How Much Exercise Do Dogs Need?

Providing your dog with proper exercise is a crucial part of being a responsible pet owner. However, it can be confusing to know if your dog is getting enough exercise and what exactly constitutes a healthy amount of exercise for dogs.

Many dog ​​owners assume that a short daily walk is enough to keep their dogs healthy. In reality, the amount depends on a series of factors.

The following article will give you a better understanding of how much exercise dogs need in general, as well as the main factors that affect each dog’s exercise needs. You will also find some practical tips to keep your dog fit and healthy.

How much exercise is ideal for dogs?

As a general rule, most companion dogs need 30-60 minutes of exercise per day. However, the amount of exercise each dog needs depends on a number of factors. That’s why it’s important to make sure your dog gets enough exercise for his specific needs.

So what factors come into play when it comes to the ideal amount of exercise for your dog? The ASPCA states that individual exercise needs vary based on factors such as health, race (or mix of races), and age.

Health

Overweight Golden Retriever resting on a patch of grass after exercise

Photo courtesy: Public domain from Pixabay

One of the biggest factors that affects the amount of exercise a dog needs is their health. Healthy dogs can generally handle the most exercise, all else being equal, but specific health conditions affect exercise needs in different ways.

For example, dogs with arthritis still need exercise, but the type of exercise they receive often needs to be changed to keep them comfortable. Dogs recovering from illness or injury generally need to rest, but not be completely sedentary. On the other hand, overweight and obese dogs will likely benefit from higher levels of exercise, as this can be a key part of healthy weight loss. Speak to your veterinarian before beginning an exercise plan if you have any questions about your dog’s health.

Age

Puppy running in the grass

Photo courtesy: Public domain from Pixabay

A dog’s age will also affect the amount of exercise he needs. Let’s start with the puppies. Although puppies are balls of energy, they generally need less formal exercise than adult dogs. All their play and exploration will usually do the trick. In fact, too much forced exercise can even damage their developing joints. A good rule of thumb is to start with short, leisurely walks on a leash when they are about 8 weeks old and gradually increase your length and speed as they get older. Wait to jog or go on long rigorous hikes until their musculoskeletal system is mature. This usually occurs around 8 to 12 months of age for small to medium dogs, but can be as late as 24 months for very large dogs.

Senior dogs also don’t need as much exercise as adult dogs that are in their prime. About 30 minutes of exercise is usually sufficient for most older dogs, although this may not be true for a very fit and healthy senior canine. If you’re worried about training your senior dog for too long, consider breaking up the sessions into smaller chunks. For example, instead of one long walk a day, try two shorter walks.

raise

closeup of a happy maltese dog on a walk wearing a harness

Photo courtesy: Public domain from Pixabay

A dog’s breed will also contribute to the amount of exercise it needs. More active dog breeds, such as those traditionally used for hunting or herding, will need higher levels of physical activity to maintain physical and mental health. Here are examples of active dog breeds:

  • Poodles
  • Beagles
  • Golden retriever
  • Labrador Retrievers
  • border collie
  • miniature pinscher
  • Dalmatians
  • Jack Russell Terriers
  • Siberian Huskies

Conversely, less active dog breeds do not require as much exercise. For example:

  • Yorkies
  • Chihuahuas
  • Great Danes
  • Newfoundland
  • french bulldogs
  • Maltese
  • Mastiffs
  • Cavalier King Charles Spaniels
  • Pekingese

It’s important to remember that while these three factors will help give an idea of ​​your dog’s exercise needs, every dog ​​is different, so the appropriate amount of exercise will vary from dog to dog.

How do you determine the amount of exercise Your Dog needs?

Dog on a walk outside with his owner

Photo courtesy: Public domain from Pixabay

Now that you know what general factors impact the amount of exercise dogs need, you’re probably wondering how to determine the amount of exercise. your dog should get.

Before you start doing calculations, I strongly advise you to ask your veterinarian. They will be able to provide an expert recommendation based on your dog’s particular needs. You’ll also be able to ask them any questions you have about your dog’s exercise, so it’s worth scheduling a visit.

Exercise tips to keep your dog fit and healthy

1. Schedule exercise time

Even the best of us can sometimes forget to take our dogs out for exercise. To minimize the chance of accidentally missing a workout, schedule exercise time on your calendar and set a reminder on your phone or smartwatch.

2. Make playtime fun by using a ball launcher and other toys

Walks are a fantastic way to keep most dogs fit, but be sure to supplement them with plenty of playtime. Not only will this ensure your dog gets enough exercise, but it will also make exercise more enjoyable for both of you. If you’re looking for a fun activity, why not play games using a ball launcher? Other great ways to get your dog moving are tossing squeaky toys, using flirt sticks, and playing tug with rope toys.

3. Don’t forget indoor exercise

It’s too easy to skip a workout because it’s raining or you don’t have enough time to get outside. There are many indoor activities to exercise your dog that you can try, such as dancing, an indoor agility class, or running up the stairs. Luckily, you don’t have to let being stuck indoors stop you from exercising your dog.

4. Know when to feed your dog

Feeding your dog before exercise can lead to discomfort and possibly a life-threatening condition called gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV). If you must feed them before exercise, try to do so at least 30 minutes before. Problems can also arise if you feed your dog immediately after exercise, so again try to wait at least 30 minutes before a post-exercise feed.

5. Recognize when your dog has had enough exercise

You don’t want to overwork your dog or cause him to suffer an injury from trying too hard or too long during an exercise session, especially if he has a medical condition, injury or disorder. is an older dog. That’s why it’s important to be observant and look for signs that your dog has had enough and get some well-deserved rest. If your dog is panting excessively, starting to limp, or slowing down, it’s time to stop.

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