11 Aug How Much Exercise Does My Pet Dog Need in a Day?
All work and no play make Jack a dull boy!! But what if Jack is your 4-year-old German Shepherd or a Bulldog. Playing, exercising or any form of physical activity is not only beneficial for maintaining good health but also stimulates mental well-being. Contrary to the general notion that everyone requires exercise to stay away from health issues, the fact is that regular exercise is important for everyone’s mental and behavioral stability as well. Pups and younger dogs are more energetic than adult dogs and hence require more channeling of their excess energy and what better way to do this than to exercise.
Why is Exercise a Must for My Pet Dog
Improves health conditions and quality of sleep.
Reduces threat against diseases of heart, liver, kidneys, stomach, and diabetes.
Maintains weight thereby lessening the vulnerability of obesity.
Keeps the pet active, happy, social, and healthy.
Reduces the weight on legs helping against arthritis, joint pains, ligament injuries.
Makes the pet confident, intelligent, and smart
Signs that show your pet dog needs more exercise
Tearing off the cushions, excessive barking, digging up holes everywhere, hyperactivity, or any kind of destructive behavior, etc.
If you have recently adopted a pet dog and are facing any of these problems incessantly, it signals that your pet is not getting enough exercise or opportunities to spend off their energy constructively.
If your furry friend is constantly behind you to play with them while you want to relax, then there is more that they need.
If your pet dog constantly raids the trash, runs towards the door to open it for no reason, keeps chewing stuff around, it is time you take them for a light jog in the park or play with them more often.
Also, at night instead of sleeping, if they are active and awake, it is a sign of lack of activity.
Potential dog parents need to understand the amount of exercise required by different dog breeds and only then make up their minds to adopt one.
Important factors to be considered before adopting a pet dog
Space is required by the dogs to run around and play.
The lifestyle of the pet parent and whether it matches the energy levels of their pet dog or not.
If the pet parent has enough time to spend with their pet, whether you are a home parent or are mostly out because of work or personal commitments.
It is not wise to adopt an active dog breed when you do not have an active lifestyle yourself.
On the contrary, you may not want to adopt a lazy breed when you are a fitness freak yourself.
Unfortunately, most people only think about what they like and want to adopt, irrespective of whether or not will they be able to fulfill the needs of their furry friend.
In short, the answer to the daily exercise requirement of your pet dog depends on their breed, age, size, and health condition
How is your pet dog’s breed-related to their exercise requirements
Depending on the breed, the energy level of your pet dog can be estimated and the exercise regime can be developed for them.
Small breeds like a Shih Tzu, Bichon Frise, Chihuahua, Pomeranian, or Maltese require 30 minutes’ walk.
However, some other toy breeds are active and intelligent with an exception of high energy levels like a toy Poodle, or Lhasa Apso that require more exercise and mental stimulation.
On the contrary, small breeds like a Pug or a Bulldog, by their body structure like the pushed-in face and short legs are prone to over-heating and hence not a good idea to take them for more than 20-30 minutes walk every day.
Also, they are not the ones who would indulge in playing games like fetch.
Scent hounds like Beagle, Dachshund, Basset Hound, etc. require 60-90 minutes of exercise every day and so do certain Terrier breeds like Westies, Bull Terrier, Jack Russell, Boston Terrier, Cairn Terrier, etc.
Sighthounds like a Whippet or a Greyhound are racing dog breeds and hence might want to run in your backyard or if you don’t have a backyard then maybe suffice their desire by taking them to an accessible park for a quick run or mild sprints for about 45 minutes to an hour daily.
Sporting breeds of Retrievers like Labrador or a Golden Retriever, and Spaniels like an English Cocker Spaniel or Springer Spaniel require the most amount of exercise of around 120 minutes to 2 hours.
Working dog breeds category that includes German Shepherd, Siberian Husky, Rottweilers, Great Dane, Mastiffs, Schipperke, etc. also follow the routine of close to 120 minutes of exercise every day.
Herding breeds like Collies, Corgis, Sheepdogs, also require a similar amount of physical activity as sporting and working dog breeds
To-Do (s) for the dog parents
It is always advisable to take the small dogs or pups while they are young or in their growing years for regular short walks and indulge them in multiple lighter play sessions in a day.
Taking your toy breed for long walks and excessive physical activity might cause strain to their bodies thus inducing underdevelopment.
Active breeds require a minimum of 30 minutes of aerobic exercise every day.
Take your dogs, big or small, to an accessible park for regular walks since not all breeds will get enough exercise indoors.
Breeds like Pug or Labrador are prone to obesity if they do not get enough physical exercise.
A 20-30 minute walk every day along the same path might not do it for most of the medium to giant-sized breeds and hence, experiment with the path, pace, timing, and duration of their walk or exercise routine.
Monitor if your pet requires brisk walks or sprints or whether it needs walks with breaks in between. Some breeds might want to go out early morning while others would want to go for walks or runs in the evening.
A good exercise is important for all breeds as it stimulates both physical and mental muscles.
Most of the inactive dogs are overweight and being overweight brings health issues in not only humans but also dogs too.
Obesity can lead to diabetes, respiratory problems, orthopedic problems like arthritis, dysplasia, stressed joints, ligaments, and muscle injuries. Hence, keep your dog healthy and active
How & where can your pet dog get a good workout
People who own a backyard or a big lawn can play with their pet dogs using accessories like frisbees and balls. Fetch never goes out of fashion and is a great bonding activity between you and your pet dog.
People with small apartment-like houses can try indoor activities like climbing up and down the stairs, play games like catch-me-if-you-can and hide-and-seek, or maybe make them run slowly on the treadmill at home.
Walks around the block and explore the neighborhood, for starters, especially for those breeds who do not require rigorous exercise.
Stroll in the park and socialize with other dogs. However, if your pet is not a social kind then keep the leash on.
Go adventurous and take them hiking!! This activity is for medium to giant dog breeds.
Swimming is a low-intensity, high-calorie burning, fun, and exciting workout, not only for humans but small to medium-sized dogs too.
In case if you are working throughout the day, ‘dog day-care’ is a great alternative for indulging your pet dog in various physical and mental activities. However, this might not be the best option if you own a breed that demands your time and attention.
Do it together!! Take them with you for running while cycling. However, make sure you do this activity on the riding tracks only and not on the main roads as it will be unsafe for your pet. Again, this activity is primarily for sporting and working dog breeds.
Check with the local authorities and concerned organizations for any outdoor sports events that are being organized at a farm site or any dog fair. Take your furry friend for some outing and fun and put their physical strength, intelligence, behavioral skills, and senses to test in playful competitions like ‘dog rally’, ‘dog diving’, ‘agility’, ‘obedience’, ‘scent work’ to name a few
Take the above steps and see the difference. Start slowly and observe how happy will all this make your pet. Make sure your pet is tired enough to sleep peacefully and not exhausted or stressed with the excessive workout. Make those regular visits to your vet and discuss any concerns or changes both physically and behaviorally. Also, consult your vet before setting up any exercise regime for your pet. Ultimately, what your furry canine requires is a healthy, balanced, and active life, which along with keeping health issues at bay will also provide physical strength and mental stimulation. Moreover, it is that time in the day when you spend time with your extremely loyal furry friend, bond with them, and build mutual understanding for each other’s behavior, likes, and dislikes. After all, what is family for!!