Shockingly, thousands of dogs in the UK never get a walk. It’s a damning fact that we live among so many awful pet owners. But even if you think you’re doing a good job, there’s a chance you’re underestimating your dog’s needs. Just how much exercise does a dog need everyday?
Fulfilling your dog’s health and social needs should not be a case of reaching the bare minimum. Just like with kids, making sure your dog is fit, healthy, and happy should be a joy and a privilege. But to get it right, you need to know what your dog’s needs are in the first place. Let’s take a closer look.
How much exercise does a puppy need everyday
Puppies only have little legs. Their bones and muscles are still developing, so it’s important not to overdo the exercise they get. If you damage their joints at this stage, it can lead to arthritis later on.
But you still need to make sure he gets enough exercise, or his bones and muscles won’t develop properly. Exercise is also good for his mental health. Taking him out for a walk or to the park enables him to exercise his natural instincts to explore and to mark his territory. And it gives him a chance to meet people and dogs, which is essential for his social skills and his spiritual wellbeing.
Give your puppy two walks a day. Each walk should be the equivalent of five minutes for every month he has. So a four-month old can have 4x5=20 minutes at a time.
This limit can last until he is fully-grown. Check with your vet for your specific dog. But for a general guide, small and medium dogs are fully-grown in nine-ten months. Large and giant breeds may still be growing at up to 18 months old.
It’s recommended that humans get at least 30 minutes of exercise a day. So the puppy months are a good time to start getting to grips with balancing your exercise needs with those of your dog. It’s a beautiful opportunity to bond and get healthy together!
How much exercise does a fulld grown dog need everyday
The amount of time a fully-grown dog needs to exercise each day varies from breed to breed. Older dogs, or those with arthritis, might need a bit less. You should see what works with your dog, and consult with your vet each time you meet.
Toy dogs, especially those with known breathing problems such as the pug, will really only benefit from 20 minutes outdoor exercise a day. Any more and you may be pushing what’s comfortable for them.
But be sure to make up extra time by playing with them indoors. Anyone who’s seen a pug skidding across the lino chasing his toy rag knows that pugs have plenty of energy to burn, despite what they pretend.
Small and mid-sized dogs such as terriers and spaniels might need anything from 20 minutes to an hour each day. Try them. Your dog should be tired when you bring him back from his walk, but shouldn’t be knocked out for the whole rest of the day!
Larger terriers and golden retrievers require well over an hour of exercise each day, while Labradors, border collies, and other significantly-sized, energetic dogs will appreciate at least two hours walking and chasing about on soft ground.
Even the humble Staffie likes a couple of hours exercise. But whatever your dog, try to divide that exercise between multiple sessions to limit the toll on their joints and respiratory system.
Exercise at home
A dog really needs to get out and about every day. But if there is an occasional day when he can’t go out because you’re sick and have nobody to stand in for you, you can still give him a bit of physical and mental exercise at home.
You can recycle cardboard packaging such as egg boxes by hiding food inside so he has a bit of a challenge and a struggle to get it out. Or try hiding treats in the house to get him moving around.
Even step aerobics can work for dogs. Tell him to ‘stay,’ go to the top of the stairs, and then lure him up with a treat. Repeat until you’re both exhausted!
If you love your dog and took the responsibility of bringing him into your home, giving him enough exercise is a must. Make it fun for both of you, and it will enrich the lives of both you and your dog.
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