You’ve seen how excited your dog gets when you jingle the lead, and there’s a very good reason. Dogs not only love to exercise daily, they need to. Find out how much exercise your dog really needs.

How much exercise does your dog need


How much exercise does my puppy need?

If you’ve just welcomed a puppy into the family then you should begin with small sessions of exercise, but remember to restrict these to your backyard until they are ready to go outside. Puppies will not need as much exercise as adult dogs. If you overwork your puppy too soon, you may damage their developing joints and cause early arthritis. Start with an easy 10-minute walk on their new lead each day and then gradually increase the duration by five minutes every month. You can mix up your puppy’s exercise routine by playing a game of  tug of war.

How much exercise does my adult dog need?

The average human needs to exercise 30 minutes each day to maintain a healthy weight. The average adult dog on the other hand needs about 30 to 60 minutes. If you don’t feel like joining your dog for the full hour, the difference is an easy fix. Simply walk your dog down to the local park and let them run around with the other dogs. Alternatively, games like fetch are much less strenuous for you but will help your dog get a good workout. Use a variety of chase toys, like frisbees and balls with launchers to keep your dog entertained.

How much exercise does my senior dog need?

Much like humans, when dogs grow old they slow down and have less energy. This means that your faithful friend won’t be joining you on as many runs as they used to. However, it’s important that you still keep up a daily exercise routine for your senior dog as their reduced metabolism means they are at risk of obesity if they don’t stay active. Consider breaking their daily activity into smaller sessions, for example doing 15-20 minutes of exercise two or three times a day. For senior dogs with joint problems, try low-impact activities like swimming to keep them active without straining their joints.

How much exercise does my dog need based on their breed?

How much exercise your dog needs will also depend on their breed. Herding and sporting dogs, such as Border Collies and Labrador Retrievers, will benefit greatly if you exercise them for 90 minutes or more per day. On the other hand, some small dog breeds like Italian Greyhounds and Lhasa Apsos need less exercise. Breeds with flat noses, like Pugs and Bulldogs, can have trouble breathing if the workout becomes too strenuous. Your Greencross Vet can recommend the right amount of activity for your unique dog.

The consequences of under-exercising your dog

Similar to humans, a lack of exercise along with a bad diet can lead to obesity. Overweight dogs can suffer from myriad physical health problems, including diabetes, respiratory disease and heart disease. An overweight dog will also be more prone to joint, mobility and skin problems. At home, an under-exercised dog is more likely to dig up your backyard, chew up table legs and engage in attention-seeking behaviour, such as barking. If you think your pet may have problems with their weight, talk to your local Greencross Vets.

Dogs that are overfed and under-exercised may gain weight because their metabolism is likely to slow down. If you’re having trouble getting your dog to shed excess weight, see your local Greencross Vets to discuss a tailored weight management program covering how much exercise your dog needs and the right diet for them.

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