No other animal makes a better companion for us humans than a dog does. We love dogs so much that we’ve given them the title of being our best friends. Raising a puppy is a tremendously rewarding, life-changing experience, but it’s not suited for everyone.
Dogs require your time and attention more than most other common house pets like cats, rodents, or fish. Regular walks are a major part of every dog’s care. They are also a vital part of raising a puppy. But do you know the right way to walk your dog? Do you know how often or how far to take your dog for a walk?
While you may expect a straightforward answer to how often should you walk your puppy, it varies from dog to dog. The amount of walking and exercise a dog needs depends on the breed, general health, size, and current physical shape.
In general, professionals recommend at least 30 minutes of (preferably outside) activities for every dog every day, and not only during weekends.
How long should I walk my dog each day?
Not all dogs need the same amount of exercise. If you want to determine how often you should walk your pup, there are several important factors to consider, and those include your dog’s age, breed, and general shape.
Here’s how the factors will help you determine how often to take your dog out for a walk:
One of the most important things to consider is the breed of your dog. There is a huge difference between a Doberman pincher and a Chihuahua when it comes to walking requirements.
Think about how many steps does a dog take in a mile. It’s only natural that small breeds, especially lapdogs, need far less walking to stay in good shape and maintain perfect health compared to big dogs.
Sporting breeds, such as Shepherds, Collies, and Pointers, need a lot of activity to stay happy and healthy. Compared to them, a Yorkie or a poodle requires very little walking and exercising. Just as us humans, some dogs are couch potatoes and feel just fine, while others are gifted, natural athletes.
The younger the dog is the more energy he or she has, and the more walking and exercise he needs. Middle-aged and senior dogs, in general, don’t need as much walking as puppies do. Older dogs are also less eager to play than younger pups.
However, there are always exceptions to this rule, and many middle-aged and older dogs may still be eager to go for long walks or runs. If this is the case, you should keep in mind that senior dogs often suffer from various conditions that may lower their energy. They might not be able to keep up with their own enthusiasm.
So, how much exercise does my dog need?
Most breeds can enjoy 30-minute walks every day if they’re in relatively good shape, and many of them will need that walk a couple of times a day.
Dogs who have excellent physical health and are in great shape can enjoy walks up to two hours. Some even go hiking with their owners for several hours at a time. Overweight dogs may have difficulties to walk more than ten minutes without stopping for a rest or breathing heavily.
You can’t take a dog that rarely ever walks on a two-hour walk and expect him to feel good. If your dog is out of shape, start with 20-minute walks. Build up that time gradually by adding an extra 5 minutes every day, or add a second walk in the afternoon.
How far should I walk my dog?
To determine how far you should walk your dog, take your best friend out for a walk, and monitor how their energy level changes.
If he starts to slow down after you’ve walked a certain length, it may be a sign he’s getting tired. Don’t drag the dog when they stop to snoop around more than they would normally do.
Give them the time to rest, then start heading back home, still monitoring your pup’s pace as you walk. If the dog slows down, even more, it’s a sign you’ve walked too far. Always account in the time you need to go back home – the walking isn’t finished until you get back at the house.
The monitoring of your dog doesn’t stop once you’re back from the walk. You also need to monitor your pup’s behavior after the walk. If the dog drinks a lot of water and crashes to sleep without getting up for hours as soon as you go back home, it means they’re exhausted, and your walks should be shorter.
Also, if your dog starts limping during the walk or after resting from the walk, it may be a sign that they’ve done more exercise than their body can bear.
You can easily improve your dog’s shape and go on longer walks if the dog is healthy. Just like you wouldn’t join a state marathon if you hadn’t run for a long time, you should take your dog to long hikes if they’ve been sedentary for years.
Build up your dog’s stamina slowly and allow their body to get in proper condition to avoid any injury. However, if that doesn’t work you can always hire a professional dog walker to help you out.
Walk your dog: Create the right route for your pup
As long as your dog is comfortable with it, there is no limit to how far and for how long you can walk with them. For some dogs, a walk around the block is perfect. For others, it’s at least ten miles.
If you want to make your dog walks last longer, the only thing you should remember is to build their stamina gradually. Some over-exercised dog symptoms are very unpleasant for your pup, and it’s better to have them prepared than to put them through the pain.
Every dog needs physical and mental stimulation, but the amounts and frequency are individual. Also, not every dog has the same amount of energy every day. Monitor your dog’s behavior to get the answers.
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