How Much Exercise Does A Dog Need?
A dog needs exercise to expend energy. Without it, he or she may get bored and develop anxiety or bad behavior. For example, a lack of exercise can cause your dog to start chewing on shoes or furniture; it could very well bring on a plethora of unwanted habits. Exercise helps to maintain your dog’s health and fitness. Regular exercise can even improve your dog’s mental health.
The amount of exercise your dog needs will be dependent on its age, breed, and size. Older dogs typically need less exercise than younger dogs. As dog's age, they start to develop achy joints and muscles. You should still exercise your older dog, but make sure the activity isn't too strenuous for them. Always lean on your veterinarian for exercise suggestions, especially with aging dogs.
Small Dog Breeds
Most small / toy breeds only need 30 to 60 minutes of exercise per day. Chihuahuas and Yorkies are two examples of small dogs that do not require a lot of exercise. These dogs often appear to have a lot of energy, but their little bodies can only handle so much strenuous activity. Too much exercise can cause wear and tear on their joints over time, especially by running and jumping. Due to their size, they do not need a large area to get in the required amount of exercise.
Medium Dog Breeds
If you have a short-nosed dog breed, they also don’t require a lot of exercise. Pugs and bulldogs are two examples of medium-sized dogs that only need roughly 30 minutes of exercise per day. These dogs have a pushed-in muzzle, which can lead to breathing problems if they feel overheated. With that said, many medium sized breeds are hunting dogs. If you have a beagle or another type of hunting dog, you may need to get in 60 minutes of exercise per day.
Large Dog Breeds
Some large dog breeds need 60 to 90 minutes of exercise per day. Herding and sporting dogs are two examples of large dog breeds that require a lot of exercise. Since large breeds are often working dogs, they get bored easily. You should exercise your large dog at least twice per day. These dogs usually prefer high-intensity workouts. If you have a collie or shepherd, you can train it to perform fun activities. For example, you can entertain your dog by teaching it to run through an obstacle course.
Ways to Exercise Your Dog:
One of the easiest ways to get your dog some exercise is to take it on a walk. Your dog needs to move around so that it does not become inactive and overweight. A walk gives your dog a chance to smell new things, explore and see other animals. Even a simple 10-minute walk can mentally stimulate your dog. You can also use the walk as an opportunity to train your dog to heel, sit, and stay.
If you and your dog are somewhat athletic, you can always go running, skating or biking together. This is only an option if you have a well-trained dog. Your dog must stay with you instead of pulling ahead, lagging behind, or wandering off to the side. This high-intensity form of exercise usually benefits border collies and other sporting dogs. Working dogs get bored easily, so varying your workouts can help keep them engaged.
If your dog is in good shape, you can always take it with you on a hiking trip. Try to find a trail that is easy to navigate. Flat terrain usually works best so that you can keep your dog safe. Besides getting exercise, a hiking trip allows your dog to explore new sights and smells. Make sure to take plenty of water with you so that you can keep your dog hydrated.
Another simple way to exercise your dog is to play fetch. This is an excellent way to exhaust your over-energized dog without spending too much of your energy. All you need to do is find a toy that your dog enjoys, then toss it to be retrieved. This is an excellent way to bond with your dog.
Some dogs love to swim. For example, golden retrievers are natural swimmers and require little acclimation to the water. You should introduce your pet to the water as soon as possible. Never let your dog swim into the current. If you plan on taking your dog to the lake, you can always purchase a canine life vest for added safety.
Another form of exercise is mental stimulation. This type of exercise can be just as exhausting as physical activity. Using treat toys such as a Kong, treat ball, or a toy puzzle can engage your dog physically and mentally. And if you really want to make it fun for your dog, play along with them.
Consider weather conditions. Just like humans, canines can suffer from heatstroke and frostbite. If the weather is cold and you have a short haired or toy breed dog, use a dog jacket or sweater to keep them warm. Protect their paw pads from salt and hot asphalt, as it can be damaging and painful. Always have water on hand to keep your dog hydrated.
Dogs love companionship. Do not expect your dog to play and get exercise on its own. Most dogs spend their time lounging or sleeping when there is no one interacting with them. If you have to spend your day working, make time to walk your dog before or after work. If you are fortunate enough to work from or close to home, perhaps walk your dog on your lunch break. If you have a hectic work schedule, you can even hire a dog walker or ask your neighbor, a family member, or a friend to entertain your dog for a bit.
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