Am I ready to commit to caretaking for a dog for the foreseeable future? Will my roommates be on board with having a dog around? Can I afford all the expenses that come with owning a dog? Do I have time to fit a dog into my daily schedule?
All very important questions to take into consideration before adding a furry friend to your family. But there was one question that didn’t resonate with me as much as it should’ve at the time.
How much exercise does a dog need?
In my mind, I figured a few walks per day would probably get the job done. Fast forward to today and I’ve realized that’s not always the case and that this question is something all potential-dog owners should ask themselves if they are truly serious about adding a pup to their household.
“How much exercise does a dog need?” is a question you might’ve asked yourself, which is how you landed on this blog. With over a decade of experience as a dog owner myself, I’m here to help you answer that question and put this information to use so that your dog can live a happier, healthier life.
Why do dogs need exercise?
If your dog doesn’t get an adequate amount of exercise each day, it risks becoming unhealthy and overweight. According to a recent study from the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP), roughly 53% of dogs in the United States are overweight. And like us, dogs who are obese are more susceptible to health problems such as arthritis or heart disease.
To ensure your dog doesn’t become overweight, the first step is to visit your vet. There, your dog will get checked for any underlying medical conditions or signs of arthritis. If your dog does happen to have a preexisting condition such as inflamed joints or ligaments, the amount and intensity of exercise required will be relatively low.
Once your dog has been examined and your vet has informed you if your pup has any underlying conditions, the next step is to establish a routine to fit your dog’s exercise needs. Not only does a routine help your dog become better adjusted to their new home and lifestyle, but also stimulates your dog’s brain and promotes good behavior.
Your dog’s routine will be dependent on its age and breed. For instance, sporting and herding breeds like Collies, German Shepherds, and Retrievers have more endurance and stamina and will require more vigorous forms of exercise.
On the flip side, if you own a breed that is low maintenance such as Basset Hounds, Bulldogs, or Mastiffs, you can be more flexible with your routine because they require less exercise. The bottom line is that no matter the breed, your dog needs a routine that includes physical activity each day to maintain a happy and healthy lifestyle.
Map out at what your typical day looks like and think about the time you’ve set aside to get your pup some physical activity. If you don’t have a set routine, try to write down two times during the day where you and you dog can step outside and get some fresh air.
Is walking enough exercise for a dog?
Most dogs are not going to exercise themselves, which means it’s our responsibility to ensure they’re getting enough physical activity. While most dog owners will opt to take their dog for a walk a few times per day, some may be wondering, is that really enough? The answer to that question depends on the size, breed, and overall health of your dog.
Though the consensus among the majority of pet experts is that dogs should typically receive anywhere from half an hour to two hours of exercise every day, some dogs may need more intense exercise than a walk around the block.
It’s our job as dog owners to understand our dog’s traits and characteristics so that we can ensure they get the right amount of exercise. If you’d like to learn more about your dog and its breed, the American Kennel Club is a good resource.
While walks are generally OK for most dogs, it’s important for us dog owners to not think of these walks as just bathroom breaks. Walks can also offer behavioral training opportunities and chances for our pups to socialize with other dogs. If your dog has much more energy to burn throughout the day, it may be smart to incorporate other forms of physical activity in addition to a walk or two.
Playing fetch, jogging, swimming, hiking and taking your dog to the dog park are all great options if you’re interested in new ways to keep your pup physically active. For more fun exercise ideas, check out The Animal Foundation’s Guide to Your Dog’s Play Time and Activities.
If your busy schedule doesn’t allow you to provide adequate exercise for your dog, another option is to take your dog to a doggie daycare or have someone walk your dog while you’re at work. So, yes, walking your dog for 30 minutes to 2 hours every day is usually enough.
But if your pup is showing signs of leftover energy after your walks, try to incorporate some of the higher-level exercise routines listed above.
Is it possible to over exercise a dog?
While it’s important to make sure our dogs are getting enough exercise each day, it’s equally as important to make sure they’re not getting too much exercise per day.
Over Exercising a dog is a real danger that us dog owners must be aware of. If you’ve read this far and are inspired to lead your dog toward a healthier life through an increase in physical activity, be sure not to overdo it.
Signs your dog is being overworked include breathing fast, panting, staggering, and refusing to follow your lead. Like us, dogs need a steady build up for increased stamina.
If your dog is currently getting roughly 1 hour of exercise a day and you decide to ramp up their activity to 3 or 4 hours, you’re putting them at risk of injury or medical problems. Your dog could also develop mobility issues or anxiety if pushed beyond their limits. Other factors to monitor during your dog’s exercise routine are heat exhaustion and paw protection.
Dogs are much more sensitive to high temperatures than we are and are vulnerable to dehydration and heat exhaustion if left in the heat for too long. Always be sure to have water readily available so you’re pup can recharge they get too fatigued.
It’s also important to keep an eye on your dog’s paws. Walks on rough surfaces can damage your dog’s paws if you’re not careful. Also be cognizant of asphalt or sand on hot days and ice on cold days as these conditions can be extra tough on your pup’s feet.
If your dog is constantly getting debris stuck between its toes or is beginning to get some wear and tear on its paws, dog boots have been found to be an effective way to keep your pup’s feet safe.
Do dogs need rest days?
Like exercise, rest should be an integral part of your dog’s daily routine. According to K9 Fit Solutions, the rewards and benefits of exercising your dog can sometimes be nullified if there are no effective rest days. Dogs are just like us when it comes to physical activity and recovery – we both need to give our muscles time to heal and repair to keep our bodies balanced.
If you’re wondering exactly how much sleep your dog should be getting each day, check out this blog post on how much snooze time your pup needs. Providing your dog with a bed that supports their recovery is also very important.
I recommend an orthopedic bed with comfort and support foam. This bed is great for any large, aging, or arthritic dog and will have your dog recharged and ready to go for its next activity.
Don’t wait any longer – get your dog a bed of supreme comfort so they’ll be rejuvenated and well-rested. It changed my dog’s life and I’m confident it will change yours too.
“How much exercise does a dog need?” is an important question that all dog owners should ask themselves. Answering this question will give you a good idea of how much time you’ll need to commit to your dog each day.
There are many benefits of getting your dog an adequate amount of exercise, including lower risk of health problems and obesity as well as increased mental stimulation and socialization. Most dogs should typically receive 30 minutes to 2 hours of exercise per day. But keep in mind that this will vary based on your dog’s age, breed, health, and other factors.
If you have a dog that is more energetic, try some alternative activities like jogging, hiking, or taking your dog to the dog park in addition to a daily walk or two. However, our dogs can get overworked and us dog owners do need to be aware that over exercising can be a real danger to our pups.
Be sure to incorporate rest days every now and then and for maximum recovery find your dog a bed that supports their joints and bodies like the orthopedic bed with comfort and support foam. Now it’s your turn. Evaluate your current exercise routine with your dog and ask yourself if your meeting their needs. It might be time for another walk!
What are your favorite ways to exercise with your dog?