Understanding Your Dog’s Exercise Needs

It seems like an easy question when it comes to whether a dog needs a walk every day or not. But the answer isn’t always cut and dry.

Daily walks do more than provide your dog with physical exercise. They also serve as an enrichment activity that exposes them to new sights, sounds, and smells, which is good for their happiness and mental health. Without regular exercise and mental stimulation, dogs are more prone to destructive behaviors like chewing and digging.

When it comes to walks, several factors determine your dog’s individual needs.

Breed

dogs greeting each other on leashesSome dogs have high activity levels while others are natural born couch potatoes. If you have a dog that’s considered a sporting, working, or terrier breed, they could benefit from one or two walks a day. Since puppies are busy growing, it’s important to focus on shorter outings instead of one long walk.

Age

Your dog’s age also can play a role in their activity level. As a general rule, young dogs often need more exercise. As they move into their middle and senior years, they often have less stamina or issues like arthritis that can slow them down. Even if your dog has mobility problems, though, they still usually enjoy a slow walk outdoors.

Exercise Tolerance

Most healthy dogs in good physical shape can benefit from a 20- to 30-minute walk each day, and some can handle up to two hours at a time! Pay attention to your dog during your outings to see how they respond to the activity. And, if you have an older dog or an animal that’s overweight or has health problems, ask your vet for guidance on how to incorporate a daily walk into their schedule.

But what if you can’t walk your dog on a daily basis? Don’t worry; there are other ways to keep them mentally and physically engaged! Check out your local dog park or sign up for doggy daycare sessions! Want to up the ante? We also offer One-on-One Playtime and Nature/Urban Walks in the fresh air! All of these activities offer numerous benefits for a dog’s mental and physical health, so contact us for more details.

To increase your dog’s enrichment indoors, you can choose from several options. It’s easy to keep them challenged by adding obedience training into your daily routine. Or, increase the FUN factor with activities, like nose work and puzzle toys, from our Fun Ways to Play Indoors post!

Do you walk your dog every day? Tell us in the comments below!