Worried that you might be exercising your dog too much – or not enough? Unsure of how much exercise your dog actually needs? Read on to find out just how much exercise your dog should be getting!
Exercise is a vital part of a dog’s life – as it helps regulate your pet’s health and offers all the benefits required to lead a long and healthy life. Knowing when and how you should be exercising your dog is necessary for all dog owners, as different dogs need varying levels of activity based on many factors; including age and breed.
How Does Exercising Your Dog Help?
Exercise does not only maintain your dog’s weight, but it impacts their overall health and well-being positively! It helps improve overall cardiovascular fitness, builds muscle and provides great health benefits. It also greatly enhances their mental health by reducing anxiety, easing loneliness and encouraging playfulness.
Exercise can take the form of daily walks, agility courses, hiking, swimming and small games such as fetch and Frisbee throwing. The type of exercise your dog needs, the intensity and frequency are all dependent on different factors, so make sure you know what exactly is required for your pet!
The age of your pet affects the nature and amount of exercise they need. The age factor is usually important when discussing puppies and senior dogs.
While the large amount of energy that puppies have could fool you into thinking that they need a lot of exercise, these pups need less exercise than an adult dog would. Puppies tend to easily tire, and too much exercise can hinder the growth of their muscles and bones as well as leave them exhausted. Small puppies do not necessarily need to go on walks or runs. Instead, starting with a few minutes of playtime from 5-15 minutes every day could count as enough exercise for young pups. As your puppy begins to grow and become stronger, their energy and ability to withstand longer exercise times will also increase. A method of figuring just out how much walking your dog should be doing to measure 5 minutes for every month of your puppies life, twice every day.
As for senior dogs, they tend to tire more easily as they age. Their muscles begin to weaken and their bodies will not longer be built to withstand the exercise that an adult dog would. In general, it is recommended to give your senior dog up to an hour of exercise daily, split into two or more sessions so that it is evened out and comfortable.
Generally, a dog’s breed and breed size often affect their energy. Some breeds require frequent and intense activity, while others are less energetic and need less effort and time put into exercise. While consulting your vet about your specific breed would be best, here’s a small breakdown of how much exercise different dog breeds need:
- Most Active Breeds: The most active dog breeds often tend to be Retrievers, Pointers, Scent Hounds and Shepherds. These dogs were bred to withstand long hours of work and running – often used as hunters and trackers throughout history. This gives these breeds the advantage of being agile and quick, which means their demand for exercise is higher than others. Optional exercises could be taking them on hiking or jogging trips! These breeds often need 45 minutes to 1 hour and a half of exercise a day in total spread out in two or more sessions!
- Least Active Breeds: Toy breeds, such as Pugs, Chihuahuas, Maltese and others are among the less active due to their small size. These dogs tire more easily than their larger cousins, and will suffice for indoor exercise with light walking rather than anything more intense. Coincidentally, Giant Breeds such as Danes and Mastiffs, also require less energy than their medium-sizes cousins. These dogs also tend to wear out easily due to their size, and intermediate exercise followed be rest is just what they need!
Your dog will definitely let you know through their actions whether their exercise is enough- or too much! If a dog needs more activity, they are likely to become restless and temperamental, at times digging and biting at furniture to exert their energy. Also make sure to always monitor your pet’s behavior during and after exercise to make sure they are not getting too worn out! If you notice your dog experiencing signs of exhaustion, make sure to stop all activity and calm them down.