DOG / health & care
How Much Exercise Does My Dog Need?
An important part of caring for your dog is making sure they get enough exercise. Exercise is important for a dog's physical and mental health. Without it, they can have a tough time staying healthy and happy.
What are some of the best ways to exercise your dog and how much of it do they need? Knowing these things has a lot to do with the type of dog you have, how big they are, how much they eat and so much more. It’s always important to consult with your veterinarian about health-related issues surrounding your pup. They are the ultimate authority on how to care for your dog.
Why is Exercise so Important for Dogs?
There are many reasons why exercise is important for a dog. Some of those include:
Keeps Them in Shape
The most obvious reason that pet parents should exercise their pup is to keep them in good physical shape. Exercise can help keep off excess weight, promote and support good heart health and more which all play a role in how comfortable, healthy and happy your pup is throughout their lifetime. As they age, a good exercise regimen can minimize some potential health issues and potentially extend the life of your pup.
Exercise can play a huge role in the development and health of a dog’s joints. A lot of things contribute to joint health, like weight, genetics, and breed, as well as other factors such as how much and what types of exercise your pup is getting.
Just like exercise can support the health and minds of humans, it can for dogs too! Working out their minds and bodies can give them much-needed mental and physical stimulation that can boost happiness.
A regular exercise regimen with your pup can also strengthen the bond between you both. So, set aside time every day that is dedicated to the two of you spending time together. This can increase trust and bring you closer together.
There are a dozen more reasons why exercise is so important to your pup’s health and happiness. So how much exercise does your dog need?
How Much Exercise Does Your Dog Need?
How much exercise your dog needs will depend on a variety of different factors. Some of the main influencing factors include:
- And More
The amount you exercise your dog will also depend on your routine and what works for the both of you. Ultimately, your pup needs exercise that complements what their breed is used to and what lifestyle they live.
For example, if you have a sheep-dog that was bred to herd animals and run constantly, then you will need to make sure they are getting plenty of exercise to keep up with what their body needs and was bred to do.
Another example would be if you have a husky that was bred to pull sleds for miles and miles. Even if that isn’t the main job of a husky in your home, that is what their body was programmed and bred to do and they might need a heavy exercise regime in order to stay healthy.
Other common household breeds including lap dogs such as Yorkies and Pomeranians might not need such an intense exercise routine. Do some research on the specific breed you have or the one you plan to bring home to figure out what they need to stay healthy and if that fits into your lifestyle. Remember that too much exercise can also be a bad thing and to talk to your vet about the perfect balance.
Beware Over-Exercising Your Pup:
Imagine not having gone to the gym for 5 years and then getting up and running a marathon…that’s probably not the best idea! Sometimes pup’s get so excited about playtime that they don’t remember to slow down. It is important to slowly introduce exercise into their routine to prevent injury or exhaustion. However long your dog is used to playing right now, slowly add time in 5-10 minute increments until they gain some strength and endurance.
4 Great Ways to Exercise Your Pup:
One of the most classic ways to exercise your dog is to attach a dog leash to their collar or dog harness and take them for walks or runs. These are a great option because they also get pet parents some exercise in the process. On walks, your dog can work their entire body while getting to see new areas of the community and explore the outdoors.
For pet parents who have social dogs or want to allow their pup to run around without a leash, dog parks are a great option. Here, your dog can run and run and run until they wear themselves out, getting in the exercise they need.
Check and see if there is an agility yard in your area. Some places will allow you to rent a space where your dog can run privately and explore obstacle courses without their leash on. This is also a great way to stimulate your dog’s brain and teach them new things.
For anyone who is outdoorsy or has a dog that likes to explore, hiking can be a great option. Hiking introduces your dog to different settings that have changes in elevation and lots of new things to experience.
Remember to always talk to your veterinarian about the best way to exercise your pup and for how long. Also, remember to always keep your dog well hydrated and fed so they have energy for all of this play and exercise. On days where you can’t go outside, try a dog puzzle toy or a dog rope toy to keep them entertained!