Most pet parents agree that all dogs need exercise. Just like humans, dogs need exercise to maintain a healthy weight. Most people don’t realize that exercise has extra benefits for dogs; dogs need activity to remain mentally healthy too. As the old adage holds, a tired dog is a happy dog. However, you might be wondering, how much exercise does a dog need?
Simply put, the most accurate answer truly depends on the breed of the dog. However, as a general rule, all dogs require a minimum of thirty minutes per day of activity.
This half-hour can be broken up into two fifteen-minute brisk walks, or you may take your dog out for three ten-minute walks per day. This is strictly up to the pet parents’ preferences.
However, most dogs do better with more than a minimum of thirty minutes. In fact, the longer amount of time you can offer to your pet for the purpose of the exercise, the better.
Why do dogs need the right amount of exercise?
1. The right amount of exercise will help to keep your dog at a healthy weight.
Dogs are like humans in that if they eat or take in too many calories, they will put on weight. Talk with your vet to determine the right amount of calories for your dog depending upon their breed and age. Adult dogs typically need more exercise than senior or young pups. It’s also a good idea to ask your vet how much exercise your dog needs in order to maintain a healthy weight provided you give Fido the right amount of calories.
2. The right amount of exercise can ease stress for your dog.
It’s tough to imagine that our dogs ever suffer from stress, but many dogs do. Some dogs suffer from separation anxiety, while others suffer from boredom that can lead to a great deal of unhappiness for your pooch.
Dogs generally love to be outdoors. Taking them for a walk allows them to go out and do what dogs do—sniff things, investigate, and simply learn more about the world around them. Engaging them in play while outside—train a dog to fetch, navigating a dog park, or a doggy obstacle course (hint: you can make one of these yourself)—makes your dog so much happier. Ensure Fido’s safety by keeping him contained using the best wireless dog fence. Again, a tired dog is a happy dog.
3. Regular exercise can prevent a lot of health issues in your dog.
Of course, exercise can help your pet to maintain a healthy weight. This can help to prevent heart disease and some forms of cancer. Exercise can help an arthritic dog to feel better by keeping the joints working properly. Plus, dogs at a healthy weight can actually decrease their discomfort where arthritis and orthopedic issues are concerned.
Regular exercise is also good for preventing issues with your dog’s neurological health.
4. The right amount of exercise can also influence the behavior of your dog.
Again, a tired dog is a happy dog. Dogs need a purpose. They need work or jobs to do in order to be happy. You can provide exercise for your dog in the form of physical AND mental stimulation.
What’s the right amount of exercise for a small breed dog?
Most small breed dogs are quite happy with at least one half-hour of exercise each day. However, if you can provide your small breed dog with at least one hour of activity daily, you’ll find she is a much happier pooch.
If your small dog has a short snout and what is often described as a “flat” face, it is a brachycephalic breed. You can still provide up to an hour of activity for a brachycephalic dog, but you’ll want to make sure the exercise is broken down into four fifteen-minute sessions. You’ll also need to make sure you don’t take the brachycephalic dog out for exercise in the heat of the day. The heat can greatly affect your dog’s ability to breathe. Plus, these dogs can experience heart issues if they are overexerted.
If you don’t have the time for taking your dog out multiple times per day, then you can offer activity indoors too. Provide your dog with a puzzle toy (usually a food puzzle toy) that will get your dog moving, even if it’s at a slower pace.
What is the best amount of exercise for a medium-sized dog?
Medium-sized dogs are often highly active by nature. Some of these dogs need more than an hour of activity in order to be happy and healthy.
Take your medium-sized dog out for a walk for a half-hour each morning if possible . You should also take the dog out for the same amount of time in the evenings.
A great alternative to this long time of exercise is to take Fido to the dog park. At the dog park, you can allow Fido to run and play freely until he wears himself down.
Another alternative to the dog park is creating a mini-dog park in your own backyard. You can use many handy items to make these obstacle course items you’d see in the dog park. You can set up old kids’ toys to form a tunnel for your dog to meander through. You can use pallets to make an A-frame that Fido can climb up and down, just as he might at the dog park.
Medium-sized dogs that have a great deal of energy will also benefit from a food puzzle toy (such as the Kong food puzzle toy) which will encourage dogs to toss, chew, and shake treats out of the toy. This is a great form of mental exercise that can occupy Fido for up to a half-hour.
What is the best amount of exercise for my large breed dog?
Large breed dogs may need to get an hour’s worth of exercise at the least per day. These dogs tend to eat a great deal. Many of them are traditionally working dogs as well, and this part of their genetics doesn’t wane away even if they become family pets.
A large dog needs at least a thirty-minute walk per day, but they need a variety of other activities to stay happy and healthy. Give them not only food puzzle toys, but also take time to play fetch, throw a (doggy) Frisbee, and provide healthy chew toys as well.
Giant breeds, like other dogs, typically need a lot of physical and mental activity in order to be happy and healthy.
Of course, the dog park is another great place to take Fido in order to provide him with the right amount of exercise.
Again, keep in mind that every dog needs a different amount of exercise based on the size and breed of the dog as well as his energy level and personality.
Food Puzzle Toys
A food puzzle toy will keep an energetic dog busy for quite some time. You will place a treat or even a dab of peanut butter inside the toy and click it shut. Your dog must then exercise his brain in order to determine how to get the treat to fall out.
Most dogs don’t take long to figure out what needs to be done. They learn that they need to shake the toy, toss it around, and even chew a little in order to get the treat to dispense itself. The puzzle never works exactly the same way every time, and you’ll have the option of placing the treat in a various hidey-hole in the toy. This makes the game even more fun for Fido.
Durable Chew Toys
It’s always a good idea to provide your dog with durable chew toys. Never provide your dog with real bones as a toy, and stay away from rawhide chews. Rawhide chews may appear to look like a bone, but they are rendered from the leftovers when an animal is slaughtered. Some rawhides are made from flour and other ingredients made into a paste and shaped so they can harden into a bone shape. When a dog chews this item, the rawhide softens, and dogs often swallow a part of the rawhide chew.
Some dogs may simply spit up the rawhide without ingesting it. Of course, this is unsightly, but it’s much better than if he swallows it. (Keep in mind that even if the dog does regurgitate that soft part of the rawhide, it still presents a choking hazard.)
If the dog does digest the soft portion of the rawhide, it could cause a number of problems in your otherwise healthy dog. It can cause a dog to develop bloat, or it could cause a dog to develop an intestinal obstruction.
Are there any types of exercise I should avoid with my dog?
Some breeds can’t handle long-distance running. Again, this includes the brachycephalic breeds (think Pug or Boston Terrier), but Greyhounds and whippets are not built for long distances.
Some dogs may need a reduction in exercise time due to their age or any potential health problems they have. Seek the advice of your vet in these decisions.
1. Is walking enough exercise for a dog?
For most dogs, yes. They need a brisk walk for at least a half-hour each day. However, if your dog is highly energetic, you’ll want to provide a variety of exercise opportunities for your pup.
2. How many walks a day does a dog need?
This often depends on the breed. However, at least two walks of fifteen minutes each are often sufficient for most dog breeds.
3. Is an hour walk enough exercise for a dog?
This depends upon the breed and age of the dog. An hour maybe too much exercise for older dogs or one with a physical ailment or characteristic that would be exacerbated by too much exercise. Brachycephalic dogs should only walk for thirty minutes per day at fifteen minutes per walk.
4. Is 2 walks a day enough for a dog?
For most dogs, yes. However, more energetic breeds will need to exercise more than two simple walks a day. Pet parents can provide toys that provide mental exercise as well as physical activity.