Adding a new pet to your family can come with a lot of questions. Some of the questions are pretty easy to answer, like which is the best food or how often should the pet be fed. Other questions like whether or not the pet is getting enough attention and how soon is too soon for socializing, can be a bit more complicated to answer. 

If you are wondering if your pet is overexposed or under engaged, you are probably concerned about a four-legged fur baby. While these questions can be pertinent for horse owners, cat owners, and a few other kinds of animals, for the purposes of this blog, we will be discussing dogs. 

Here are some general thoughts and guidelines about knowing when your dog is overexposed and also knowing when they are under engaged.

three dogs playing at my pets wellness vet

How Many Hours of Stimulation Do Dogs Need?

When it comes to mental stimulation it is generally recommended that dogs need about 20 minutes per day. Mental stimulation would be considered things like training and games that help the dog learn new things.

It is easy to tell if your dog is overexposed to this type of learning or games because you will see them show signs of anxiety or frustration. If this occurs, you should stop the activity and take note of how long you had been working with the dog. If 20 minutes was too long for your particular pet, try 15 minutes the next time. Another idea is to try breaking the sessions into two 10-minute parts at separate times of the day.

If you are considering physical stimulation such as exercise, the answer will be far more dependent on the type of dog that you have. All dogs need exercise, but some breeds are far more active than others. For example, a Pug may need up t an hour of exercise per day while a Beagle needs an hour and a half and an Irish Setter may need more than two hours per day. 

If you are unsure of how much exercise your dog needs consult your veterinarian.

How Many Hours of Interaction Does a Dog Need?

Dogs are naturally pack animals and generally enjoy your attention and company. Mst dogs will require at least an hour or two of attention per day. Providing them with this will help to increase the bond between you.

This doesn’t mean you must be doing a dedicated activity for an hour or two with the dog. Spending time together and playing works just fine. They will often find their own way to spend time with you and be a part of what you are doing if you will allow that. 

Exposing Your Dog to Other Animals

It is important to properly socialize your dog. You can easily find instructions for doing this or ask your vet if you need help. That said, not every dog can or wants to be social. Certain traumas and illnesses may make socialization difficult or impossible.

For some dogs, socializing can be a time of heightened anxiety. They may not enjoy the interaction with other dogs, or with a specific dog. Just like people, dogs have personality types. It is important to get to know your pet to better understand what works for them and what doesn’t. 

If you are having problems socializing your pet it is very important to seek the advice of your veterinarian. You should also make sure that your dog is healthy and up to date on vaccines before exposing them to other dogs, especially ones that may be unknown to you. 

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