If you have a dog, you've probably wondered, "How much exercise does a dog need on a daily basis?"
The answer varies from dog to dog and is depending on age, health, and breed, just as it is with people. However, there are a few general principles you can follow to ensure that your dog is getting enough exercise.
Exercise for Puppies
You may have discovered that your puppy has a case of the "zoomies" on a daily basis. The signs of the zoomies are easy to spot, and include frantic racing around the home or outdoors, followed by a much-needed snooze or rest break.
Since puppies have more energy than adult dogs, they require more activity in short spurts, like when you start to notice them getting the zoomies. Because puppies are continually growing, taking multiple short walks or playing sessions throughout the day is a better option than taking one long walk, which could be too taxing on your puppy's developing body. it's important to remember that each puppy is unique, and the more time you spend with her, the more you'll discover about the amount of exercise she requires to stay happy and healthy.
Exercise Requirements for Adult Dogs
The amount of physical activity your dog requires is largely influenced by his breed. Border Collies and Belgian Malinois, for example, require far more activity than low-energy breeds like the Shih Tzu or Bloodhound.
When choosing a puppy, keep in mind the exercise requirements of the breed. It is unrealistic to expect your toy Poodle to accompany you jogging miles upon miles each day, and it is not a good idea to buy or adopt an energetic dog breed unless you already live an active lifestyle.
The health of your dog is also crucial. If your adult dog has a medical condition, such as hip dysplasia or cardiac or respiratory problems, see your veterinarian about an activity plan that will keep him healthy without causing him pain.
Exercise Requirements for Senior Dogs
Your senior dog may not be able to run as long as she once could, and you may have to limit her running to a walk, but exercise is just as vital for your senior dog as it is for your puppy. Consult your veterinarian about exercising your elderly dog, and keep an eye on her behavior. You know your dog best and can determine if he's feeling a bit tired, or ready for more.
All dogs, regardless of age, benefit from exercise because it keeps them mentally stimulated and active, which can help them live longer and minimize the risk of obesity.
Outdoor Exercise Ideas for Your Dog
Taking your dog for a short stroll around the block is a good place to start, and it may be sufficient for breeds with minimal activity requirements. Even low-energy dogs like a change of pace now and then, and there are numerous ways to exercise your dog in your daily life including:
- Hiking: It comes as no surprise that most dogs absolutely love being outside. Take your dog on your next vacation, or check out some new parks and trails in your neighborhood.
- Swimming: Most dogs enjoy being in the water, and swimming is a terrific low-impact exercise for dogs with joint problems. A life jacket will allow your dog to stay in the water for longer, giving him a better cardio workout. And, can also prove beneficial for senior dogs who have difficulties with mobility.
- Training and Tricks: Obedience exercises may not appear to be exercise, but practicing recalling, retrieving, and reinforcing fundamental instructions provides mental stimulation as well as activity. You may also teach your dog new tricks like weaving to keep him entertained.
Indoor Exercise Ideas for Your Dog
There may be times where it’s not possible to play outdoors whether it’s storming or your dog (or you) simply isn’t up to it. Fortunately, there are exercises you can complete indoors including:
- Stair Climbing: When you can't get outside, running up and down the stairs a few times is a wonderful way to release some energy while staying healthy. Just be careful not to overwork your dog, as this activity is just as demanding for dogs as it is for us. Dachshunds, Pembroke Welsh Corgis, and other dogs with long backs and short legs should be handled with caution because stairs can be difficult for them.
- Hide-and-Seek Treat Edition: Hide-and-seek is a great way to get your dog active while also providing mental stimulation. Place some treats around the house and watch your dog use his sense of smell to locate them.
- Treadmill: A treadmill is an excellent kind of dog exercise for high-energy breeds. Of course, this must be handled cautiously, but many dogs learn to love the treadmill. The treadmill shouldn't replace daily walks, but is perfect for days with inclement weather.
- Indoor Agility: When we think of agility, we normally think of vast indoor agility venues or outdoor courses. However, home items like broom handles, boxes, Hula-Hoops, and ottomans can be used to create your own agility course. It doesn't need to be expensive; make it your own.
Your Individual Dog
Every dog is unique and, although you can gain a general understanding of exercise needs based on breed, your dog may have her own needs. Some dogs who are generally low-energy may have sparks of the zoomies just as some dogs known to have high-energy may not require as much exercise as originally planned. Get to know your unique dog while taking their breed characteristics into consideration. Then, plan accordingly. If you’re unsure, discussing exercise needs with your veterinarian can be beneficial to your dog’s health and happiness.