How Much Exercise Does a Dog Need Every Day?

Man runs with his beagle dog. Morning Canicross exercise.
credit: Solovyova/iStock/GettyImages

Having a dog is all about learning what she does and doesn't need to be healthy and happy, and part of those concerns include exercise. Exercising your dog is a much-needed measure that helps to keep her in shape, tone her muscles, and tire her out — which usually leads to less destruction in the home caused by boredom or pent-up energy. Of course, too much of any good thing can come with its own set of problems, so how much should you be exercising your dog?

How much exercise is enough?

The answer to that question will depend on your specific dog, but the general recommendation is anywhere between 30 minutes and two hours a day. Of course, finding the right amount of time for your dog will depend on a number of factors, including his age, breed, activity level, the type of exercise you're giving him, and his overall condition of health.

Over time, you will be able to determine how much exercise is right for your particular dog based on his energy level during your outdoor activity, and how he might behave during the rest of the day.

Factors to consider

Because every dog is different, the amount of anything they may need, like sleep, food, or attention, will depend on the dog. The same thing goes for how much exercise a dog will need as well. While some dogs simply have a personal preference for the things they need and want for, several factors can contribute to the amount of exercise your dog will prefer. Among these things to consider include his age, size, breed, and the overall condition of health he's in. For instance, a young dog of an active breed like a Labrador will require much more physical activity than say, an elderly English bulldog.

Dog swimming in pool
credit: paul mansfield photography/Moment/GettyImages

Young vs. older dogs

In most cases, young dogs will require more outside outings than older canines, not only to relieve those small, puppy and young adult bladders but also to burn off steam. For puppies, Dogster reports that a good way to measure daily exercise times is to add five minutes to every month that your dog is old.

Of course, every dog is different, so you may need to offer your puppy or young adult dog more or less time, depending on their personal preference. Once your dog grows older, he will most likely need less exercise time as the years go by, in order to stay physically and mentally exhausted. A senior dog will usually require the least amount of exercise, and his health should be checked by a veterinarian before undergoing any strenuous activity. Some seniors remain active well into their golden years, but most will ask for fewer walks a day, taken at a considerably slower pace than when they were young.

Healthy senior dog exploring beach - west highland white terrier westie in New Zealand, NZ
credit: corners74/iStock/GettyImages

Large vs. small dogs

The size and breed of your dog will also help determine just how much exercise she will need to stay healthy. Generally speaking, the types of dogs who require the least amount of exercise as adults fall on absolute opposite ends of the size spectrum. Smaller breeds, like Chihuahuas and Yorkshire Terriers, and giant breeds, like Great Danes and Newfoundlands, tend to be known as low-energy dogs and can make great companions for anyone with little time to dedicate to high-impact physical outings.

Flat-faced, or brachycephalic, dogs, like pugs and bulldog, will also often have a hard time keeping up with physical activity, and usually require less exercise. The most physical dogs, other than puppies and young adults, are active or sporting breeds, like border collies or Labrador retrievers. While all dogs require some exercise each day, these types tend to need more than most, and will often ask for it by any means necessary if it isn't readily offered.

Conclusion

  • Every dog needs some exercise every day, but each dog's needs will vary between 30 minutes and two hours a day.
  • For dogs under one year old, a good way to measure daily needed exercise times is to add five minutes to every month that your dog is old.
  • Generally speaking, the types of dogs who require the least amount of exercise as adults fall on opposite ends of the size spectrum: tiny dogs and huge dogs, especially in later adulthood, will require less exercise.