On average, dog owners walk their dogs eight hours and 54 minutes each week. That’s an hour and 16 minutes every day. Dogs need exercise for their physical and mental well-being. How do you and your dog measure up? And is it really necessary to walk your dog for an hour every day?
Don’t worry. There are many factors, including your time, that affect how often you should walk your dog each day. And some dogs need longer walks than others. We’ll explain the vet-recommended amount of time and the other factors that can affect how long you need to walk your dog.
Factors That Affect How Often You Need To Walk Your Dog
Several factors determine how often you need to walk your dog:
Your dog’s breed is the most significant factor when it comes to how long they need to exercise each day. Smaller dogs like Papillons require way less exercise than sporting dogs or working dog breeds. These dog breeds will need the most exercise to get out all their energy:
- Australian Shepherd
- Labrador Retriever
- Golden Retriever
- Rhodesian Ridgeback
- Border Collie
- Siberian Husky
- Boston Terrier
- Catahoula Leopard Dog
- Irish Setter
Less active dog breeds that will want shorter walks include:
- Toy Breeds
- Brussels Griffon
- Basset Hounds
- Chow Chow
- Great Danes
- Bernese Mountain Dogs
- Saint Bernards
As a general rule:
- Smaller dog breeds need about 20-30 minutes of exercise.
- Sighthounds need 30-45 minutes.
- Giant breeds need about 30-45 minutes
- Sporting breeds need 1-2 hours.
If you’re unsure about your dog’s activity level, then talk to your vet to find out.
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Younger dogs also need to get more energy out. Puppies especially need lots of exercise. But younger dogs also expend energy playing. When your dog is young, you may want to walk them a couple of times a day.
Dogs that are over eight years old will need less exercise and can have other ailments and diseases that make it harder for them to walk for long periods of time. Be aware of your older dog’s cues and take them home or let them rest when they show fatigue.
Most dogs can tolerate about 20-30 minutes of walking per session if they are in good health. More athletic breeds can walk or hike for up to two hours before they need a rest. If your dog is sickly or overweight, then your dog may only be able to walk for ten minutes before they need a break.
Watch for your dog’s physical cues that tell you they are tired and need a break. Cues that signal that your dog is tired include:
- Lying down
- Sniffing the ground
- Licking Lips
- Needing a drink of water
If your dog has any of these signs of fatigue, take a break and head home.
Your Dog’s Health
A dog’s health significantly affects how long it can go for a walk. Your dog may prefer to walk less if they have:
- Muscle Atrophy
If your dog has a disease or ailment, talk to your vet about how long you should walk them.
Your schedule is going to greatly impact how often your dog walks each week. The CDC recommends that people get at least 150 minutes of exercise each week, but getting in 150 minutes can often be challenging with a busy schedule.
If you’re unable to walk your dog during the week, you may want to consider a dog walking service to guarantee your dog gets the exercise they need to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
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The Ideal Amount of Time to Walk Your Dog Every Day
The ideal would be to walk your dog for about 20-30 minutes every day, which is about 150 minutes every week. If this is difficult to fit into your schedule, try to walk your dog for 10-15 minutes at least 2-3 times a week. If this is all you can do, supplement exercise by playing with your dog every day.
Benefits of Walking Your Dog Often
There are numerous physical and mental benefits to walking your dog.
Walking your dog keeps your dog physically healthy by:
- Controls their weight by burning calories.
- Strengthens their joints through regular motion.
- Encourages regular digestion through regular bowel movements.
Walking your dog also has several mental benefits such as:
- Provides quality, bonding time together.
- Stimulates curiosity and exploration.
- Discourages anxious and destructive behavior by stimulating their minds.
- Reduces attention-seeking behavior like barking or whining.
Walking Your Dog is Great for Both of You
Whether you go for ten minutes or an hour, getting outside for a walk is great for both you and your dog. It is a healthy way to spend time together as well as get the necessary exercise needed to maintain a healthy lifestyle. By regularly walking your dog, you’ll contribute to their overall well-being and extend their lifespan.
Find ways to get outside and explore the world around you with your dog. Go for a hike, head to the beach, or visit a national park to enjoy the beautiful world around you.
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