How Much Exercise Does My Dog Need?

How much exercise do puppies need?

According to the U.K. Kennel Club, “A good rule of thumb is a ratio of five minutes of exercise per month of age (up to twice a day) until the puppy is full grown, i.e. 15 minutes (up to twice a day) when three months old, 20 minutes when four months old etc. Once they are fully grown, they can go out for much longer.”

Short games of fetch with small exercise balls. swimming and short walks are all great forms of puppy exercise!

Avoid high impact exercise for your puppy, jumping etc is best left until they are a little older.

How much exercise do adult dogs need?

Most adult dogs require at least 30 minutes to 2 hours of exercise daily. Hiking, games and play dates with doggy friends are exciting, rewarding activities.

Exercise by Breed

Every dog breed is unique in its own way. Research your dog’s breed (or breeds for mixed-breed dogs) to get more information on how much exercise he may need.

Low-Energy Breeds

  • Smaller Breeds: Smaller breeds, such as Chihuahuas, Poodles and Maltese, tend to be less active.

  • Giant Breeds: Despite their size and strength, giant dog breeds such as Great Danes, Mastiffs and Newfoundlands are known to be less energetic, as well.

  • Flat-nosed Breeds: Flat-nosed breeds, which include Bulldogs, Pugs and Shih Tzus, are brachycephalic dogs. They suffer from breathing and respiratory issues that cause them to live a more sedentary lifestyle. Swimming is not a suitable form of activity for these dogs. They may also be very sensitive to getting overheated, which can be dangerous for them.

An adult toy or low-energy breed requires anywhere from 30-60 minutes of exercise a day. For some dogs, that means a slow walk around while for others, it’s a few games of fetch in the back garden. Of course, all dogs’ activity needs depend on their age and ability.

Moderately active dogs

From the Terrier or Utility Groups, and possibly the Gun Dog group

Some examples: Airedale terrier, Scottish terrier, Cocker spaniel, English setter.

Moderately active dogs typically:

1-3 hours per day,

Like to go for 2 walks each day to stretch their legs, love being let off their lead to roam. They tend to fall asleep at home after they’ve been out and about. These dogs enjoy being trained and are mostly confident and well behaved with strangers.

High energy, active dogs

From Working or Hound Groups, and possibly the Gun Dog Group

Some examples: Border collie, Labrador, Golden retriever, Belgian Malinois, German Shepherd.

High energy dogs typically:

3-6 hours a day

  • Like to go for more walks than you do, preferably somewhere they can run free, disappearing off into the distance when let off their lead! Are always ready to go and are active around the house, even after a lot of exercise. These dogs tend to never get bored of playing ‘fetch’ and may be a little underweight. Probably a little over-enthusiastic when meeting new people!

Very high activity dogs

These dogs are often bred to do sports and activities in extreme conditions. For instance, sled dogs are built for long distance work, sometimes hundreds of kilometers, exposed to very low temperatures. These somewhat special dogs require a lot of exercise both for their physical and mental well-being.

Tend to be from Working Groups

Some examples: the Siberian Husky, the Canadian Eskimo Dog,

High energy dogs typically:

These dogs have amazing endurance and need lots of mental stimulation. They quite literally can’t get enough exercise, so be prepared!

Exercise for older dogs

As dogs age, their gait may stiffen with arthritis, and they may tire more quickly on walks. Your senior dog might not move as fast or far as she used to, but exercise is still a vital part of her everyday routine! Joint supplements can help with stiffness; talk to your vet about this option.

In general, older dogs need about 30-60 minutes of exercise a day, broken into two or more “activity sessions.”

For some dogs, that may mean standard walks. For dogs with joint issues, swimming can be a wonderful alternative.

Health Issues and Exercise

It’s not just older dogs that are especially prone to arthritis or inflammation of the joints. Signs to watch out for are limping, panting or lameness. These breeds include Great Danes as well as some of the normally high-energy dogs such as German Shepherds or Labradors. Naturally if your dog has arthritis, it is not recommended to engage in a sport that requires lots of jumping. In any case, it is recommended to take your dog to the vet for regular check-ups. He or she will be able to spot any health issues for your dog as well as advise you on the most appropriate exercise regime for him.

As mentioned above Brachycephalic dogs suffer from breathing and respiratory issues and they may also be very sensitive to getting overheated.

Spaces and Places for Fitting in Dog Exercise

There is a saying, “An active dog is a good dog.” No matter the size, breed or age of your dog, keeping him busy and energized will help him live a long, happy life! Even if you’re cramped for space, there are plenty of fun, exciting options for you and your best friend.

  • Make walk time less monotonous by taking your dog to the local park, dog park, beach or national forest. These special outings will give him the opportunity to explore new surroundings and enjoy lots of exercise.

  • Dog parks are another perfect, cheap option for dogs who enjoy the outdoors and plenty of playmates.

  • Using Social Media you can find private and secure ‘dog fields’ in your local area for hire. These provide a wonderful opportunity to run and play games as well as providing new sights and smells.

Don’t forget that mental stimulation is just as important as physical exercise. Don’t be afraid of taking new paths with your dog, going to different dog parks in your area, or introducing new toys and games to your routine. Most importantly, spend time exercising daily, not just on the weekends, even if only for a short time.

We all want our dogs to thrive and live life to the fullest. Even during the busiest of times, you can provide your dog with the exercise and activity they need by hiring outside help or supplying him with toys and treats during the workday.

  • Investing in a dog walker is a great way to ensure that your dog gets the midday exercise he needs. About 20-30 minutes of walking around the neighbourhood will keep him active and healthy.

  • Dog toys such as squeaky toys and food puzzle toys are excellent sources of fun for dogs who love loud noises, mysteries and yummy surprises.

  • Doggie daycare is a great option for dogs who love to socialize and enjoy playtime outside of the house.

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