Exercise Guide: How Much Exercise Does Your Dog Need
As a dog owner, you likely understand the importance of good exercise and activity. You know how important daily dog walks are to your dog. Different dogs need different levels of activity but how much exercise does your dog needs? In this guide, we’ll cover the major stages of life for your dog and help you better understand the exercise and activity needs of your dog.
Dogs, and in particular puppies and younger dogs, often have a lot of energy, and if they don’t get the chance to burn it off, they can turn to destructive behavior.
If you have headaches from barking, you’re annoyed at the holes your dog has dug, or have to replace pillows shredded into expensive fluff; your dog is probably not getting enough daily activity or exercise.
If unchecked for longer periods, these behavior issues often cause people to give up their dogs, resulting in those “free to a good home” ads. They’re usually placed by people whose dogs don’t get the exercise they need.
The Long Term Effects of Poor Excercise
Inactive dogs are often overweight dogs, and as in people, that brings plenty of health risks. One of the primary health risks is obesity.
Obesity can significantly contribute to a dog’s risk of diabetes, respiratory disease, and heart disease. It exacerbates common orthopedic concerns such as hip dysplasia as well as arthritis. Obesity can also add stress on your dog’s joints, ligaments, and tendons. To help avoid this, let’s look at the different stages of dog life and what they typically need.
Puppies often have more energy than adult dogs and thus require more exercise. The key difference is they often need their activity in short bursts. Puppies are constantly growing and do not do well with long activities or walks, instead try several short walks or play sessions throughout the day of 5-10 minutes each. Keeping these activities to smaller amounts of time is a much safer choice than going for one long walk, as this can be too hard on your puppy’s developing body. Keep in mind that every puppy is different, and the more time you spend with your pup, the more you will learn about how much exercise she needs to keep her happy and out of trouble!
If you have more questions, talk with your breeder or vet about the appropriate activity requirements for your puppy.
Your dog’s breed heavily influences the level of physical activity he needs. High-energy breeds, such as Belgian Malinois, Terriers, Shepards, Pointers and Border Collies, require a lot more exercise than low-energy breeds like the Bulldog or Basset Hound. Take some time to do a bit of research (if you haven’t already) to find out where your dog’s breed falls on the activity scale.
In general, a leashed walk around the block isn’t going to cut it. Most adult dogs need 30 to 60 minutes or more of physical activity each day, for high energy dogs you need to try for 60-90 minutes of activity. Your furry friend needs enough that they will slow down by the time you stop.
A senior dog might not be able to run as far or as fast as he once used to, and you might even need to restrict his run to a walk; however, proper exercise is still important to your senior dog. Observe your dog’s behavior closely, if you see signs of pain or limping talk with your vet about your dog’s health and current abilities for activity. As the owner, you know your dog best and are the best judge of how much exercise your dog can comfortably handle.
Tug of War – this fun game can be enjoyed by most breeds, it builds muscle and a playful bond between you and your dog
Hide & Seek/Chase – these playful games give your dog both mental and physical release as well as continue to build a bond of trust and friendship
Treadmill – if you have a high energy dog, a treadmill may be a great way to get some of the extra energy out. With careful training, your dog will love the treadmill (but don’t skip the outdoor walk as well)
Stairs – many of our canine friends believe that our stairs were designed by Nascar! A few extra trips up and back can get some of those wiggles out and fun activity for a board doggie. Take special care with Dachshunds, Pembroke Welsh Corgis, and other dogs with longer backs and shorter legs, because stairs may prove more challenging for these dogs.
Puzzle Toys – provide a great mental effort for your dog and can take time for them to work on. This is a great option when going outside is not possible.
Fetch – many dogs love playing fetch. Shake it up and make it different by throwing the toy up a hill or into water
Hiking – you dog will love the opportunity for new sights and smells
Play Date – If you have a friend with another dog this is a great chance for him to get a lot of energy out and have some real fun while you relax and catch up with a friend
Obedience – this challenges your dog mentally as much as physically and is a great option
Agility Sports – if you have the right breed there are many sports for your dog to choose from like scent work, flyball, dock diving and more
Swimming – loved by many breeds and a great way to get your dog moving. If you have not taught your dog to swim yet, check out our complete guide to training your dog to swim
Each dog is different and unique, even within a specific breed, and you know your dog better than anyone. As you spend time together, look for signs of boredom or exhaustion and continue to adapt your activity level to help meet your dog’s needs. Your dog’s health is important, make it a family affair and get everyone involved.
- Sep 01, 2019
- in Pet Blog