We could all benefit from incorporating more exercise into our day. This is just as true for your dog as it is for you. Exercising with your pup can be a fun way to enjoy some quality time outdoors and give your pet (and yourself) the activity they need to keep them happy and healthy.
How often your pet gets that exercise can have tremendous advantages on their behavioral patterns and overall well-being. Too little time outside on walks will make them stir-crazy, while too much can leave them exhausted.
How Often Should You Be Walking Your Dog?
Your dog, no matter its breed, size, age, or temperament needs and craves robust physical exercise. But you may not be sure how much your pet requires or if you're doing enough to ensure their positive physical and emotional health. Is your idea of taking your dog out for a walk letting them out to run around in the backyard? Or do you prefer to take long rambling strolls through your neighborhood?
Let's examine all of the factors that play a role in ensuring that your dog is getting the exercise they need to live a long and happy life.
Going “Out” And Going For “A Walk”
So what's the difference? Both of these options offer plenty of opportunities for exercise and activity, and it gives your pup ample outdoor time to enjoy the fresh air.
But when you let your dog “go out” it typically means you're letting your pet run around in the backyard or some other confined space. While this can be exciting and stimulating at first, it does become somewhat familiar after repeated sessions. There's nothing wrong with backyard time and dogs usually love getting a lot of it, but there are inherent limitations that come with being stuck in the yard.
When it comes to bathroom time and giving your pet some quick relief, running out to the backyard is perfectly acceptable. But to make sure your pup is getting the exercise they need, nothing beats a good walk. Whether you go for a wander just around your neighborhood or get in the car and head to a local park or arboretum, a walk can provide so many more benefits for your dog's physical and mental wellness.
Taking A Walk
There's a big, exciting world out there beyond the backyard, filled with all kinds of sights and smells that are sure to encourage your dog's natural instinct to explore and investigate. A walk or hike allows them these opportunities to get the blood flowing, the brain firing, and the nose sniffing.
Be sure to always walk your dog on a leash. It's not just safer for your pet but may also be the law in your area. A leash greatly reduces the potential for a dog to run into traffic, chase other dogs and animals, and wander off unattended. With a leash walk, your pet has the ability to socialize safely with other dogs and acclimate to the outside world more successfully.
Incorporating your pet into the everyday hustle of life will also help them feel more comfortable out in public interacting with other adults and children. Over time, your pup will become familiar with this setting and growing to enjoy being on a leash. Some dogs will need more time to get used to the restrictions that come from leash walking versus running free on your property. The more often you walk with the leash, the easier it becomes for you and your pet.
Need a cute new tag to show off on your walk? Be sure to take a look at our collection of unique dog tags.
Why Is It Important to Walk Your Dog?
Most of the time you take your pup for a walk, it's to let them go to the toilet. This could take a few minutes if neither of you feels like venturing out all that far. But a walk shouldn't always be about a quick bathroom break, and taking a stroll together offers so many more benefits.
Exercise is essential for keeping your pet healthy, and there are few activities better than going for a walk. The following are just a few of the reasons why a nice, long walk is vital for your pet's wellness.
Humans and dogs alike need regular activity to preserve and protect the joints. Routine movement keeps the joints healthy and strong. When the joints are kept in good working order, that promotes mobility and wards off the pain and discomfort that comes from inactivity over long periods of time. By regularly walking your dog, you’re helping to ensure they have a happy and healthy life.
Maintain Proper Weight
Weight gain and obesity can have a detrimental effect on your pet's health. Too much weight on the legs can lead to joint issues and other difficulties that may limit mobility and movement. Excess weight is also bad for the heart and organs. But when you take your pet for routine walks you can keep your dog's weight under control by burning off extra calories and maintaining strong heart health.
Remember, dogs will often relieve themselves as they walk. This necessary function helps to preserve your pet's regularity and promotes positive digestive health.
Deciding How Often To Walk Your Dog
Every dog needs to be walked. But the requirements for your particular dog may be very different from another dog based on the size and breed of the dog. There are other factors that should be taken into account such as age, health, and physical attributes unique to your pet. Considering all the pertinent factors that apply to your pet can make a big difference in deciding how often to walk your pet to ensure he or she gets the exercise they really need.
The most important thing to remember is to never force your pet to walk longer or further than he or she is able. If your dog is showing clear signs of fatigue, then it’s time to wrap it up and go home.
Smaller breeds like Chihuahuas and Dachshunds are typically less active by nature, but that doesn't mean they should get fewer walks. These smaller dogs just don't need to go out as far or as long. For small dogs, a half-hour walk per day should suffice. Just be careful about any potential risks that exist for your pup. Bulldogs, as an example, may only withstand about 20 minutes of walk time before growing exhausted or overheated.
Dogs that are slightly larger than their low-to-the-ground counterparts will typically need a little more walk time. Breeds such as Cocker Spaniels or Boxers need more robust walks to get enough activity to keep them healthy and strong. Plan for at least an hour of walk time per day if your pup falls into the medium-size category of dog.
The size of large dogs allows them to be more comfortable with taking longer walks across a wider distance around the neighborhood. As a result, larger dogs such as Collies, Rottweilers, and Labs would do as well on a 30-minute walk as they would a 2-hour walk. Generally, these dogs benefit from at least 1-1.5 hours of walking per day. However, there may be other factors to consider, such as age, that can require more or less time outside.
Walking Time by Breed
The size of your dog isn't the only factor to consider when choosing how long to take a walk. High energy breeds will typically require more time out and about than a low energy breed. A walk is all about allowing your pooch to expend their energy and stimulate their mind. Regardless of breed, every dog needs the right amount of exercise to remain healthy. While a lower energy pup may need a shorter period of time to exercise, it's just as important for them as it is for a mid or high energy pup who wants to run and play all day long.
Low-energy breeds such as Pomeranians and Malteses will usually need 20-30 minutes while mid-energy breeds such as Cocker Spaniels and Boston Terriers will need about 45-60 minutes. High-energy dogs like German Shepherds and Huskies will be outside for as long as you can handle, but 2-3 hours should do the trick.
So how often should you walk your dog? There is no hard and fast answer to that question as it all depends on the type of dog you own. This information should be applied as an overall guideline to help you decide what walk schedule is best for your pet.