How Long Should I Walk My Dog?

Life is busy. Responsibilities abound. Sometimes, it’s all too easy to slack off and overlook the most basic duties—but both you and your pooch benefit from keeping active! Be sure not to skimp on exercise for your dog. Walking with your furry friend is a great form of exercise and socialization, but each dog has different needs. Here are some tips for creating the perfect workout for you and your pooch: 

The Benefits of Exercise

Corgis, German Shepherds and all breeds in between require daily activity for peak physical health. Obesity, one of the most common diseases in pets, is easily preventable with regular exercise. Staying active also wards off certain breed or age-related illnesses, such as arthritis and cancer.

In addition to the physical benefits, exercise improves your pup’s mental health. Insufficient exercise might cause destructive outbursts, which often leads to damaged furniture, clothes and other belongings. 

Considering the above, the general sweet spot for exercise is anywhere between 30 minutes and 2 hours per day.

Your Dog’s Exercise Needs

While the previously mentioned time frame is a good starting point for most owners, it’s not a hard and fast rule. Just like we have ideal routines, so do our pups. 

One main factor is size. A common misconception is that smaller dogs don’t require the same level of exercise as larger breeds. The Chihuahua, for example, has a reputation for its hyperactive nature. As a result, the recommended exercise for these little rascals is on par with larger breeds, including 30-minute minimum walks.

The second key factor is breed. Many of the breeds we know and love today were raised for specific purposes in the past. Two main camps include hunting dogs and lapdogs. Beagles, Retrievers, Pointers and many more were bred for hunting wildlife and require significantly more physical activity than other dogs. Meanwhile, Pomeranians, Shih Tzus, and Pugs were preferred for their small sizes and even tempers. They have substantially lower physical endurance than the average pup (though they still love a good run through a field!).

General opinions can only go so far. If you’re still uncertain about the exact needs of your dog, consult your vet for a more personalized assessment.

Properly Exercising Your Dog

The duration of your dog’s exercise is one of many considerations. Activity also should provide meaningful intensity and stimulate the brain. 

If your dog frequently tugs at the leash on walks, consider increasing your pace to a brisk jog. The undeveloped terrain on a hike also provides a healthy challenge for active breeds.

Another option is to incorporate mid-walk activities at off-leash locations. Chasing after Frisbees or tennis balls in the midst of a walk makes the exercise significantly more demanding.

Accommodating a Demanding Schedule

Now that we’ve reviewed the needs of our dogs, let’s consider what may impact our ability to fulfill them—namely, adult responsibilities. For many owners, a demanding work routine and other commitments can leave little time to exercise your pup.

If you can’t carve out the necessary time, consider hiring a dog walking/day care service. Patrick’s Pet Care offers discount rates on walking services from anywhere between 10:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m., and also is available outside these hours. No matter what unique needs your schedule requires, we’re always willing to discuss options. After all, your dog’s health is a priority!