How Often Should You Walk Your Dog?

Walking the Dog

Walking the Dog

Dogs need regular exercise to keep them in good physical and mental health and experts generally agree that this should involve at least one daily walk. However, a lot will depend on your dog’s breed. Some breeds will benefit from just one walk per day, while others should be walked several times per day.

Not sure how often your dog should be walked?

Here is our guide.

Why Your Dog Needs Regular Exercise

The most obvious benefit of exercising your dog is to keep them fit and to help them to maintain a healthy weight. Overweight dogs are at greater risk of conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and respiratory conditions. It can also put increased pressure on the joints, ligaments and tendons.

A less obvious by-product of inadequate exercise is destructive behaviour, such as chewing. Frustration and boredom can lead your dog to destroy items around the home and this can be a strong sign that they are not getting enough exercise.

How Often to Walk Your Dog?

Much will depend on your dog’s age, breed and general health.

Active breeds will benefit from at least half an hour of aerobic exercise each day and a further one to two hours of activity throughout the day. Hunting and working breeds such as labrador retrievers, hounds, collies and shepherds fall into this category.

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On the other end of the scale, short nosed breeds tend to need less physical activity and can be fine with a relatively short walk each day.

Ideally, your dog should be tired after a walk (although not completely exhausted!). Older dogs and those with health problems should still exercise to some degree, although not as much as their younger and healthier counterparts.

If you are not sure how much activity is recommended for your particular breed, speak to your vet about putting together an exercise plan that takes your dog’s health and general condition into account.

If your dog has not been getting as much exercise as they should, it is best to start slowly and work towards getting the recommended amount as their fitness and strength builds up.

Alternative Exercise Options

Walks are not the only way for your dog to get some all-important exercise. If the weather is bad, why not try some dog-friendly indoor games to keep your pet active? These games can be fun additions to your dog’s physical activity and can help to keep them mentally stimulated.

[Photo Credit: benjgibbs]

  • Stephanie Presdee

    General rule for puppies (especially big breeds) is 5 mins per month of age–so 5mth old = 25 mins..split into two strolls. Play or interactive play with mental stimulation benefits puppies more than pavement pounding.

  • Eliza

    I agree with Stephanie. To many puppies especially the bigger breeds get to much exercise when they are young because the new owners are so enthusiastic. This can lead to hip and joint problems.

  • Gremlin

    My old lab lived to be 14 and never had a problem with her hips, despite the vet telling me she had HD when she was a year old ( I wanted to breed from her so had her hips x-rayed). She didn’t leave the small/medium garden until she was 6 months old and I’m sure this had a lot to do with her remaining healthy until her last few weeks.
    Also, years ago people did not walk their dogs like we do today. It seems to be a fairly modern idea.

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