If you have a canine friend or are contemplating getting one, you need to know how much daily exercise your dog needs. There is no one-size-fits-all rule when it comes to dogs and exercise. The right amount of daily exercise for dogs depends on several factors, including age, health, and breed.
How Much Exercise Does a Puppy Need?
When choosing a puppy of a particular breed, consider that breed’s exercise requirements. It’s not a good idea to opt for an active dog breed, such as a border collie or an Australian shepherd, if you don’t have the capacity for a very active lifestyle. Conversely, it’s unrealistic to expect a Pekinese or a chihuahua to join in with your half-marathon training.
What Are the Zoomies?
A puppy has more energy than an adult dog and requires exercise in short bursts — like the zoomies. If you have a puppy, you have probably noticed that they get a case of the “zoomies” several times a day. Your puppy will madly race around the house before collapsing into a tired puppy heap.
- Several short walks or play sessions throughout the day are better than one really long walk, which could be too hard on your puppy’s growing body.
How Much Exercise Does a Senior Dog Need?
If your dog is getting on in years, exercise is still important but should be appropriate to your dog’s age. Neglecting your aging dog’s need for exercise can actually decrease their health and lifespan.
Daily Exercise for Dogs With Health Issues
If your adult dog has a medical condition, such as heart or respiratory issues or hip dysplasia, ask your vet to design an appropriate exercise routine.
Dog Exercising Tips
A daily medium-length walk might be enough for a breed with lower exercise requirements. However, there are a variety of other ways to exercise your dog, including:
- Hiking. Dogs enjoy the great outdoors, so take your active dog along on your next hiking adventure.
- Water. Swimming provides low-impact exercise for dogs with joint problems. A doggie life jacket can help your dog stay in the water longer.
- Fetch. Vary your dog’s fetch routine by tossing a ball into water or making them run uphill. Change the game up with a Frisbee or a favorite toy.
- Dog Sports. Sports are not just for people. There are many dog sports available to provide exercise for your dog and fun for both of you.
How to Exercise Your Dog Indoors
Stormy weather can impact your dog’s exercise routine, and very hot or cold days may pose health risks. Indoor dog exercises, such as those described below, can help your best friend burn off energy and stay in shape.
- Stairs. Running up and down stairs is great for building muscle. However, take care if you have a dog with a long body and short legs, e.g., a corgy or dachshund.
- Hide-and-Seek. An indoor game of hide-and-seek or chase gets your dog up and moving and provides mental stimulation.
- Treadmill. If you have a high-energy breed, your dog can learn to enjoy a treadmill workout.
- Agility. If you have enough space, you can construct an agility course in your home using specialized equipment or household items, such as boxes, broom handles, Hula-Hoops, and ottomans. You might even live near a club with an indoor agility space.
How Much Exercise Does Your Dog Need?
Although exercise will help give your dog a long, healthy, and happy life, the amount and type of exercise should suit the kind of dog you have. Prioritizing your dog’s health can help you enjoy many years with your four-legged best friend.
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