• Having a daily schedule for adult dogs can help in improving their metabolism. 
  • Pet parents who implement a daily routine find their dogs happier and less stressed. 
  • Dogs love having a structure to their existence and thrive mentally and physically. 

Dogs are creatures of habit and thrive well when they know what to expect in their day-to-day life. Whether you are looking to improve your adult dog’s training regimen and grooming needs or help them with their digestion, a daily routine works best. 

Most of what you are going to read in this article is basis my experience as a pet parent of a 5-year-old English Labrador Retriever. For the last five years, I have tried to ensure that I stick to a daily routine that helps him stay healthy, be emotionally fit, mentally sharp, and free from any serious health issues, diseases, or infections. 

Importance of a Daily Schedule for dog

In this guide, we will explore the following important topics around establishing a daily routine for adult dogs:

👉 Knowledge and experience of being a pet parent of a 5-year-old Labrador Retriever. 
👉 Are adult dogs naturally inclined toward following daily schedules or routines?
👉 Benefits of having a daily routine for adult dogs.
👉 A day-wise breakdown of what an actual routine should be for an adult dog.
👉 Mistakes to avoid when building a daily routine for adult dogs.
👉 Key pointers for pet parents to succeed with establishing a daily routine.
👉 Conclusion

Daily Schedule For Adult Dogs: My Experience As A Pet Parent Of A 5-Year-Old Labrador Retriever

Daily Schedule For Adult Dogs

Being a first-time pet parent meant I had no prior experience of what a daily routine for adult dogs should be. While friends and colleagues would share tips and pointers with me from time to time, I was determined that I would find my way. 

If you are a first-time dog parent looking to set the best daily schedule for your dog, you should only listen to two key sources:

  1. The veterinarian.
  2. The trainer (if you plan to get one, I would personally recommend that you get one).

The key is to build on the knowledge that these two experts are going to give you. You can then use this as your base and look at genuine resources on the internet to help give you an idea about a routine that works best for your dog. 

This article is going to be based on the experience of a middle-to-large breed of adult dog, the Labrador Retriever. If you have a dog breed that is between 60 and 100 pounds, you can implement most of the information about daily dog routines to your pet. 

This includes breeds like the German Shepherd, Dalmation, Siberian Husky, Doberman, Golden Retriever, Rottweiler, etc. 

With my dog, I have tried building his routine on the following seven key parameters. 

  1. Establishing a daily routine for food (what is to be eaten and at what time – also, how often should dogs eat?).
  2. Setting a daily routine for sleeping (morning, afternoon, evening, and night sleep).
  3. Building a routine for daily physical activities (walking, running, and playing fetch).
  4. Starting weekly grooming routines (coat combing, teeth brushing, and nail cutting).
  5. Giving daily health supplements routinely (multivitamins, calcium, and digestion).
  6. Meeting the vet for vaccines and health check-ups (three-to-six-month intervals)
  7. Fixing fun events routinely (car rides and weekend getaways).

Are Adult Dogs Naturally Inclined Towards Following Daily Routines?

Are Adult Dogs Naturally Inclined Towards Following Daily Routines

That’s a resounding yes!

Before we first try to address whether adult dogs like daily routines, it is important to understand something else. Building a daily routine for adult dogs needs to start much before. 

When you ask? According to experts at AKC, getting your dog into a daily routine should start when they are relatively young. While I would not go as far as to say that you will be able to achieve this at the puppy stage, you can definitely start after they turn one. 

With my labrador retriever, I started getting him into a routine after he turned one. At that stage, they are a bit mature (as compared to the wild puppy months), and their learning cues are very sharp. This is also the stage when the dog is highly trainable – if you are wondering how to house train a puppy, then this section is very important to you. 

Labradors enter the ‘adult stage’ between the ages of one year to eighteen months. Personally, I have observed that if a dog knows what is going to happen at what time of the day, they are less anxious and stressed. 

For example, my labrador retriever has become so good at this that he knows – what time he needs to get up, when we go for a walk, what time his food will be ready, nap timings, walkies, when treats will be given, etc. 

