Having a dog isn’t just fun and games – that ball of fur is our responsibility. In essence, it depends on us in the same way a child depends on its parents. Thus, when deciding on how often to walk the pooch every day, we need to consider certain factors.
How often we’ll walk the dog depends on its age.
Even though puppies are adorable and a whole lot of fun, a lot can be said about their bladder “accidents.”
Since puppies are still quite small, they are growing by the minute, and with that, all their internal organs are under pressure. It’s not uncommon to find them peeing on the floor every half an hour – they just cannot help themselves!
So when it comes to the youngest ones, we will have to pay attention to their bladder. More importantly, we should let them walk about our backyard (or the park) as often as possible. That will also help us to fairly quickly teach them that they aren’t supposed to relieve themselves inside the house.
Older dogs, however, are more complicated in terms of how many walks they need during the day. As some experts would say, the older the dog is, the more walks it demands. Yet, that isn’t quite true once they are more than seven or eight years old.
When the pup hits puberty, it will show so much enthusiasm for walks that it will be very difficult not to take them out more than once a day. Hence, we do recommend dog owners to start slowly and introduce one shorter walk first, and then a longer one too. That way, the dog will get used to being outside, and it will actually learn to contain its natural needs while at home. The optimal number of walks is twice a day for about 30 minutes.
Still, the older they get, the less energy the dogs will have. Hence, in a few years, we will have to adjust the routine. They won’t be as keen to go out right away or run around. What’s more, the old age will remind them that their puppyhood days are long gone – so why not snooze on the couch instead?
Which breeds require more exercise?
A basic walk usually consists of us leading our dog on a leash and letting it sniff around, pee, play with some friends, etc. During that time, it gets to know the world around it; it smells flowers, meets new people, and on more than one occasion, gets to socialize with children too.
Yet, when it comes to active breeds, we have to note that those dogs require a bit more than just a walk. Retrievers, Shepherds, and similar breeds thrive when they’re outside. So, unless they can run around a few times a day (about 90 minutes) and release all their energy, they won’t remain as healthy as they are now.
Furthermore, when it comes to daily walks, dog owners should also consider the dog’s size. A bigger dog will usually want to run around with its friends and take part in games that will not only stimulate it mentally but tire it out. However, that’s not a general rule of thumb. Breeds such as Mastiffs and Great Danes are not known for their activity. In addition, smaller dogs, like chihuahuas, aren’t that keen on running or walking either.
Therefore, if every dog is unique and the expected genetic makeup cannot give us a clear answer, what should we do? Well, our best bet is to play by the dog’s rules. If it loves walks or running around, walking it twice a day for at least 30 minutes is a good idea.
However, take that recommendation with a grain of salt. If we have a flat-nosed dog, for example, a bulldog, which has breathing and respiratory issues, we shouldn’t expect it to jump up with joy when we dangle the leash in front of them.
A potty break is not a walk
Daily walks can bring about plenty of benefits:
Digestive and urinary health will improve, as the dog can quickly pee and poop wherever it wants
The joints will stay in top-notch shape – daily exercise promotes their frequent use and allows the dog to stay active
Weight loss and weight management, as walking is one of the best ways to keep pesky pounds off.
However, some owners think that a potty break is the same thing as a walk. After all, the dog is outside and has pooped or peed, which is probably what it wanted to do anyway.
Suffice to say, dogs require much more than just a plain old potty break. They are social creatures who want to learn more about the world around them. Most breeds thrive when they’re playing outside with all their furry friends. Therefore, letting them out only on potty breaks won’t do anything for their health or quality of life. In essence, it will make the dog anti-social and clingy, not to mention wary when strangers are around them.
So what’s the verdict?
When in doubt, opt for two half-hour walks per day and increase or decrease the amount of time spent outside according to the dog’s size, energy level, breed, and age. As said, these creatures depend on us, and we have to listen to what they are barking about.
Only that way can we know for sure we’ve done everything in our power to help them lead a long and happy life. Hope we helped to answer the question of how much exercise does a dog need everyday to all you canine lovers!