THE AGE OLD QUESTION: HOW LONG TO WALK YOUR DOG
Pet parents want their pups to live a long, healthy, and happy life. Most know that a great way to help ensure that happens is by exercising them on a consistent basis. Everyone knows you need to go on walks for potty breaks, but there is often confusion surrounding how long to walk your dog for true exercise. Much like humans, there is no “one size fits all” answer to the question, which contributes to the variety of answers that are found through various resources.
Walking your dog is of course great for their health and wellness, but it’s important for other reasons as well. “Bad” behavior can be greatly reduced in your home when you pup is properly exercised. Regular walks give them a healthy outlet to burn off energy, which means when they are home they will be all tuckered out! Additionally, walks are an excellent way to bond with your pup, as well as provide enrichment with varied routes. If you’d like to learn more about exercising your pup in general, make sure to read our previous blog here.
WALK TIMES VARY GREATLY BY BREED
Depending on the source you reference, there are anywhere between 200 and 220 different recognized dog breeds today. Add in pups who are not purebred and you have a seemingly infinite number of combinations of dogs, all with their own unique characteristics and traits. When you understand the diversity with over 200 breeds, it’s no surprise that pinning down a specific walk time is a difficult thing to do.
Most vets agree that an average dog, depending on the breed, needs between 30 minutes and 120 minutes of exercise per day! This is a huge range of course, but many breeds like Golden Retrievers, Border Collies, and Australian Shepherds are very high energy, active dogs. Other pups, especially those on the smaller side, like Pugs and Boston Terriers, would require much less exercise.
It’s important to remember that exercise is not necessarily synonymous with a dog walk. There are many other ways you can exercise your pup, which may help reduce walk times. Check out our blog on exercising your dog here.
SIGNS TO WATCH FOR FROM YOUR PUP
As we mentioned in our previous blog, pups use body language to express how they are feeling. If your dog is still very high energy in the home, you may need longer walks. This behavior doesn’t necessarily mean your pup will run around your home and jump on furniture, but it may look more like restless behavior.
Behavior to watch for includes constant pacing in your home. This behavior may not be high energy, but if your pup can’t seem to sit still, it’s likely excess energy that needs to be burned off.
If you notice your dog is content in your home, relaxing and even napping throughout the day, you’re probably on the right track exercise wise.
FREQUENCY OF WALKS
Just because you have a breed of dog that may require 120 minutes of exercise each day, it does not mean that all needs to be completed at one time. In fact, exercising your pup multiple times a day is what is recommended by most vets.
The frequency of walks also is impacted by your own availability as well. Most pups will need to go outside three times a day to do their business which is a great opportunity to get a walk in. Based on work schedules, a longer walk in the morning and evening which a quick mid day break is more common.
Using local dog walking services is also a great way to ensure your pup gets the right amount of exercise – even while you’re working.
There are other consideration to keep in mind when you are trying to determine how long to walk your dog such as their age, the climate you live in, and the terrain your path is on.
As pups age, it’s likely their exercise needs and ability will slow down. Just like humans, mobility is eventually impacted even if your pup has had a long, healthy life.
Additionally your climate and terrain you walk on can make a big difference in walk times. Since we are located in Florida, we have to keep the hot summer temperatures and humidity in mind when we walk our pups. Make sure to bring along water on longer trips, or when you are walking on more challenging terrain like mountains or other inclines.
CONSULT WITH A PROFESSIONAL
At the end of the day, it’s important your pup gets enough exercise to keep them mentally and physically healthy. Your vet is a great resource to help you determine that right amount of walking and exercise your pup needs based on a variety of factors. No two pups are the same, and just like humans, should be treated as individuals. As loving dog parents, it’s out job to find the right mix of exercise for our pups!
Want to join the conversation and share how you exercise your pup? Join our Facebook community here, we’d love to hear from you!