Why Are Adult Dogs Aligned To Daily Schedules?

Why Are Adult Dogs Aligned To Daily Schedules

Adult dogs like my labrador retriever are aligned to well-structured routines for the following key reasons: 

  1. They feel safe if they have an inkling about what is going to happen to them on a day-to-day basis. Adult dogs are gentle souls and do not like changes in their routines. This safety helps them feel less stressed and gives them a sense of security. 
  1. Dogs that know about their routines are less inclined to feel bored or frustrated. This, in turn, prevents them from getting anxious or stressed since they know – I will eat now, I will go for walkies now, paw paw (dog lingo for dad) is going to play now, etc. 
  1. For pet parents, having a set routine for adult dogs means that you have a ton of bonding opportunities. This is great not only for your dog but also for you. Spending time playing is positive for both dogs and humans (both physically and mentally). 
  1. If you have a set timer set for walking every day or engaging in physical activity, then your dog gets a specific amount of exercise every day. This helps them stay fit and ensures their bones and muscles are getting worked out routinely. 
  1. Adult dogs need to stick to a daily routine, which is critical for their emotional and mental well-being. It allows them to be stronger mentally and develop a brave outlook towards life. They become much more confident in their outlook, and you can sense that. 

6 Key Benefits Of Having A Daily Routine For Adult Dogs

Whether your dog is at the puppy stage, or they are now a full-grown adult, or they are now eligible for the Senior Pup Saturday feature of ‘We Rate Dogs,’ they need a daily schedule!

Dog parents often complain about their pets having behavioral issues. Some say that their dogs do not want to eat well. Others complain that their dogs often fall sick. 

In most instances (not all), this can often be attributed to dogs not being able to live a life of routine. A daily routine for adult dogs can be beneficial for every aspect of their lives. With my Labrador, I found that he thrives when all aspects of his life are properly spelled out. 

Sleeping, eating, physical activities or exercises, digestion, grooming, etc., need to be put into a structured routine by pet parents. In this section, we will cover some of the benefits of following a daily routine for your dogs.

6 Key Benefits Of Having A Daily Routine For Adult Dogs

1. Daily sleeping routine helps curb anxiety and stress:

So much is written about how dogs sleep. In fact, behaviorists have outlined how some sleeping patterns should be read to understand how your pooch is feeling. Healthy adult dogs sleep an average of 12 to 14 hours a day. Having defined waking up, nap times, and night sleeping times is helpful for your dogs. 

Having a great sleep allows for healthy cell development and repair functions in your dogs. If your dogs are not sleeping well, it might be a sign of some underlying issues. Either they are anxious, or there are health issues that are preventing them from sleeping properly. 

Pet parents need to put their dogs to bed at a specific time every night. The same goes for their waking up time. This will help them build a proper sleep cycle. Having their beds set up at specific times, tucking them in, using their blanket, or switching off the lights at a certain time will help them get into the habit of sleeping. 

2. Fixed Eating Routine Helps In Better Nutrient Absorption And Digestion:

Dog parents need to have a fixed routine for feeding their pets every day. If you are feeding your dog twice a day, ensure that you are sticking to a time difference between 8 to 10 hours. For example, if you are giving them breakfast at 8 in the morning, then you need to give them their dinner at 6 pm. 

Eating according to a fixed routine helps dogs in promoting a healthy metabolism. This, in turn, affects their digestion and aligns their pooping cycle accordingly. If you are the parent of a very food-driven dog breed like Labradors (like I am), you need to set a fixed time, or else they will get pretty anxious. 

I ensure two things when I feed my dog (which, BTW, I do thrice a day; more on that later). I ensure that my dog does not engage in any physical activity for at least one hour after eating. This prevents the risk of bloating

Secondly, I pay attention to the fact that he eats the same food every day (I will elaborate on this in a separate article on ‘how much food should I feed my dog? later).

3. Dedicated Time For Exercise Helps In Physical And Mental Development: 

Experts suggest that you need to at least ensure that your dog is getting 45 minutes to 1 hour of physical activity a day. To be honest, for large breeds with much more energy, you need a minimum of 2 hours of physical activity and stimulation. 

