How Much Exercise Does A Dog Need?

Dog experts often recommend daily exercise for canines to prevent behavioral problems.

The reason for this advice is clear: a well-exercised dog is able to release nervous energy and will nap instead of engaging in behaviors that will become a major problem.

A period of daily exercise will not only keep him fit, but it will also keep him emotionally stable so you can enjoy his company more throughout the day.

Tips To Get Your Dog Exercising

Here are a few ideas for providing daily exercise for your canine companion:

A Morning Walk

dogs exerciseA brisk morning walk around the block or in a park area can be the perfect start for both your day and your dog’s day.

The physical workout will work out the kinks from the night’s sleep and get both you and your dog into the outdoor air.

You will start your day with a better attitude, and your dog will be relaxed and ready to sleep while you head off to work.

The Midday Ramble

Some breeds, such as Dalmatians, pointers and border collies, are more active than others and need more frequent opportunities to walk, run and sniff.

If you are fortunate enough to be home during the day, you can provide a midday ramble through the neighborhood with your dog.

If you are at work during the day, consider hiring a dog walker to come in at midday.

Your dog will look forward to the company and will benefit from the additional physical exercise.

An Evening Outing

If you are a runner, by all means, take your canine friend with you. Make sure you accommodate his water needs, as well as your own.

Also, make sure you provide rest periods.

Remember, your dog is wearing a full fur coat and can only sweat through his paws and through panting.

Evening Play

Your dog will enjoy an evening play period after you get home from work.

You can set up a simple obstacle course with pillows, blankets and a hula-hoop for jumps.

A small workout like this will allow him to enjoy some additional exercise and will provide bonding time for you and your dog.

Exposure to New Sights and Sounds

Another good way to ensure your dog uses up his nervous energy is to provide exposure to new sights and sounds.

Processing these new experiences expend a significant amount of canine energy, and he will be ready to relax at home after a day at the beach, walking with you at the local outdoor festival or spending time at a friend’s house.

Increasing exercise time will result in greater enjoyment for your dog and fewer behavioral issues.

You will find that providing these opportunities for your dog will not only improve his health and well-being but your own as well.

How Much Exercise Do Puppies Need?

Puppies have a lot of energy, but they wear out quickly and don’t need as much exercise as an adult dog.

Puppies grow nonstop and take many naps, so plan on shorter bursts of energy from your puppy.

In general, puppies need several short (5-10 minutes) exercise sessions throughout the day. For a puppy, exercise could just be playing!

The more time you spend with your puppy, the more you’ll be able to know when they’re ready to play and when they need a break.

A good guideline is to walk five minutes for every month of your puppy’s life, up to twice a day.

Therefore, a four month-old puppy can safely go on a 20 minute walk twice a day.

Exercise For Adult Dogs

Breed plays a significant role in how much exercise your adult dog needs.

Of course, age and health are the two biggest factors to consider when exercising your dog, but the breed is important too.

The general rule is adult dogs should get a minimum of 30 minutes a day – twice a day.

Adult Sporting Breed Dogs

Some of the more active dog breed types that require more exercise include:

  • Terriers
  • Shepherds
  • Retrievers
  • Pointers

In general, an adult herding or sporting breed dog needs 60-90 minutes of exercise each day.

This should include harder exercise like running, playtime with other dogs, or a hike.

Extra-active dogs may like agility exercises or even strenuous running and hiking.

Less Active Adult Dog Breeds

Toy Breeds

  • Maltese
  • Yorkies
  • Chihuahuas

Giant Breeds

  • Great Danes
  • Mastiffs
  • Newfoundlands

Brachycephalic or Smushy-Nosed Breeds

  • Pugs
  • French Bulldogs

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 the neighborhood.

Exercise For Senior Dogs

As dogs age, their gait may stiffen with arthritis and they usually tire more easily on walks.

Your senior dog might be a bit slower, but exercise is still an important part of his everyday routine.

Joint supplements can help with stiffness and arthritis.

Swimming is a great exercise alternative for senior dogs, as well.

Taking your dog for a swim in the pool or a lake (while wearing a flotation device!) allows him to stay active without putting further stress on his joints.

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

Mental Stimulation

Mental stimulation plays a huge role in a dog’s health. Like physical exercise, mental activity wards off boredom, improves mood and keeps your dog healthy.

All dogs can benefit from mental stimulation, but it’s especially important for dogs who are injured or are getting older.

Older dogs might not be able to do as much physical exercise, but they still need mental challenges.

Mental activity can be anything from playing with food puzzles and other forms of interactive, mental play.

Even daily interaction with your dog will help satisfy some of his or her mental exercise needs.

In Conclusion

Your dog is always your guide to let you know if he or she has had enough daily exercise.

If they are tired enough each day and night and seem happy to just relax after a walk, that’s always a good indicator.

Push your dog enough to be tuckered out, but not too hard that he or she gets injured.

7 Comments
  1. Reply
    LilyJ 11/14/2015 at 12:03 pm

    I just can agree that dogs need exercises and two walks in the morning and in the evening for 10 minutes is not the option. So people, if you don’t have enough time to spend it with your dogs – it’s better not to have them, because every dog deserves to be happy and happiness is not a 20 minutes walk during the day.

  2. Reply
    Andrea 11/15/2015 at 8:34 am

    I know what you mean about dogs needing their exercise! So many troublesome behaviors can be helped with consistent exercise, including aggression, jealousy, nervous habits like chewing on walls and furniture, neediness, running out the door, lack of appetite, etc. Dogs are hard-wired to want to go out on the “hunt” every day – they wouldn’t be able to survive without a chance to get out, so Mother Nature made it really fun for dogs. Great article! 🙂

  3. Reply
    Jim Liston 11/15/2015 at 6:21 pm

    I know how difficult it is to exercise your pet when you live in the city, but going for walks is beneficial for your pet’s health, and yours! Having recently moved out of town, we are fortunate that our dog is free to roam our 3 acre property. She loves chasing squirrels but hasn’t caught one yet, and always comes back when we call her. One of our favorite things to do after work is to walk in the woods while she runs around smelling and digging everywhere.

  4. Reply
    Mike 11/16/2015 at 5:38 am

    This is the exact reason I haven’t “allowed” myself to have a dog right now. I’m stuck living in an apartment at the moment and I don’t want to keep a dog all cooped up in a tiny apartment. They need at least some kind of yard to be able to run free and get the exercise they need. And yeah I know I could get one of those tiny dogs, but forget that. Give me a labrador!

  5. Reply
    Caitlin 11/17/2015 at 6:36 am

    Great post! Our dog has a large, fenced backyard to run around in, but it would probably be helpful to take her on more walks. I think she’s been spending a bit too much time lounging in the sunshine and not enough time exercising!

  6. Reply
    joyce gribble 10/05/2017 at 11:21 am

    it is always good for your dog to exercise, it relieves the dog of stress and stop him of exhibiting some behaviours, it enables the dog to get used to people and also play with them.

  7. Reply
    joyce gribble 10/05/2017 at 11:26 am

    Dogs need to exercise to free them of stress and other abnormal behaviour.
    #Daily exercise,training your dog.

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