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Are you feeling a bit guilty and thinking to yourself that you’re not spending enough time with your pup? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. A lot of dog owners feel this way. If you’re one of them and asking yourself “how much exercise does a dog need everyday”, we’ve got you covered.
By exercising with your dog, you get the opportunity to improve your dog’s quality of life, as well as your bonding time. Your dog will feel closer to you than ever.
So how about it? Let’s answer your question on “how much exercise does a dog need everyday” starting with the benefits of exercise to your pet.
Why Should You Let Your Dog Exercise?
Similar to humans, dogs also need exercise and at a daily rate, too. Your dog’s capability to exercise may be affected by its breed and age but regardless, every dog still needs the physical activity.
Help your dog’s metabolic system and body to function better, tone the muscles and engage the mind with daily exercise.
Do Dogs With Disabilities and Senior Dogs Still Need To Exercise?
Of course! Senior dogs, and those with disabilities still need to engage in any form of activity to make sure that the body is still working normally and in best conditions.
Dogs who have arthritis also need exercise since this can help in keeping the joints moving. In cases where you feel like your dog might experience too much pain when exercising, be sure to check with your veterinarian first and ask about pain medication or health treatments for your dog.
So What Happens When Dogs Do Not Exercise?
The lack of any physical activity results to frustration, unhealthy body and boredom to your dog. Here are a few resulting conditions and issues whenever a dog lacks mental stimulation and physical activity.
- Loss of Muscle Mass – This can affect your dog’s body tremendously.
- Destructive Behavior – Whenever you bring your dog out for a run or a walk, you might have noticed that his or her destructive behavior has decreased. It may come back if you don’t bring out your pup for an exercise as often as he or she used to.
- Weight Gain – Since your dog is not burning any calories by lazing around all day, expect him or her to become overweight in no time. This can be very much true if your opting to provide your dog with lots of treats as a compensation for the lack of attention that you’re giving him or her.
A Few Tips Before Beginning A Dog Exercise Program
Before you go and start a dog exercise program, make sure you allot a day in visiting the veterinarian for your dog’s health check. This way, your vet can recommend an exercise plan for your dog.
Now that you know what, let’s move on to some of the guidelines in starting an exercise program for your dog.
How Much Exercise Does A Dog Need Everyday?
The overall exercise needs of your dog will depend on his or her breed, age, size, and current health. Nevertheless, your dog should spend around 30 minutes to 2 hours of exercise daily (which includes the weekends).
But your veterinarian can also provide input in helping you decide how much exercise does a dog need everyday.
If your dog is from the working, hunting, or herding groups, you’ll need to provide him or her lots of exercise. At least around 30 minutes of rigorous exercise and one to two hours of activity everyday will be enough for a healthy dog belonging to these groups.
On the other hand, short-nosed dogs might not be able to tolerate a lot exercise if he or she is still young. You’ll have to wait for your pup to be fully grown. And by then, a casual walk around your neighborhood will be enough.
A general rule that most dog owners use is to check if your dog is always pacing or a bit restless. This helps you determine whether or not your dog needs exercise. If he or she’s not restless, a short walk will be sufficient.
Starting An Exercise Routine For Your Dog
If you’re planning on helping your dog get an ample amount of exercise everyday, you’ll have to start slowly then go on longer walks. Aside from that, you need to remember to always allow a warm-up period and a cool down period for your dog.
To warm up your dog’s muscles, a leisure walk around the neighborhood will be enough to prepare him or her for a strenuous activity. Every now and then, go to different parks, introduce new games and toys to your usual routine or take new running paths. These can help with your dog’s mental stimulation.
If your dog belongs to one of the breeds best for off-leash hiking, schedule a few weekend hikes with your furbaby! Hiking is one of the best dog exercises.
Examples of Activities For Dog Exercise
Now, depending on your dog, here are some activities you can do to help him or her exercise.
- Hiking (flat trail)
- Playing fetch
- Hiking (with hills)
- Playing a more intense game of fetch
- Agility training
Mentally Stimulating Exercise:
- Trying a new walking route
- Training exercises
- Playing with puzzle games and feeders
- Scent training
All in all, don’t pressure your dog into doing activities that may be too strenous for him or her. You migh end up with bigger problems if you do. Always start slow and observe your dog’s responses.
At the end of your exercise, your dog shouldn’t be exhausted. Instead, he or she should be happily tired. Don’t forget that there’s no need for you to add calories to your dog when you add to the daily activities.
If you have any concerns about starting an exercise routine for your dog, talk to your veterinarian.