My daily schedule with my labrador looks something like this. After we get up in the morning, we cuddle for a little bit, and then we go for a walk. The walk allows him to relieve himself (urinate and poop both). 

In the evening, when I am back from work, I take him for his walk. This time around, there is no strenuous physical activity like running or playing fetch. It is just a 45-minute walk where he relieves himself and just enjoys the sights and sounds. 

Physical activity builds a substantial appetite for food, which in turn promotes healthy absorption. This also ensures that he is never obese. Likewise, this helps in promoting bone and muscle development. Not to mention the fact that dogs love going out of their homes. 

4. Regular Grooming Helps In Better Skin And Coat Health And Prevents Diseases: 

There are three main things that you need to set a routine for as far as building a grooming schedule for your dog is concerned. Moreover, knowing how to groom a dog is vital for your dog’s health. 

Firstly, it is great to set a bathing schedule. Try to ensure that once a month is a good enough time period for large breeds. Unless they took a liking to the dirty, muddy lake, you have to hose them down. Use a shampoo only after consulting with your vet. 

Secondly, you need to stick to a coat and fur brushing schedule. For breeds that have dense coats and shed a lot, two times a week is good. Personally, for my double-coated Labrador, I try to stick to a once-a-week brushing and combing schedule. Try cleaning the ears with a prescribed ear solution by the vet once a week and include this in the brushing routine. 

Thirdly, you need to have a routine for cleaning their teeth and cutting their nails and paw pad fur. Teeth cleaning is not as easy as it sounds. My dog is very sensitive to anyone touching his mouth or his teeth. I blame myself since this is one habit that I did not build when he was young. Once a week is good, but two times a week is better. 

5. Quarterly Or Bi-Annual Vet Visits To Spot Any Serious Or Underlying Health Concerns:

As pet parents, even if your dog is eating and sleeping well, it is essential that you visit a vet at regular intervals. Make sure that you are scheduling a vet visit for your dog’s annual vaccines. Try to ensure that the vaccines are taken at the exact time the vet prescribes them. 

With tick fever, rabies, and other infections on the rise, dog parents need to ensure that they are sticking to a vaccination schedule. In addition to the vaccines, the vet will check multiple aspects of your dog. 

My dog’s vet (who helped deliver him as a puppy from his mother) is a godsend. He checks the following:

  • Coat and skin (for any unnatural eruptions, scratches, or infections).
  • Bones and joints (for any jerky movements, tension, or breaks).
  • Organs (for any unnatural growth or dilation).
  • Eyes (for early signs of cataract, infection, or scratches).
  • Mouth, teeth, and tongue (for signs of decay and mouth smell for digestion).
  • Ears (for signs of infection, water, or grime build-up).
  • Anal glands (cleaning to prevent excreta build-up and curb infections).
  • Paw (to check for scratches, cuts, and any other infection).

Even if you are a well-read pet parent who is confident about being a great caregiver, you are no doctor who is medically certified. Please ensure that you are visiting your vet for regular check-ups at least twice a year. 

6. Fixed Pooping And Urinating Routines Help In Easing Discomfort, And Improving Digestion And Kidney Health:

As a pet parent, knowing how to potty train a puppy is vital. Moreover, I look at this in two major ways. Firstly, if your dog has a healthy pooing and urinating routine, they will never relieve themselves at home. This is a great habit that every expert keeps talking about. This will not only keep your home clean but also not invite the wrath of your mom or dad!

Secondly, if you build a routine of taking your dog out to relieve themselves, they will build a mental process around this. Physically as well, the body gets used to when it has to poop and pee. Building this routine is very helpful since it promotes not only cleanliness at home but, more importantly, a much healthier and fit routine for your dog. 

My dog goes outdoors to relieve himself four times a day at regular intervals. I personally take him for his walk and exercises between 7.30 and 8.00 am in the morning. After lunch, my house help takes him at 3 pm (this is 1 hour 30 minutes after he has had lunch). 

