Walks (or “walkies” as us dog owners have come to call them forevermore) are an integral part of owning a pet dog. We all know our beloved pooches need lots of exercise in order to keep them healthy – but just how much should we be walking them?
It turns out there isn’t a simple one-size-fits-all answer. The amount you walk your dog can depend on their size, breed, age, the overall level of health and how much energy they have.
Let’s break these down further.
Large dogs have more weight on their joints, so may not be able to go as far as a smaller dog.
Some breeds, in particular working dogs like pointers, tend to have higher energy levels so may need more exercise than lapdogs like Chihuahuas. Dogs like Dalmatians were originally used to run alongside carriages and Huskies were used to pull heavyweight long distances, so they’ll need plenty of exercise to keep them in shape.
Puppies shouldn’t be walked too much as it could damage their soft joints. As they age, dog’s bones harden and become stronger, but it’s important to not overdo it during the first few months. Older dogs may struggle too – while the mind is willing, they probably won’t be able to keep up physically as their muscles and bones become fatigued and they potentially develop age-related illnesses like arthritis.
Dogs with health issues like diabetes, arthritis or general well-and-tear injuries like sore feet will need to take it easy – 5-mile hikes won’t be ideal for these pups.
Like humans, dogs have varying energy levels. Those with plenty in the tank will need more exercise to keep them happy, whereas those with lower levels may be happy with a quick walk around the block.
While the amount and distance you walk your dog differs from pup to pup, a general rule-of-thumb is to ensure you walk your dog at least once a day for between 30-60 minutes. This should keep them healthy, mentally well-balanced and happy.