We all know we should be exercising, going to the gym and staying healthy, but it’s tough. It’s even harder for your dog; they don’t have gyms and don’t know how to exercise if it’s not prompted by their owners. You are their personal trainer. So how much exercise does your dog need everyday?
Exercise maintains a healthy weight and keeps muscles and joints strong — just like in humans! A healthy joint is less likely to be injured, so you can avoid tears in cranial cruciate ligaments (CCLs). Large dog breeds are prone to joint issues, such as hip dysplasia and torn CCLs, so regular exercise is important to maintain their bone and joint health. If your dog has had a leg injury in the past or needs a little extra support, consider getting them a dog leg brace.
On top of that, dogs can get anxious without having an outlet for their energy, leading to destructive behaviors, such as barking, chewing, digger, hyperactivity and rough housing. Make sure you’re walking them, playing with them (like playing fetch or setting up an agility course), or taking them out to the beach or on a hike.
The short answer is that it all depends on your dog. Age and breed both play a role in how much they should be moving. But no matter what type of pup you have, they still need to be active.
Do not over exercise your dog! Doing so causes risk of injury.
Different Breeds Need More Exercise
A general rule of thumb is that smaller breeds or those with flat noses need less exercise than larger breeds. The recommended amount varies between 30 minutes to 2 hours per day.
There are seven different dog breed groups, all of which need different types of care.
The Sporting Group, which consists of Labrador Retrievers, German Shorthaired Pointers, Cocker Spaniels, and more, are typically mid-to-high energy dogs.They were bred to assist hunters with feathered animals. These types of dogs thrive in the hunt, so throw balls or discs for them to run chase or take them out for long walks through nature.
The Hound Group was bred to pursue warm-blooded prey. They are Bloodhounds, Dachshunds, and Greyhounds. Their energy level depends on the size of the dog, but all of them like to hunt for buried items. For smaller dogs, hide their toys for them to find while you’re playing with them. For Greyhounds, let them run.
The Working Group has high energy dogs that need stimulation and exercise to remain happy. They are considering high maintenance, as they were bred to assist humans in pulling sleds and carts, guarding flocks and homes, and protecting their families. Breeds include Boxers, Great Danes and Rottweilers.
The Terrier Group was first bred to pursue of rodents and other vermin underground. They are smaller dogs, like Bull Terriers, Scottish Terriers, and West Highland White Terriers. Because of their size, they usually require low amounts of exercise. They love to dig, however, so implement that into your play routine.
The smallest group of them all is the Toy Group. They care most about snuggling, napping and barking. Breeds include Chihuahuas, Pugs, and Shih Tzus. They don’t need much physical activity — only up to 30 minutes a day.
Herding Groups were bred to moving livestock, including sheep, cattle, and even reindeer. Because of this, they are very high energy and require a lot of stimulation. They often herd their owners, furry siblings and toys. They are Border Collies, German Shepherds, and Pembroke Welsh Corgi. These dogs thrive in competitions and obstacle courses.
The last groups is Non-Sporting, which houses every dog that doesn’t fit into the other six categories, such as Bulldogs, Dalmatians, and Poodles. This group requires a diverse range of exercise, as their sizes and shapes vary dramatically.
Younger Dogs Are More Active
Puppies are naturally more active and have more energy, so they require more exercise as an outlet. Owners have to be aware of how much their puppy is playing, though. Puppy skeletons have no fully developed yet, so they can easily strain themselves. If you have a larger puppy breed, avoid strenuous activity, as these types of exercises can hurt your puppy’s growing body.
Senior dogs will need significantly less exercise than puppies, as their older age has slowed them down. Don’t overlook your senior dog, however. Try to get them out for at least 30 minutes of walks or playtime before letting them get back to their mid-day nap.
A healthy dog should have no issue getting up to play or to walk. If your dog is lethargic and doesn’t want to go outside, contact your vet immediately.
If a dog is overweight, they may not want to move around much, even though they need to. Weight gain is a larger issue in smaller breeds because they don’t need as much exercise. Two 15-minute sessions are great for smaller breeds and those with flat noses to prevent weight gain and promote their bone and joint health.
Tips on Dog Exercise
Make it a routine! Your dog is a creature of habit — they love to be fed at the same time, nap at the same time and watch for your car when you’re about to come home. They will appreciate having a set time each day for going out for walks or to play. If you fall off the routine, your dog will remind you!
Mix up the walks you take. Keep it fresh and interesting for you and your dog. Walk around the neighborhood in the morning and take them to a dog park where they can run in the evening, for instance. Every weekend, try to take them somewhere new for walks too. This will keep things fresh and also provide your pup with mental stimulation while they explore.
Finally, don’t be afraid to try new things! You dog may love to swim, chase frisbees, run an obstacle course, or hike on a trail. Just remember to keep in mind your dog’s physical limitations for each new activity.
If your dog needs a little extra support, DoggyBrace can help. The braces are designed for CCL tears, but can promote your dog’s hind legs to provide joint support. They are available for all sizes and breeds. Check out their shop today!