In the evening, my driver or security guard takes him at 6 pm. At night, when I return, I take him between 8.30 to 9 pm

I can vouch for the fact that in the last four years, ever since we have started following this daily schedule, he has not urinated or pooped in the house even once. His kidney health is perfectly fine, according to his vet. He poops twice a day (morning at night), six days out of seven. 

A Day-Wise Breakdown Of A Daily Routine For An Adult Dog: Drawn From My Personal Experience:

Daily Routine For An Adult Dog

I am very excited to share with all of you what an actual day looks like in the life of my labrador retriever. I hope this section will give all of you an idea and a little sneak peek into how you can also build a daily schedule for an adult dog. 

1. Waking up in the morning: 7.00 A.M. 

I try to ensure that we never sleep late into the morning. I am always mindful that he has to go to relieve himself. The dog has been holding on to his pee and poop throughout the night. Getting up in the morning also helps build my discipline. 

It is not as though he wakes up at 5 or 6 in the morning and he waits. Both of us wake up when the alarm sounds at 7.00 AM. 

2. Cuddling, Stretching, And Light Wrestling: 7.15 A.M.

This is the highlight of the day for me. As soon as both of us are up, he jumps onto my bed. What follows is a silly game of light wrestling, heavy cuddling, and just having fun. 

Starting the day like this puts both of us in a positive mindset. I personally believe that both of us look forward to this. 

3. Leaving For The Walk/Exercises/Physical Activity: 7.30 A.M. 

We leave at 7:30 A.M. and try to spend at least one hour outdoors. We walk to the park, which is nearly a mile away. 

This is followed by light to moderate physical activity, including playing fetch or just chasing me. We rest for a while and walk back. In total, we walk two miles in the morning. We reach back home by 8.30 AM. 

4. Breakfast: 9.30 A.M.

Once he comes back, I clean his paws and let him cool down for ten minutes. After that, I gave him his water bowl. Try to avoid giving water immediately during heavy panting as it can lead to bloating. 

After an hour, I give him his breakfast. This is 200 grams of Royal Canin Adult Labrador Dog Food and one boiled egg. 

5. Supplements: 9.45 A.M. 

I try to mix four major supplements on a two-month basis. These include a multivitamin supplement, a calcium supplement for bone health and joints, a healthy liver supplement, and a digestive enzyme. 

I fix the dose at 10 ML and try to finish the four bottles over a period of two months. This is a good time period that does not lead to any side effects. 

6. Rest And Nap Time: 10 A.M. To 12 P.M.

After I leave, he rests for a while. This is followed by the coming of the house-helps throughout the day. 

They keep him engaged, play with him, cuddle him, and entertain him throughout the day. In between all this, he also takes naps nicely to keep himself fresh once he wakes up. 

7. Lunch: 1.30 P.M.

He eats lunch at 1.30 PM. This is something that a lot of people do not agree with. But I have strict instructions from his vet that, given his active lifestyle, he needs to have three meals a day. 

Lunch comprises 200 grams of boiled chicken, 100 grams of veggies (carrots, raw papaya, and bottle gourd), and 100 grams of boiled rice in chicken stock. 

8. Afternoon Walk/Stroll To Relieve Himself: 3.30 P.M.

Once he is adequately rested after eating lunch, the house help takes him outside to relieve himself. This is something that is very important. 

Not only does this help with digestion, but it also keeps his kidney and prostate health proper. This is a light stroll of just ten minutes that allows him to stretch his legs a bit. 

9. Afternoon Nap: 4.00 P.M.

After he is back from his afternoon walk, he takes a light nap that can be between one and a half to two hours. He really enjoys sleeping in the afternoon, and sometimes, you can hear him snoring peacefully on his bed. 

So, how much do puppies sleep? As I mentioned earlier, healthy and happy adult dogs will sleep between 10 to 14 hours a day. This is nothing to be worried about. 

10. Evening Snacks/Treats: 5.30 P.M.

After he wakes up at 5.30 PM, he heads to his snack cabinet and asks for his treats or biscuits. I usually give him a healthy chew that has good properties for teeth health and controls gum decay- Dentastix by Pedigree. 

