Dogs love going on walks. In fact, it is one of the most enjoyable parts of a dog’s day! However, it can be hard to decide how long you should walk your furry friend. It is a question that many pet owners find themselves asking when they are out on their daily walk. Are five minutes enough? Ten minutes? Twenty?
The answer to this question is not as straightforward as you might think. The dog’s breed, size, age, and health are some of the factors you need to consider. In this article, we will provide some general guidelines for determining how long to walk each type of dog each day, so you know if your pup is getting the right amount of exercise.
Why Walk My Dog?
Spending time walking together outside does wonder for bonding between humans and dogs. You’ll both enjoy it as a chance to relax outdoors while getting excitement from exploring together. Plus, it provides an excellent opportunity for socialization with other dogs and humans. Not only that, but it also offers a lot of health benefits. Below are some of them:
1. Weight Control
Dogs who do not get enough exercise will become overweight over time, which leads to all sorts of health complications. Walking your pup can help them maintain a healthy weight and avoid obesity.
2. Improve Joint Health
Walking your dog can strengthen muscles around their joints, which can help to relieve pain and discomfort. In fact, the VCA Hospitals says that walking can help dogs who experience joint pain and stiffness.
3. Strengthen Both You and Your Dog’s Heart Health
Walking will strengthen your dog’s cardiovascular system, and as a result, maintaining a healthy heart. It will also help lower your blood pressure and reduce the risk of developing other chronic conditions like diabetes, kidney failure, or cancer.
4. Prevent Undesirable Behavior
Boredom and anxiety are a common problem that dogs may have if you don’t provide enough mental stimulation and physical exercise. That will lead to destructive behavior such as chewing up your shoes, furniture, or anything else in the house because they have nothing better to do! Walking can help tire them out, maintain their mental health, and keep their mind sharp, hence avoiding unwanted habits. What’s even better, you can use this chance to teach your pup to stop pulling on a leash.
5. A Happy Life
You will be able to enjoy all of the benefits that come with a happy, healthy dog. All those endorphins released can put your dog in a better mood. Also, they will have better mental health because they are less stressed out about being cooped up in their home all day long. Plus, a tired and well-exercised pup is more likely to sleep through the night without getting up and cause nuisance barking!
Read More: How To Stop My Dog From Barking At Night
How Long Should I Walk My Dog?
Now comes the question about how long you should walk your dog. As mentioned earlier, it varies depending on a few things, but there are some general guidelines you can follow.
1. Dog Breeds
Every dog breed requires a different amount of exercise. High energy dogs (sporting, herding, and working breeds) like Labrador Retrievers, Border Collies, and Australian Cattle Dogs may need long walks of two hours per day. That means you will have to split that into either two walks a day, an hour each, or four walks a day, 30 minutes each.
Other breeds generally require less exercise. A 20- to 30-minute walk a day may be enough to keep them mentally stimulated, especially true for snub-nosed breeds like Bulldogs and Pugs who may develop respiratory problems.
2. Your Dog’s Age
As a general rule of thumb, puppies should only be walked 5 minutes per every month of their age. That means that a dog that is five months old only needs to be walked 25 minutes a day, whereas a ten-month-old puppy can walk up to 50 minutes per day.
It is important not to overdo it. The reason is that puppies’ bones are still growing and can potentially lead to joint problems if over-exercised. Also, puppies are generally too small and fragile for long walks, so take them on shorter journeys or stick to outings in your backyard if possible. But if your furball prefers to stay out longer, you can carry them on your back with a pet carrier backpack!
For Senior Dogs
As you would expect, older dogs who are seven years or older will need less exercise than younger dogs because their bones cannot withstand as much weight-bearing activity as they used to be able to.
Ideally, they would be walked for 30 minutes a day on average, and that’s, in fact, what most experts recommend. It’s also a good idea to break that 30-minute walk into, say, three shorter walks so that it’s less stressful for them.
Also, keep in mind that senior dogs may need more breaks during the walk. Recognize these signs as an indicator that it’s time for a break before your pup becomes overexerted and starts limping from too much exercise!
3. Factor in Your Dog’s Size
The question “how long should I walk my dog” also depends on your dog’s size, and larger dogs will generally require longer walks than smaller breeds. Here’s what we recommend:
- Small dogs need to walk at least half an hour per day. And instead of walking your pup for 30 minutes in one session, shorten the length and break that into two 15-minute walks as it can be tiring and stressful for little dogs having to trot while following the average human gait.
- Medium size dogs need a minimum of 30 to 60 minutes of walks each day, depending on the breeds. They can handle a little more exercise and can generally walk comfortably alongside you.
- Large size breeds require at least 30 minutes of walking each day to help them stay healthy, but they’ll thrive and benefit from longer durations of walks (2 hours). They can walk comfortably with the average human pace and enjoy a more intense physical activity like running.
- Giant dog breeds like Great Danes, Newfoundlands, and Saint Bernards don’t require as many walking sessions throughout the day compared to their smaller counterparts. Between 30 minutes and 45 minutes, total, should do the trick!
4. Health Status
Does your pup have any health conditions? Dogs recovering from surgery or sickness may not be able to walk as much and need shorter sessions. So, you have to be more cautious when deciding how long to walk your dog as you don’t want to overexert them, and you may need to speak with your veterinarian for advice on the matter.
5. The Temperature
You have to consider the outside temperature as well.
If it’s a hot day, your dog might not be able to walk as much. You can, of course, get them drinking water and shade, but if they show signs of fatigue or panting too often, you need to slow down on the walking pace and cut the walk short as you don’t want your pup to get too overheated.
And vice versa for chillier days. This way, you keep your canine safe from frostbite and hypothermia. If it’s too cold out there, let your dog exercise indoors instead!
Tips to Keep Your Dog Safe on Walks
- Walk your dog on a leash. It’s important to walk your dog on a leash so that your pup won’t run into traffic or hurt themselves by trying to chase after cars. And make sure to use a harness that fits your dog.
- Dogs need water! Don’t forget to bring it with you. Keep a water bowl on you, or bring along a water bottle designed for dogs to make sure they don’t get dehydrated.
- Let your dog wear boots or consider applying paw wax. Boots or paw wax can help protect your dog’s paws from rocks, sharp objects, hot pavement in the summer, as well as ice, snow, and salts in winter.
- Put a GPS tracker on your canine. It’s a good idea to put a GPS collar tracker on your dog just in case they get lost. With these devices, you will have the ability to locate your dog in real-time. And some models even allow you to monitor your furkid’s health!
The Bottom Line
Walking your dog not only provides them with the daily exercise they need but also gives you time outside in nature where you might have otherwise stuck at home on a couch or office chair all day long.
So, how long do you need to walk your dog? As you can see from the above, it depends! A lot of factors go into determining how much exercise they require. However, most dogs need to have at least 30 minutes of walk each day.
But if you’re like most dog owners who don’t have much free time, find a friend or family member who can give your fido more attention so they can get enough exercise. It’s best if that person is canine-savvy because they’ll know how to keep up with your pup!
Can’t find anyone to walk your furry friend to keep your dog’s health in tip-top shape? Don’t fret! There are plenty of dog walking services out there. They can surely help you get the job done. Otherwise, you can also bring your dog to doggie daycare centers, kind of like a dog park, where they can run around off their leash all day.
The key is to find what works for both you and your pup. And don’t forget about how much fun it can be! Until next time, keep on walking!