For many dogs, going for a walk can be the highlight of their day. Especially so after waiting a whole day for you to come home from work. While we would love to take them out, there are several things to keep in mind when we head out for a walk. The amount of exercise a dog need varies depending on their age, breed, and health conditions. We should be mindful to choose activities that are suitable for our dog’s personality, medical conditions, and interests.
There are plenty of benefits to going on a walk with your dog. A short walk around the neighborhood can keep your dog physically fit and mentally engaged while they sniff and explore around. Your dog’s brain gets stimulated when exploring different routes. Visiting new places allows your dog to experience novel smells and sights. Walks also help with weight management, joint health as well as digestion.
Just like humans, dogs are healthier with regular cardiovascular exercise. An average adult dog will require approximately 30 minutes to 2 hours of exercise per day. However, this could differ between dogs due to factors such as age, breed, and general health status. Moderation is key. Excessive exercise could cause more damage especially if your dog is a small breed, brachycephalic breed, a senior pup or has existing medication conditions. To ensure that your dog benefits from its walk, there are a few factors to consider.
For puppies, we can build on their stamina and growth, gradually increasing the length and duration of walks as they grow older. Teaching your puppy to walk on a leash and developing a consistent routine is beneficial for both of you. Puppies are full of energy. You can walk them for an extended period of time if they have the stamina, but walk them at their own pace. It is recommended to wait till their bone growth is complete before engaging in movements that come with running.
For older dogs, there will be a point when they will no longer have the stamina they once did. The amount of time and distance for walks will change. Older dogs often need shorter and more frequent walks.
While a walk a day may be sufficient for smaller dogs, high-energy dog breeds will require more than one walk per day. Outdoor adventures are the perfect way to bond with high-energy breeds such as Border Collies, Labrador Retrievers, and Siberian Huskies. Whether you go for a walk, hike, or run, your canine buddy will make the trip twice as fun.
Chihuahua and similar breeds are typically what we know as companion dogs. Avoid challenging them with hours of intense activity. Instead, use smaller time periods for fun games and short daily walks to keep them physically fit.
Boston Terriers, Dachshunds, and Jack Russell are short-haired breeds that have less fur and can overheat easily, and could suffer from breathing difficulties. Brachycephalic breeds like pugs, bulldogs, and Shih Tzu have flat faces that cause them to struggle to breathe due to the shape of their face. Take very short and easy walks for these breeds.
There are several health conditions that can make long or speedy walks difficult for dogs. One example would be laryngeal paralysis which causes the dog’s airway to narrow. If your dog is feeling unwell or injured, it will not need as much exercise as usual. Resting is an important part of recovery.
Remember to do a weather check before heading out! To prevent your dog from getting heatstroke, you may choose to exercise during the cooler hours of the day, such as the beginning of the day around 6 am – 8 am or at the end of the day around 8 pm – 10 pm. Always bring along sufficient water for your dog and keep them hydrated throughout their walk.
For some dogs, daily walks may not be suitable for them as they could be overstimulated or stressed out by walks. Food puzzles and training games that can keep them physically fit indoors would be a better option. A dog’s need for exercise doesn’t change depending on its home environment, it’s just a matter of how your dog gets that exercise. Some alternatives include exercise through intelligence games, agility, treadmills, or swimming.
Walking your dog is a huge part of a dog parent’s life. A simple walk contributes to improving your dog’s social behavior and also strengthens the bond that ties you and your dog together. You can have fun walking with your dog while keeping them healthy at the same time! Just like us, every dog has their own personality and preferences. It’s important to ensure that your dog enjoys the exercise and change up its regime if they don’t.
If you are unsure, seek professional help. Your veterinarian will provide you with advice that suits your dog best. Any views or opinions communicated on this page belong to the author and do not represent the views or opinions of any other organizations. This article is meant for us to share our own views and opinions in general. Kindly consult a professional if you would like to seek professional advice.
Adopted from sources
– How Often Should You Walk Your Dog? Here’s What To Consider. By Tractive.
– How Often Do You Walk Your Dog? See If You’re Walking Your Pup Enough. By Katie Mills Giorgio, DailyPaws.
– Exercising your Dog. By Pdsa.
– Images of dogs, Pexels.