How Much Exercise Does My Dog Need?
With everything going on across Europe during the COVID-19 pandemic, looking after our mental health is going to be important. Getting out and walking the dog can really help with this.
Research from the 2019 PAW (PDSA Animal Wellbeing) report revealed that thousands of dogs in the UK never get walked at all.
So, for those of you asking “How much exercise does my dog need?”, we’ve put together this article with everything you need to know to keep your dog happy and healthy.
- What Can Happen When Dogs Don’t Exercise?
- How Much Daily Exercise Does My Dog Need?
- How Much Daily Exercise Does an Older Dog Need?
- How Much Daily Exercise Does a Puppy Need?
- How to Get Active with Your Pet
- How to Implement a Dog Exercise Routine for the Whole Family
- A Dog’s Signals for Overexercising
What Can Happen When Dogs Don’t Exercise?
There are lots of dogs in the UK (and throughout the world, for that matter) that aren’t getting enough exercise. This lack of exercise can lead to serious problems for both dogs and dog owners, including the following:
This is especially common among energetic breeds. If your dog doesn’t get enough exercise, they’ll have to take their energy out somewhere, and their only option might be your furniture or personal belongings.
Just like humans, dogs who don’t exercise enough are more likely to gain weight. Overweight or obese dogs have an increased risk of developing all kinds of health problems. They’re more susceptible to chronic conditions like diabetes, and they may develop respiratory issues as well.
In addition to these health problems, overweight or obese dogs are also more prone to orthopaedic issues. They may develop joint pain from carrying extra weight, and they might have a hard time performing basic activities (standing up, jumping onto the couch, etc.).
How Much Daily Exercise Does My Dog Need?
Okay, you get it. Your dog needs exercise. So, how much exercise are we talking about?
The amount of required exercise varies a lot based on your dog’s age as well as their breed. The following are some general guidelines to keep in mind:
Dogs that are considered “active breeds” need about two hours of exercise per day (or more) to be healthy. The following are some of the most well-known active dogs who can benefit from this level of exercise:
- Siberian Huskies
- Golden Retrievers
- Alaskan Malamutes
- Border Collies
- English Springer Spaniels
- German Shepherds
- Labrador Retrievers
- Moderately Active Breeds
Moderately Active Breeds
Moderately active breeds feel and behave their best when they get about one hour of exercise per day. The following dogs fall into this category:
- Jack Russells
- Bull Terriers
- Border Terriers
- Saint Bernards
- Basset Hounds
- Tibetan Terriers
- Cocker Spaniels
- Miniature Schnauzers
- Miniature and Toy Poodles
- Shetland Sheepdogs
- English Bulldogs
- Shih Tzus
- Lhasa Apsos
Less Active Breeds
Some dogs (including many smaller dogs) require about thirty minutes of exercise per day (plus additional playtime). These dogs include:
- Bichon Frise
- Yorkshire Terriers
- Miniature Dachshunds
- Miniature Pinschers
How Much Daily Exercise Does an Older Dog Need?
Many dog owners make the mistake of assuming that, just because their dog is old, they don’t need much (or any) exercise. But this couldn’t be further from the truth.
Senior dogs still need regular exercise to feel well. Regular exercise can even help to prolong their lives.
If your dog seems able to handle the amount of exercise they got when they were younger, you can likely keep it up without any problems. Talk to their vet about reducing the duration of their exercise if they seem to be slowing down, but don’t stop letting them exercise altogether.
Keep in mind, too, that some dogs need a little extra support as they get older.
If your senior dog struggles with joint pain, they could benefit from a senior care supplement. These supplements contain natural ingredients designed to provide additional joint support while also strengthening the immune system and promoting good cognitive health. They’re often recommended for dogs (and cats) over the age of six.
How Much Daily Exercise Does a Puppy Need?
Puppies, naturally, need more exercise than adult dogs and senior dogs. With puppies, it’s a good idea to break their daily exercise up into several shorter walks or play sessions, rather than trying to keep them out for a one or two-hour walk (depending on their breed).
Splitting their walks up this way is healthier for the puppy’s developing body. It helps to keep them calmer throughout the day, too.
How to Get Active with Your Pet
There are lots of ways you can go about being active with your pet. Walks are always great to include in their routine, but there are other activities you might want to incorporate as well, including these:
- Walking and Hiking
- Playing fetch
- Running by your side while you skate or cycle
- Draft work (pulling a sledge)
- Obstacle courses
If your dog has a hard time with a particular activity, especially if they’re a senior dog, giving them some joint care supplements can help them find relief from any discomfort they’re experiencing and make it easier for them to stay active.
How to Implement a Dog Exercise Routine for the Whole Family
If you’re feeling overwhelmed at the idea of giving your dog two hours of exercise per day (assuming you have an active breed), remember that this doesn’t have to be your job alone. Get the whole family involved by using a dog walking/exercise schedule. Assign everyone specific days and times to handle giving your dog the exercise they need.
A Dog’s Signals for Overexercising
Make sure you’re aware of the signs that your dog is overexercising, too. This can happen, even to active breeds, and you should be on the lookout for the following symptoms:
- Trouble breathing
- Excessive panting
- Low energy
- Trouble walking or standing
These symptoms are especially common when the weather is warm. If you notice them, give your dog a chance to rest and rehydrate before taking them out again.
Give Your Dog the Exercise They Need Today
When it comes to answering the question “How much exercise does my dog need?” there’s no one-size-fits-all answer.
If you keep this information in mind, though, it’ll be much easier for you to figure out what your dog’s unique exercise requirements are. Be sure to remember the tips for implementing an exercise routine, too, to ensure you keep up with these needs and make exercise a regular part of your family’s routine.