How much exercise does my dog need?
Interestingly, dogs not only love to exercise daily, they absolutely need to! But how much is really enough? This is a question that is on almost every pet parent’s mind.
Read this article to find out how much exercise your dog really needs.
Exercise needs based on lifestage
If you have just welcomed a little puppy to your house, then first of all congratulations! Such an exciting time being a pet parent and watching your little fur baby grow. You should begin with small sessions of exercise but Petsy recommends restricting this to your house/backyard until your puppy is ready to go outside.
Remember, make sure your puppy has been fully vaccinated before you take it outdoors. If they aren’t vaccinated, their immune systems don't have the tools to fight viruses and bacteria. Always check with your vet when your puppy would be ready to go outdoors.
Puppies do not need as much exercise as older dogs. Like human babies, if puppies are over-exercised then they could damage their developing muscles and joints causing early arthritis. Start with an easy 10 minute walk a day on a lead and then gradually increase this duration by five minutes every month.
Remember, the key is to allow for a gradual increase in duration to allow your puppy to adjust to the routine and still maximise his/her development. Keep a close eye on their level of exhaustion and take them home if they’re becoming too tired. Every puppy will be different, so adjust as necessary.
An average adult dog needs about 30-60 minutes to maintain a healthy weight. Similarly, humans need to exercise for about 30 minutes a day. Talk about keeping healthy with your pet - they go hand in hand!
Some days you might feel like talking your dog for the full hour, so here are some easy fixes:
- Split up the walk to two or more times a day to make the timing more manageable. Try 30 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes in the evening. This will also allow your dog to get out of the house at regular intervals and enjoy the environment outside.
- Take your dog to a park and simply let him/her run around! Try games like fetch to encourage your dog to run around.
Dogs are similar to humans in so many ways. Just as humans grow old and begin to slow down, so do dogs. This means that your furry friend will start having less energy to run around like they probably used to in its prime adult years.
However, in order to maintain your dog's metabolism, it is important that you dont stop exercising your senior dog. By keeping them active, you can help ensure that your dog will have a reduced risk of obesity.
Petsy recommends breaking up the exercise duration into smaller chunks. Try walking your senior 2-3 times a day for about 15 minutes to help maintain activity. If you senior dog has joint problems, try low-impact activities such as swimming to avoid straining their joints.
Does my dog’s breed affect how much exercise it needs?
Absolutely! How much exercise your dog needs also depends on their breed.
Certain breeds like border collies and Labrador retrievers are known as herding and sporting breeds. These types of breeds generally require more exercise and would greatly benefit if you exercise them for 90 minutes or more per day.
On the other hand, some smaller breeds like Lhasa Apsos need less exercise.
Interestingly, breeds with flatter noses such as pugs, can have trouble breathing if the workout becomes too strenuous so watch out for any red flags!
What happens if I don't exercise my dog enough?
A lack of exercise with a bad diet can lead to obesity. Just like humans, overweight dogs can suffer from a range of physical health problems - diabetes, respiratory disease, heart disease, joint and skin problems etc.
Besides health problems, a lack of exercise can also mean that your dog is more likely to engage in destructive behaviours such as digging backyards, chewing shoes/chairs/table legs etc and engage in attention-seeking behaviors such as barking. It is vital to your dog’s health that it exercises everyday!
If you think your dog is obese or may have weight problems, speak to your vet on how to manage your dog’s weight through diet and exercise.