Deciding to get a dog is a big commitment in your life and theirs. Whether you select a larger or a smaller breed, your dog is going to need a certain amount of daily exercise. As the pet parent, you will need to plan time for that exercise each day in both of your schedules. Realistically, do you ever wonder how much exercise dogs really need?
What Exactly Is Exercise For A Dog?
When we as humans think of exercise, you may think of hitting the gym to pump some iron or catch a spin class. While this works for our human bodies, it’s not quite as effective for our dogs. But we do have one thing in common when it comes to exercise – getting our heart rate up! According to Embrace Pet Insurance, if an activity causes your dog to breathe hard, that can be considered exercise.
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Let’s clarify this with an example: you have a lab mix that weighs 40 pounds and you took him for a 2-mile walk before work. It’s a great way for him to stretch his legs before you leave, but if he is not panting, it’s not enough exercise. Now if on that walk you had stopped at the park and played some fetch with him and then ran home, that just might do the trick! (1)
How Much Exercise Does My Dog Need Daily?
A dog’s exercise needs will vary throughout their life. There are many factors involved in determining how much exercise a dog needs each day. Recommendations are anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours of being active every day. Of course, there are different components that factor into these recommendations that affect what you do with your dog.
Your busy life may need to rely on weekends to play catchup on doggie exercise. You might have limited time to exercise your dog during the week. In this case, you could choose to do extended exercise on the weekends. One of the most important things you can do is to have a conversation with your veterinarian to find the right schedule for you and your dog. A dog that is not getting enough exercise can start to chew, dig, bark, or become overweight, which can lead to health problems. (2)
Exercise Time For Puppies
Puppies are bundles of energy keeping you on your toes from the moment you bring them home. They will often get bursts of energy throughout the day when you least expect it. You’ll find them running around at your feet and then suddenly napping in a pile.
As a puppy parent, it takes time to adjust to the schedule of your new addition. While puppies have a large amount of energy, they are also growing at an accelerated rate. Play sessions are the best way to ease them into exercise versus taking them on extended walks. Once their growth slows down you can switch to extended walks. Some patience is required when you are raising your puppy to see what is the best method for pooping out your pup! (3)
Exercising Your Adult Dog
The breed of your dog actually plays a huge role in how much exercise your adult dog needs. Age and health are important, but breed is the biggest factor when it comes to determining how much exercise your dog needs. The breeds needing the most exercise are those that were bred for jobs – think herding or sporting breeds. These breeds need 60-90 minutes of exercise each day. Some of the dogs of this type include:
- Scent Hounds
Less active breeds are typically much smaller or much larger than their active counterparts. These dogs are usually small, toy or low-energy breeds. They typically require anywhere from 30-60 minutes of exercise daily. The dogs in this breed type include:
- Maltese, Yorkies, Chihuahuas (Toy breeds)
- Great Danes, Mastiffs, Newfoundlands (Giant breeds)
- Pugs, French bulldogs, Shih Tzus (Brachycephalic, or smush-nosed, breeds) (4)
Exercising Your Senior Dog
Even though your dog is aging and slowing down they still need activity. While your senior fur baby may not be running at the pace they once were, it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t maintain time for exercise. As dogs age, their joints stiffen and arthritis sets in, but it doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t keep moving – quite the opposite, actually. Daily exercise is even more important for dogs with arthritis because it helps keep their joints moving.
Exercise provides senior breeds with mental stimulation and keeps them active. Regular activity can support a healthy lifespan and reduce the risk of obesity. If you have concerns about exercising your senior dog, it is always best to have a chat with your veterinarian and come to a mutual decision for the ideal amount of activity for your dog. (5)
Keeping Your Dog Active
No matter what the age or breed of your dog, a daily walk is guaranteed to benefit them. When you take the time to get your dog leash trained as a pup, it will provide a pleasant experience taking long walks with him throughout his life span. Stop by the TruDog shop for a handy clip-on bag carrier! The dispenser holds 15 pet waste bags and attaches right to your dog’s leash. Never forget your doggy bags at home again as you make memories with long walks and no poop left behind!