Having a dog is all about learning what they do and don't need to be healthy and happy, and part of those concerns include exercise. Exercising your dog every day is a requirement that helps to keep them in shape, tone their muscles, and tire them out — which usually leads to less destructive behaviors caused by boredom or pent-up energy. Of course, too much of any good thing can come with its own set of problems, so what's the right amount of exercise for your dog?
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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 exercise needs for your dog will depend on a number of factors.
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. Regular exercise is important for any dog to stave off obesity and maintain their overall health.
What does a dog need every day?
Because every pooch 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 mental stimulation and exercise a dog will need as well. While some dogs simply have a personal preference for the things they need and want, several factors can contribute to the amount of exercise that will make your dog a tired dog. Among these things to consider include your dog's 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.
Young vs. older dogs
In most cases, young dogs will require more of an exercise routine 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 enough exercise, 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 healthy and mentally stimulated. 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 short walks a day, taken at a considerably slower pace than when they were young.
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. Small or toy 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 them a good dog for anyone with little time to dedicate to high-impact physical outings or long walks.
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 high energy 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, if a dogs's breed is related to herding, these types tend to need more than most, and will often ask for it by any means necessary if it isn't readily offered.
- Every dog needs some exercise every day, but each dog's needs will vary between 30 minutes and two hours a day.
- For a doggy under one year old, a good way to measure daily needed playtime 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: a tiny dog or a huge dog, especially in later adulthood, will be a less active dog.
- Dog walking, or any sort of regular exercise program, not only helps a dog's overall health, but it can also help prevent destructive behaviors related to having too much energy, like destructive chewing or anxiety.
- Take care when walking dog breeds that are known to develop hip dysplasia, such as larger dogs and small dogs such as pugs.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.