If there’s one thing dog owners know for certain, it’s that their pups need a lot of exercise.
Like people, dogs benefit greatly from physical activity. It releases endorphins (the “happy” chemical), increases endurance and flexibility, strengthens joints and muscles, and even helps support healthy bowel movements.
When it comes to exercise, it’s important to understand that every dog’s needs are different. While some breeds are satisfied after a daily walk, others need open fields and an active lifestyle to stay happy and healthy.
On average, dogs need between 30 minutes and two hours of exercise a day, but there are a few important factors to take into consideration.
How Much Exercise Does a Dog Need Every Day?
If you’re wondering how much you should be exercising your pooch on a daily basis, consider the following factors.
Naturally, a puppy will require a different amount of exercise than a senior or adult dog.
Puppies tend to have significant bursts of energy — also known as the “zoomies” — then get very sleepy all of a sudden and lay down for a nap. They likely require more frequent exercise in shorter bursts than an adult dog. It’s better to incorporate a lot of small play sessions into their daily routine rather than one or two long walks, as this can be overwhelming to their developing body.
Adult dogs tend to have less bursts of high energy and require a more consistent routine. They’ll likely need longer walks than puppies and will be able to participate in more challenging aerobic activities like hiking and running.
When it comes to exercise for senior dogs, it’s important to work with your vet to understand your dog’s limits. Although your pooch might not be able to run or walk as fast or as far as he used to, it’s still important to ensure he’s getting in his daily walks and playtime.
Depending on the breed, a dog may have naturally higher or lower energy.
High-energy dog breeds like border collies, Australian shepherds, and greyhounds tend to need more exercise than low-energy breeds like basset hounds, bulldogs, and pugs. Even with the less active breeds, it’s important to make sure they’re doing enough physical activity, because they can be more prone to obesity and health complications due to lack of exercise. It’s best to talk with your vet about your dog’s breed to ensure you’re providing an ample amount of exercise.
If your pup suffers from a medical condition like hip dysplasia or joint pain, work with your vet to understand the right amount of exercise for optimal health. Too little might result in weight gain and additional strain on joints and muscles, while too much could cause pain or injury.
Exercise Activities for Dogs
The possibilities for physical activity with your furry friend are endless, but your best option may depend on where you live and the weather that day.
Here are a few ideas for getting your dog up and moving:
- Walk: Whether you circle your neighborhood or head to the park, daily walks are crucial to every dog’s well being.
- Run: Some breeds are more appropriate to run with than others, however, running with your dog is a great bonding activity. Just make sure you bring water and avoid running right after mealtime.
- Hike: If you want to step it up a notch from your normal walk, hiking can be a great way to explore nature with your pup while also giving him some exercise.
- Swim: If you live near a safe, dog-friendly body of water, some dogs just can’t resist a good swim. Just make sure you stay close and keep a watchful eye on your pooch during this activity.
- Chasing: Running around an enclosed area like a backyard and letting your dog chase you can help increase agility — it also provides a significant amount or aerobic exercise in a short amount of time.
- Fetch: Throw your dog’s toy and watch as he scrambles to bring it back to you. Fetch is a game you can play outdoors or indoors if the weather is poor.
- Tug o’ war: Another outdoor/indoor option, tug o’ war is a fun way to engage your pup as he fights to snatch the toy away from your grasp.
As fun as these activities can be, if your dog already has joint issues, certain types of activities — like running, tug o’ war, and chasing — can compound impact and damage joints, so light exercise is much safer.
We also recommend incorporating a daily supplement chew to support joint health and keep exercising enjoyable for your pooch. Our Hemp Mobility Soft Chews contain important antioxidants anti-inflammatories that help keep your dog active and pain free.
No matter how you decide to exercise together, never forget how important it is to give Fido the opportunity to expel his energy and explore.