What happens if your dog doesn’t get enough exercise? How much walking is too much? Is just walking a dog enough?
Do Dogs Need Exercise Every Day?
Well, this answer depends on a few factors: your dog’s age, breed, and health. Exercising your dog every day would be best, as long as it’s not hurting them. And some breeds just don’t need as much exercise as others.
Puppies tend to have much more energy than adult dogs—just like with humans. But puppies’ energy comes in multiple short bursts, so it’s best to give them several short walks throughout the day, or even multiple short “play times.” This will keep them entertained and exercised enough, but not too much.
Adult dogs with enough energy may require a walk or two every day. But high energy canines like Border Collies and Coonhounds might need a large yard to run around in, or multiple walks in a day. While low energy dogs like a Basset Hound just want to chill and lay around most of the time. But that doesn’t mean they don’t need walks—just probably not twice a day.
How Much Walking is Too Much for a Dog?
Again, this depends on the above factors. And if your dog is in need of more exercise, but is only used to getting a 10-minute walk once a week, don’t try to go full-bore right away. Take little steps to gradually increase the number of times per week you exercise them, and the number of minutes exercised each time.
But if your dog has health issues, or is a senior pup, it’s important to avoid over-exercising your dog. Dogs with arthritis still need exercise to stay healthy, but can’t always walk for very long distances at a time. Swimming can be especially nice because it doesn’t put any weight on your dog’s hips and joints.
For older dogs and dogs with health issues, it’s best to consult with your veterinarian about the amount, length of time, and types of exercise that are best for your dog.
Exercise Safety Tips for Dogs
It’s important to keep your dog safe during exercise activities. Here are a few simple tips to check off your list.
✓ Keep them hydrated. Dehydration is very dangerous. Always have a water bowl or dog water bottle handy.
✓ Check the ground temperature. Make sure the asphalt isn’t too hot to walk on. Use the 7 Seconds Test. Just place the back of your hand on the asphalt for 7 seconds. If it burns you, it will burn your dog’s paws. If necessary, you can try dog boots for hot pavement.
✓ Use a dog life jacket when swimming. This is especially important when your dog is swimming in a large, deep pool, or in any natural body of water. They are natural swimmers, but they don’t usually get tons of practice. And sometimes the unexpected just happens.
✓ Keep track of your dog. Always use a leash and harness when you take your dog on walks, and make sure to have a collar with a customized ID tag. This will ensure your dog’s safety, and the harness will keep them from choking. You can also use a GPS Smart Collar. These smart collars not only help you keep track of your dog’s steps and physical activity goals, but they will show you your dog’s location in case they get loose and run off.
What Happens if Your Dog Doesn’t Get Enough Exercise?
Over 55% of dogs in the US are overweight. This comes from a combination of over-feeding and under-exercising. Being overweight can cause dogs to have heart and health issues, weakened immune systems, and it can cause or inflame their hip and joint issues. But walking a dog helps them lose weight. It helps them become healthier, stronger, and happier.
Just like with humans, exercise is an important part of a dog's overall wellbeing. Not only does it help with their physical health, it can help with their anxiety and overall emotional health too. Dogs crave exercise, outdoor time, and time spent with you. And when they don’t get enough, they often act out. They chew up things they aren’t supposed to, and jump on guests because they have too much energy.
Is Walking a Dog Enough Exercise?
Walking your dog is one of the best exercises for them because it’s consistent, steady movement that is good for their joints, and it can work up enough of a sweat. But if you want to mix it up a little for fun, to help your dog work out some different sets of muscles, or just to keep them mentally stimulated, try switching up their activities.
- Play fetch
- Go for a swim
- Run instead of walk
- Use dog agility equipment
- Go for a hike
- Have them run while you bike or skate
Indoor Games to Keep Your Dog Active
Are you stuck inside because it’s too hot, too cold, or you don’t have the right outdoor space? Try a few of these fun indoor activities for dogs.
- Run up and down the stairs
- Create your own dog obstacle course
- Play tug-a-war
- Play hide-and-seek
An Active Dog is a Happy Dog
Working out together and playing together strengthens your bond with your furry best friend. Like I said, they crave to spend more time with you, and more time running and playing. The more you exercise together, the more you’ll get to know each other, appreciate each other, and the better your dog will listen to you. The moral of the story is—it’s time to get active.