After that, I give him three to 4 small dog biscuits. This is something he looks forward to, and he really loves his snacks. 

11. Trainer imparting Obedience Training: 5.30 P.M.

The trainer comes three days a week to give him obedience training. Majorly to work on his social skills around other dogs and animals. 

While he is excellent around young kids and humans, he needs to build discipline around other dogs. The training also involves mental stimulation and games that help him stay sharp and healthy. 

12. Rest and Nap Time: 6.30 P.M.

After the trainer leaves (it is a one-hour session), he rests and takes naps for some time. However, his nap time is cut short when family members return home from their workplaces. 

He is very excited to meet and greet everyone, often bringing toys. However, this is a time when he pretty much relaxes. 

13. Night walk to relieve himself: 8.30 P.M.

After I am back from work, I change and quickly take him for his night walk. We do not walk too far, and he urinates and poops. 

The walk lasts between 30 to 45 minutes, and we are back home by 9.00 to 9.15. He enjoys seeing the lights and the cars and sniffing anything and everything on his radar. This is his final outdoor visit for the day. 

14. Dinner: 9.45 P.M.

After he is back and well-rested from his walk, he gets his dinner. This is the same as his lunch. 

Dinner comprises 200 grams of boiled chicken, 100 grams of veggies (carrots, raw papaya, and bottled gourd), and 100 grams of boiled rice in chicken stock. He finishes eating quickly and typically ends up watching some television with us. 

15. Hitting The Bed For Night’s Sleep: 10.30 P.M.

The day concludes with him retiring to his bed and sleeping area by 10.30 PM. Unless we have guests at home and they are staying late for any normal day, this is what his schedule looks like. I try to apply some paw butter to help soften his paw pads and also apply some elbow cream to prevent any skin infections. 

A daily routine for an adult dog like a labrador retriever can help them be confident, stay fit, be happy, free from illnesses, and prevent obesity. This is not something that is too difficult to attain. 

While pet parents should aim to follow the routine as precisely as possible, there might be days and situations where it might be possible. 

You might not be able to follow the daily schedule for your adult dog if it’s raining or snowing. Sometimes, there might be work emergencies as well. That is understandable. 

If we commit to a daily routine and try to achieve at least 70% to 80% of what we aim for, that would be good enough to keep your dogs happy, healthy, and stress-free. 

Mistakes To Avoid When Building A Daily Routine For Adult Dogs:

As a dog parent, you might have read the last section and wondered- is this too tough to do on a day-to-day basis? The answer depends on multiple factors. It depends on how many people there are in your house (family members), what is your level of income you can spare to look after your dog, what type of work you do, what your routine is like, etc. 

Let us look at some of the mistakes that you need to avoid when building a daily schedule for adult dogs:

1. Don’t Try To Do Everything On Your Own Towards Building The Daily Schedule:

One mistake that I made early on was to try to take care of every aspect of my dog’s routine single-handedly. I realized very quickly that this was not a scalable model, and I needed help. 

This is where the role of family members becomes important. You can delegate a lot of the work to them, depending on their needs and availability. 

2. Avoid Indulging Your Dog With Too Many Food Options Early On: 

The key to building a successful routine for your adult dog is to keep it simple. This is especially true when it comes to their food habits. Try to stick to the same food type, flavor, and form throughout. 

This ensures that even if someone else is giving them the food, they will have no hesitation in eating. This will also ensure that your dog does not get temperamental over food. 

3. Do Not Have An Unfixed Budget For Your Dog’s Monthly Expenses: 

As a pet parent, it is essential that you fix a monthly budget around all your dog’s expenses. No matter whether you become richer or poorer, try to make sure that you are sticking to a budget.

This ensures that you are able to manage and maintain their day-to-day routine effectively. Moreover, this will never put a strain on your finances and break their routine. 

4. Never Go Overboard With Food, Grooming, And Supplements:

Always remember that dogs were once wild animals and could do without a ton of creature comforts and pampering. You need to ensure that they are being looked after, but don’t go overboard. Giving them too much food will make them obese. 

