How Much Exercise Does A Dog Need Everyday
When you first get a dog there are always those things you go through when trying to educate yourself. If you have never owned a dog before this can be a confusing and somewhat daunting task. Exercise is a vital component of owning a dog and something you must consider before getting one. When asking the question, how much exercise does a dog need everyday, your main factor will be the type of dog you have. Breed is especially important when it comes to walking your dog as different breeds require different amounts of exercise, whether it be a small amount or lots. When speaking generally a dog will usually need from around 30 minutes to 2 hours but this will depend on many variables that we shall discuss in this post.
How Often Should I Take My Dog Out
More often than not your dog will tell you when they need a walk, from innocent barking, staring at you, or even a more destructive method like chewing your slippers. Going out for a walk is something that dogs need to do everyday regardless of size or age, it tends to be more of a mental thing than an energy thing. Of course the fact is that dogs tend to have lots of energy especially when they are very young but they also sleep lots, so energy levels will always be high. One of the main reasons to take your dog for a walk is for mental stimulation. You will often find that your dog becomes much less destructive and more quiet and content at home if you take them for walk and establish a good routine.
There will be many things that dictate how often you take your dog out. Things like age, health, breed, toilet habits are all points to be considered when taking your dog for a walk. Even the seasons can have their effect on how often you walk your dog. Wintertime can be harsh, especially for short haired dogs so limiting the amount of time they spend outside is something consider. As for the summertime most dogs don’t do well in the heat and if your pooch has a thick coat they wont be able to stay out during the summer for too long. Check out our helpful guide to walking your dog in the summer and our helpful guide to walking your dog in the winter.
Working dogs like Springers and border collies will need to be taken out more often than other breeds as they have incredible energy and need constant mental stimulation. If you don’t fancy taking your dog out 3 times a day or walking miles and miles with them then you should probably consider a more docile dog or even a small dog which will requires less distance.
We can often be stretched for time especially these days when life is so much faster than it used to be. You may be juggling work, children, family, chores and anything else life seems to throw up, so its safe to assume there may be a time when you cant take your dog out. The answer to how often should i take my dog out is generally going to be around twice a day depending on the distance you are walking but when you are stretched for time a smaller walk is going to be better than no walk at all. Its about getting your dog free of the boundaries that are your home, allowing them to explore and sniff everything in sight.
When a dog is a puppy they will still have lots of energy and will need to be walked more often. Despite more frequent outings a puppy only needs a very short walk such as 15 minutes depending on how often you take them out. When exercising a puppy you will also be dictated by toilet habits. Puppies usually go through a training regime where they are learning where to go to the toilet and so letting you pup out often will help them realise where the toilet is. To find out more about walking a puppy check out this post on how often to walk a puppy.
As long as your dog is getting a good routine of exercise both physical and mental everyday then they will be a lot more content at home.
How Far To Walk A Dog
Distance is another point that will be dictated by the type of dog you have whether it be small, old, young or a working breed. Firstly smaller dogs don’t need to walk as far as large dogs, they take a great deal more steps than a large dog and will be worn out more easily. Working breeds will always be your best distance walking dogs as they have been bred to deal with long days running about on farms or hunting. If you want to know what some of the best dogs for hiking are then check out our article HERE.
Age will be another major factor when deciding how far to walk your dog. The obvious point here is that younger dogs can go further than older dogs and generally that is correct. However, some dogs do well in life and can stay fairly healthy their entire lifetime. On the other hand younger dogs can sometimes suffer from joint issues and other problems that could indicate shorter walks are needed.
As discussed above puppies require more outings but at shorter distances. When thinking about how far to walk a puppy you should be looking at 5 minutes for every month depending on breed. Of course once fully grown they can walk longer distances. Puppies are still growing and their bone structure is still forming, for this reason you don’t want to over work them as this can cause problems later in life.
Walking your dog on a lead and walking them off require entirely different thoughts. When thinking about how far to walk a dog you must think about how you are walking them. If your walking your dog on a lead and you walk at a steady pace then you can probably walk a good distance depending on the various points discussed above. Walking your dog off lead is completely different. Your dog may be an excitable pooch and without thought go running around exploring everything and tiring themselves out. Dogs tend to get a much bigger workout when off lead, which of course is great for them and for you. So when walking your dog off lead you can remember that they wont need as much exercise as when walking on lead.
How Do I Know If My Dog Is Getting Enough Exercise
When you are evaluating how much exercise your dog should be getting everyday, it can sometimes be difficult to know if they are getting enough exercise. As highlighted above there can be so many variables to working out the amount of exercise needed. To help with this task here are some signs that your dog is in need of more exercise than they are getting.
- Destructive Behaviour – This is something that is common in frustrated dogs, especially those that aren’t getting enough exercise or mental stimulation. The first solution to reducing this destructive behaviour is getting a good exercise routine that uses up all that pent up energy.
- Pulling On Lead – Cooper our Golden Retriever is generally good on his leash however if he hasn’t been for a walk all day then you can certainly tell. Dogs tend to pull lots more when they haven’t had a good amount of exercise that day. You will discover, by the end of a walk there is little to no pulling.
- Putting On Weight – This is an obvious one where the majority of us know that even when it comes to our own bodies, if we don’t exercise we generally put on weight. This is the same for dogs and can happen very quickly if they are not adequately exercised. Keep weighing your dog every time you visit the vet or get some doggy scales where you can record any increase or decrease in weight.
- Attention Seeking – Dogs cant communicate with words so they have to try everything else in their arsenal to get your attention. Dogs that are under exercised can become a constant irritation, staring at you, barking, running about, spinning and putting toys right in your face. These are all clear signs your dog wants your attention and most likely they want to go for a walk or play.
- Depressed State – Unfortunately on the other hand some dogs just cant find the motivation to seek your attention and they become depressed and sluggish. Nobody wants an unhappy dog and if they are not given the right amount of exercise or metal stimulation then you will find them somewhat subdued.
- Random Awakenings – Dogs do love to take a nap but if they are sleeping all the time, it just means they are not using all that energy they have. You may find your dog wakes up in the night to roam around the house as they have no clear routine. A well exercised dog with a good routine will know when its time to sleep and when its time to play. Dogs love routine they live for it, so make sure your dog gets that exercise needed to create a good schedule in their heads.
Hopefully this post has given you a good understanding and answered the question of how much exercise does a dog need everyday. As we have discussed, there are so many elements to decided how much exercise to give your dog and not just considering physical exercise but also mental stimulation. Age and breed will always be major factors and you just need to assess what your dog is capable of, whether you are new to owning a dog or have owned a dog for many years. If you enjoyed this post please check out our website for more great articles on dog walk and getting outdoors with your dog.