According to this article, exercise is not just a fun activity for dogs; it's a necessity. Without proper exercise, dogs can face problems such as obesity, which can lead to many medical issues, and frustration, which can lead to hyperactivity and home destruction. The good news is, with the right amount of exercise, you will see the benefits adding up for your furry friend -- improving hip joints, reducing digestive problems, keeping them at a healthy weight, and helping control behavioral problems are just a few outlined here. So, now you know why dogs need exercise, but what is the right amount for them? Keep reading for a breakdown of how much exercise a dog will need depending on its size, age, and breed.
The amount of exercise needed for puppies varies depending on the size and breed, but in general, the American Kennel Club states that it is recommended to limit exercise to short walks and multiple play sessions throughout the day, with plenty of time for naps. Of course, as your puppy gets older, you can increase exercise since the pup will require it, but you should remain careful and avoid over-exerting him. Despite seeming like they have endless amounts of energy, puppies can get worn out, and putting them through too much exercise can be unhealthy.
Try providing your puppy with a variety of different exercises, such as short walks around the neighborhood, swimming, or even just a game of hide-and-seek in your home. Remember to keep an eye on him, and stay in contact with your veterinarian to make sure the little guy stays healthy and happy.
Exercise needs vary depending on your dog's breed, size, and overall health, but typically he should be getting anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours of exercise every day, as said here.
According to this article, certain breeds that are more active, like terriers, shepherds, and retrievers require more exercise -- 60 to 90 minutes a day. On the other hand, less active breeds like toy breeds (Maltese, Yorkies, and Chihuahuas), giant breeds (Great Danes, Mastiffs, and Newfoundlands), and brachycephalic, or smush-nosed breeds (Pugs, French bulldogs, and Shih-Tzus) generally need 30 to 60 minutes of exercise a day.
Activities like walks, hiking, games of fetch, and play-dates with their fellow dog friends are all great exercise for your dog, and can be tweaked for their individual needs. For example, some low-energy dogs can enjoy shorter or slower walks around the neighborhood, while high-energy ones may want a more fast-paced or demanding exercise like running or hiking. It's also a good idea to talk to your veterinarian to come up with an exercise plan that's best for your dog's health and happiness.
As dogs get older, their bodies aren't the same as they were in their younger days. This article shows factors like weight gain, arthritis, anxiety, and even failing eyesight can cause your senior dog to become hesitant about getting out and exercising like he used to. However, there are ways to combat this and give your old friend the exercise he needs (about 30 to 60 minutes a day, broken into two or more sessions) while still keeping him comfortable.
When taking your dog for a walk, be sure to mind the temperature outside. If it's too hot, it may tire him out much more quickly. If it's cold, or snowy, make sure he has the proper attire -- a warm sweater, jacket, and boots can all improve his comfort. You should also keep a watch on the walking surface you're taking him on. Older dogs can develop joint issues that could make them unsteady on their feet, and a firm, solid ground with enough traction will be easier for them to walk on. Uneven places like grassy areas or slick surfaces found in store floors should be avoided.
While slow, comfortable walks are great for senior dogs, they aren't the only exercise available. Tug-of-war, when played gently, is good for strengthening your dog's body. Short swim sessions are also a good option, as it supports his weight and gives his joints a rest but still allows him to exercise freely. Puzzle toys can also be beneficial for providing mental stimulation in older dogs who may have limited mobility.
Remember, always be sure to check with your veterinarian before starting an exercise plan with your senior dog, to be sure he will be able to do it comfortably and safely.
In conclusion, exercise is an incredibly important part of any dog's life, whether they're small, big, young, or old. Every dog can benefit from a good, proper amount of exercise, and it's a great bonding experience for you two as pet and owner. Start coming up with an exercise plan for your dog today, and watch how much his life improves.