Giving too many supplements will pose a problem for their organs. Too much grooming can adversely affect their coats. 

5. Stop Counting The Internet And Online Resources As Your Go-To-Solution For Problems:

There are too many online resources that are honestly very vague and unhelpful. For anything and everything, make sure that you count on the medically certified opinion of your vet. 

After that, you can listen to your dog’s trainer since they will have decades of handling different breeds. Do not blindly look at problems and issues and then start panicking. 

Key Pointers For Dog Parents To Succeed In Establishing A Daily Schedule/Routine:

Key Pointers For Dog Parents

Ensuring that your dog lives a healthy and long life is not a given. While genes matter, it is more about how pet parents nurture them and build their lives. You can successfully build a daily schedule for adult dogs by paying attention to the key pointers below. 

In my brief experience as a first-time dog parent, I believe that the following key pointers are essential if you want to succeed in establishing a daily routine for adult dogs.

Scroll down to read more.

Key Pointers (Based On My Experience):

Key Pointers
  1. Pet parents need to be committed at every step of the way. This means that the more days you are able to follow the routine, the better will be the health of your pooch. 
  1. Dog parents need to socialize their dogs with other humans and individuals. This will ensure that your dog is letting others fulfill his day-to-day routine nicely. 
  1. Pet parents need to be ready to make sacrifices. This means that regardless of how tired you are after work, you need to make sure that your dog is getting their evening walk. 
  1. Dog parents need to be mindful of their dog’s requirements. This means that every small aspect, whether it is a cracked paw or a dirty ear, needs to be taken care of. 
  1. Pet parents need to make budget allocations for their dogs. This means that every month, you need to set aside an expenditure amount catering to their needs.
  1. Dog parents need to understand that their dogs are part of their family. This means that once you have acknowledged this, all your actions will follow automatically. 
  1. Pet parents must love and show affection towards their dogs as much as possible. A dog’s entire life revolves around you, so always love and hold them close. 
  1. Dog parents need to keep themselves updated about information and resources. Following credible platforms and influencers is necessary to improve learning. 
  1. Pet parents need to always have a series of questions ready for their vets and trainers. Asking questions and figuring out the ‘why’ will help you give a better life to your dog.
  1. Dog parents need to avoid experimenting with changes in food or grooming. Always get a confirmation from your vet before you embark on anything. 

Are You Ready To Be The Best Dog Parent?🐶

Are You Ready To Be The Best Dog Parent

While building a daily schedule for your dog is no rocket science, you must understand that much effort is involved. More than effort, it is about your intention. By following all the information mentioned in this resource guide, you can guarantee a healthy, happy, and fulfilling life for your dog. 

All of us want our dogs to live forever. The sad part is that this is not going to happen. Getting them into a proper daily routine will help them stay healthy, which will boost their life by three to five years

A daily routine will ensure that your dog is not falling sick often. This will prevent you from paying the skyrocketing vet bills that we see these days. Please remember that the contents of this article are majorly based on my experiences bringing up my five-year-old labrador retriever. 

I have also drawn heavily from the inputs, suggestions, and interactions I have had with my dog’s vet and trainer over the last five years. If you have any questions, I would be more than happy to answer them. Please drop your questions in the comments section below. 

⁕⁕PS: If you have made it to the end of this 5000-word resource guide on the importance of a daily routine for adult dogs, you are already a wonderful dog mom or dad. Say hi to your pup for me…😊⁕⁕

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Ejaz Ahmed
Ejaz Ahmed is the Chief Operating Officer at Viacon Marketing and Technologies Pvt Ltd. When he is not building strategies to boost his company’s revenues or firefighting team troubles, he can be seen taking a keen interest in pet parenting. Being a first-time dog parent of an adorable five-year-old English Labrador Retriever, he has direct experience of navigating the troubles that new pet owners go through. From food habits to grooming needs to vet checks, he is committed to share his experiences along with sharing valuable tips and tricks to help other dogs lead a happy, healthy and prosperous life.

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