If you own a dog, you have probably found yourself wondering “How much exercise does a dog need every day?” Depending on your schedule, that question might sometimes sound more like “How much exercise does a dog really need every day?”
As with people, the answer varies from dog to dog and is dependent on age, health, and breed. There are a few standard guidelines you can follow, however, to make sure that your dog is getting all the exercise she needs.
How Much Daily Exercise Does a Puppy Need?
You might have noticed that your puppy gets a case of the “zoomies” several times a day. The zoomies are easily identified, and symptoms include madly racing around the house, followed by collapsing into a puppy pile, preferably in your lap.
Puppies generally have more energy than adult dogs and so require more exercise in short bursts — like the zoomies. Since puppies are constantly growing, including several short walks or play sessions throughout the day is a safer choice than going for one really long walk, as this can be too hard on your puppy’s developing body. Ultimately, every puppy is different, and the more time you spend with your pup the more you will learn about how much exercise she needs to keep her happy — and you sane!
Talk to your vet or breeder about how much daily activity is appropriate for your puppy, and don’t forget that exercise is a great way to train and socialize your new dog.
How Much Exercise Does an Adult Dog Need?
Your dog’s breed heavily influences the level of physical activity he needs. High-energy breeds, such as Border Collies and Belgian Malinois, require a lot more exercise than low-energy breeds like the Bulldog or Basset Hound.
A breed’s exercise requirements are important to keep in mind when choosing a puppy. It is not a good idea to buy an active dog breed, unless you already lead an active lifestyle, and it is unrealistic to expect your toy Poodle to join you for marathon training – unless you are pushing him in a stroller.
Your dog’s health is also important. If your adult dog has a medical condition, such as hip dysplasia or heart or respiratory issues, talk with your vet about an appropriate exercise routine that will help him stay healthy without causing him discomfort.
How Much Exercise Does a Senior Dog Need?
Your senior dog might not be able to run as far as she once did, and you might have to eventually restrict her run to a walk, but proper exercise is just as important for your senior dog as it is for your puppy. Talk with your vet about exercising your senior dog, and also observe her behavior. As the owner, you know your dog best and are the best judge of how much exercise your dog can comfortably handle.
Exercise provides all dogs with mental stimulation and keeps them active, which can help prolong their lives and reduce the risk of obesity.
Tips on Dog Exercise
“How much exercise does a dog need every day?” is often the first question owners ask. The second (and one frequently asked by owners of high-energy breeds) is “How do you exercise a dog?”
Taking your dog for a walk around the block is a great start, and it might be enough for breeds with lower exercise requirements. Even couch potatoes appreciate variety every once in a while, however, and there are countless opportunities to exercise your dog in your daily life.
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