You’re a devoted dog owner, and you spend some time outside with your dog when you can – but is it enough?
Each dog has individual needs, but you can get a good idea of how much exercise they’ll require to be healthy and happy when you compare your dog with others of the same age and breed.
What Kind of Dog Do You Have?
The type of job your dog was bred to do will have a strong influence on how much exercise your dog needs. A guide published by the People’s Dispensary For Sick Animals (PDSA) lists some popular breeds and suggestions on how much activity they need each day, though your dog’s breed might not be shown.
Dog breeds are classified in 7 groups: Herding, Sporting, Non-Sporting, Working, Hounds, Terriers, and Toy breeds. Dogs within these groups were bred for similar purposes and will usually have similar needs for exercise.
Herding breeds include the German Shepherd, Australian Cattle Dog, and Border Collie, just to name a few. They’ll need 80 minutes to over 2 hours of exercise each day.
Working breeds include the Siberian Husky, Saint Bernard, and Rottweiler. Working dogs are usually large and powerful, and need 80 minutes to over 2 hours of exercise every day.
Sporting breeds include the Labrador Retriever, Cocker Spaniel, Pointers, and Setters. They’ll need about 80 minutes to over 2 hours of exercise each day.
Non-Sporting breeds include the Lhasa Apso, Poodle, Boston Terrier, Bulldog, and Dalmatian. These breeds are actually not very similar to each other. The non-sporting group is really just a roundup of dogs that don’t fit into the other groups. Their need for exercise may vary.
Hound breeds include the Dachshund, Beagle, and Greyhound. Put that powerful nose to work for combined mental and physical exercise. They’ll appreciate 30 minutes to 80 minutes of exercise each day.
Terrier breeds include the Jack Russell Terrier, American Pit Bull Terrier, and Yorkshire terrier. Terriers are known to be “terrors” when they don’t get at least 60 to 80 minutes of exercise each day.
Toy breeds include the Chihuahua, Pug, and Pomeranian. They’re usually small and bred for companionship, so they’ll need less exercise than other dogs. Just 20-60 minutes of total exercise each day is usually enough.
For brachycephalic, or, short-nosed dogs like the Boston Terrier or Pug, over-exercise can be risky. These dogs can overheat quickly. Be sure to exercise them in mild weather or play plenty of indoor games.
You don’t always need to exercise your dog for hours at a time. In fact, it’s best to break up their total daily exercise into shorter sessions.
How Old Is Your Dog?
The amount of exercise your dog needs is very much related to their age.
Young puppies, while they can be hyper when they’re awake, don’t always need much exercise. Just a few minutes of playtime, and they’re ready for yet another nap.
Large breed puppies can suffer from early joint damage if their workouts are too strenuous. Wait until after your dog is a year old, after bone growth plates have closed, before going on big hikes and long runs.
Your dog’s need for exercise peaks between 1.5 and 4 years of age. Young, healthy dogs need a variety of types of exercise, including running, walking, tugging, and free play.
As your dog gets older, regular exercise can prevent obesity and arthritis. Avoid rough play like tug-o-war for older dogs that are beginning to show their age. Short, frequent walks are a good choice.
Signs Your Dog Needs More Exercise
It can be tough to consistently provide enough opportunities for exercise for your dog. You might feel more energized some weeks, or may not have enough time to go on walks every day due to your schedule. Try these fun dog games for creative ways to tire out your pup.
If your dog is not getting enough exercise, they may start to put on too much weight. Your dog might have accidents indoors if they’re not getting enough walks. They may even show signs of boredom, chewing up rugs and walls, and they may be more excitable and hard to control.
Call Up Your Dog Walker!
If you’re in Silver Spring, Takoma Park, or DC, Ready Pet Go can provide walks and pet care to help keep your dog healthy and happy.
Schedule a Meet & Greet today – we look forward to getting to know you and your family.