks with your dog instead of dreading it?

stop the jumping:

tired of your dog jumping all over you?