Just like humans, dogs need regular exercise and fresh air. A dog’s mental and physical health will suffer without regular walks.
However, the exact amount of exercise a particular dog needs will depend on a variety of factors, including their age, breed, size, and health conditions, among other factors.
We’ll go over some general rules to help you understand how often you should be walking your dog, including the needs of small-, medium-, and large-sized dogs. Additionally, we’ll explain how a dog’s age can impact their exercise needs and when you should walk your dog each day.
Why Do Dogs Need Walks?
As mentioned before, walks are an excellent opportunity for dogs to get the exercise their bodies require. A healthy diet and an appropriate amount of exercise can do wonders for a dog’s health and well-being.
Excitement, Stimulation, and Exercise
Dogs won’t run and walk enough to meet their daily exercise requirements if they’re simply let out into a backyard. Walks provide dogs with physical and mental stimulation as they explore new scents and sights around a neighborhood or park.
An Opportunity to Socialize and Explore
A walk can also allow dogs to socialize. They’ll often have the opportunity to see and even greet new humans and dogs. For a puppy, or if you and your dog have just moved to a new area, these walks can be an incredibly valuable opportunity for them to become familiar with their new surroundings.
A Regular Opportunity to Bond with You
Dogs are naturally social animals. A walk offers quality time between a dog owner and their pet.
Walking your dog on a leash will strengthen your relationship and help you teach them important obedience skills. You can even work on commands such as “sit” and “lay down” as you enjoy your walk together.
How Often Should a Dog be Walked?
As we explained previously, the frequency and the duration of the walks a dog requires are determined by a variety of factors. We’ll examine a dog’s walking needs based on their size and age.
Walking Small Dog Breeds
Small breeds can be a little tricky. Some, like a Yorkshire Terrier, have relatively low energy levels, while others, like a Jack Russel Terrier, are extremely energetic. However, small dogs should generally be walked at least 30-minutes per day.
Short-nosed breeds, such as a French Bulldog or a Pug, are prone to respiratory problems and often have difficulty breathing. These breeds should be walked at a slower pace in a temperate environment, but their health will still benefit from walking every day.
Small breeds with high energy levels usually benefit from closer to an hour of walking per day.
Walking Medium-Sized Dog Breeds
Medium-sized dogs usually have higher energy levels. More athletic breeds, like a Boxer or Australian Shepherd, need to be walked for longer periods of time each day. But medium-sized dogs should generally be walked for at least 45 to 80 minutes per day.
In terms of pace, most medium-sized breeds can comfortably keep up with a brisk walking speed.
Walking Large Dog Breeds
Like small-sized breeds, larger dog breeds vary significantly in their energy levels. While some breeds, like a Doberman or a Rottweiler, need longer walks due to their high energy levels, others, like a Great Danes or a Saint Bernard, are less energetic.
You should generally walk large, low-energy breeds for at least 30 minutes per day, while the more energetic breeds should walk for closer to 1.5 hours per day.
The Impact of Age
Unsurprisingly, younger dogs have higher energy levels. As such, dogs below five years of age need more exercise and longer walks. As they age, the pace and duration of their daily walk can be reduced.
Older dogs should be walked at a slower pace. Consider walking your older dog for several short, slow-paced walks throughout the day. This will reduce stress on their joints and heart.
You should walk your dog daily. However, as we’ve explained, factor in your dog’s energy levels, size, and age when determining how far and how fast you’ll walk.
Breeds vary considerably, so it’s worth looking into your breed’s exact exercise requirements.
However, a good general rule is to walk your dog more than once a day. It allows them to experience some fun and excitement throughout the day, which can help with anxiety.
Here’s a sample walking schedule:
• A 10-20 min walk in the morning
• A 20-60 min walk at a faster pace in the evening
• A 10-20 min walk at night
You can adapt this schedule to fit your lifestyle, but the most important thing is that your dog gets to spend an appropriate amount of time exercising and exploring each day.
Not only is exercise incredibly important for your dog’s health, regular walks are bonding opportunities that can help prevent anxiety, aggression, and destructive behavior. A dog that’s taken for regular walks will always be happier than one that is neglected and ignored. A virtual consult with a Hello Ralphie veterinarian can determine the best walking schedule and recommendations for your dog!