Dogs, just like humans, need a good amount of physical exercise to stay healthy. Whether you have a super speedy Greyhound or more of a lounge-around Maltese, every pooch needs some outdoor exercise. But, the question of the day is always: how much should you walk your dog? You can probably guess that not all dogs need the same amount of exercise. Factors like age and breed type dictate just how much time you should set aside for your dog’s physical training.
In this article, we’ll help you conclude just how much walking time your dog needs to be their best.
Let’s start with the basics
All dogs need some time to stretch their legs outside, every day. The University of Sydney suggests that elderly or sick dogs can benefit from 20 minutes of daily light outdoor exercise. By contrast, they argue that doggos in tip-top shape should take two 30-minute (or more!) every day. Some breeds need even more exercise than that, and we’ll talk about that in a bit.
So, right off the bat, you can see that your pooch needs daily outdoor activity. And this doesn’t just mean opening the door to the backyard and letting your dog sniff around for an hour. Exploring the world beyond your property is crucial for a dog’s physical and emotional health. It gives them the opportunity to be mentally stimulated, increase their circulation, and bond with you. You’ll notice that a well-exercised dog is well-behaved, calm, and content.
A big consideration is breed
Dogs and humans have had a mutual relationship for thousands of years. Over the course of our shared history, we’ve bred dogs for a number of specific jobs, from shepherding to retrieving to pest control. Only a few breeds were created with the sole purpose of being comfortable lap- or show-dogs. That means that, although there are a few dogs that were not bred for activity, the vast majority were carefully selected to perform some kind of athletic task. These factors will shape how much you should walk your dog.
Let’s start with the hyper-athletic breeds. Border Collies, Australian Shepherd, Golden Retrievers, German Shepherds, Huskies, Dalmatians, Dobermans, and Pointers all need pretty constant activity and stimulation. And you can probably guess why. These dogs were all bred to do constantly active tasks – take care of other animals, hunt, transport people and goods, protect their Owners’ homes. These doggos need as much exercise as you can give them per day, but no fewer than two hours.
Now, how about the moderate category? Pitbulls, Beagles, Bloodhounds, Bernese Mountain Dogs, and Great Danes are a few examples of the dogs that need about one hour of exercise per day. Most of the breeds in this category weren’t bred for constant exercise, but rather were called upon in specific situations.
And then you have the dogs that need just a bit of exercise daily. These are going to be French Bulldogs, Maltese, Newfoundlands, Chow Chows, and Shih Tzus. These dogs were either bred to be watchdogs, lap dogs, or even water rescue dogs. As such, high amounts of activity were rarely necessary. Still, these guys need at least 30 minutes of outdoor time a day, even if they’d rather curl up on the couch.
It’s important to look into the exercise needs of your specific breed. Some dogs, for instance, have breathing problems that make vigorous exercise dangerous. Others, because of their barrel-chest, shouldn’t be exercised right after eating. You can check our our Breed Corner to find out more information on your dog’s unique breeding history and health concerns.
And how about age?
Age is a major factor when it comes to knowing how much to walk your dog.
On the one hand, puppies should be getting a good amount – but not too much – exercise. According to the Kennel Club, a puppy should receive about five minutes of play twice per day per month of age. If they’re four months old, then, a 20-minute walk twice a day is perfect. You want to take special care with larger breeds that are at risk for bone and joint problems.
And, how about about the elderly pups? This is really going to depend on the advice of your veterinarian. Most likely, the suggestion will be some form of very light exercise, but the length will really depend on your dog.
Some additional considerations
Obviously, every dog home is unique and may affect the amount of exercise your dog needs. If you have a whole pack of dogs and extensive property where the pack can run around and keep each other active all day long, you probably don’t need to worry so much about designated walking.
On the other hand, if you live in an apartment and work long hours, you might need to get creative. Luckily, with Mad Paws, you can access Doggy Daycare services to care for your pooch when you’re not around.
The final word on how much you should walk your dog
All dogs need daily exercise. They’re no way around it. In certain situations, that might mean as little as 20 minutes of outdoor play per day. For others, it could mean up to two hours to make sure your pooch is actually tired at bedtime.
And don’t forget, getting outside with your pooch is good for you too! So get out there, and enjoy some outdoor play time!