All dogs need regular exercises to stay happy and healthy. It’s just as important as regular veterinary care, quality food and loving care in that it affects their health and behavior. If you’re like most dog lovers, you want the best for your dog but the question that’s often hard to answer is “How much exercise does a dog really need every day?”
What happen’s if my dog doesn’t get enough exercise?
Many dog owners see to it that their canine companions exercise regularly but what if your dog has not been getting enough exercise? The goal isn’t just to get your pooch out and about; rather it is to ensure that they get the amount of physical activity needed to tone their muscles, stimulate their brain, promote good behavior, increase socialization and encourage their body and metabolism to function well.
If a dog doesn’t get enough physical activity, the following problems can occur:
- Destructive behaviors like chewing, eliminating in the house, increased aggression etc.
- Disinterest in human company, which could be a sign of depression
- Hyperactivity when they’re on a walk
- Excessive barking
- Weight gain and joint issues
How much exercise does a dog need daily?
The amount of exercise a dog needs varies as there are a few factors to consider such as age, breed and health. Dogs have different exercise needs but experts generally recommend that dogs should get between 30 minutes and 2 hours of exercises each day. So how do you figure out the amount of physical activity your dog needs? Here are a few standard guidelines you can follow.
Exercising a puppy
Generally, puppies have a lot of energy that needs to be discharged, which explains why they tend to get injured easily. You probably have seen your puppy race madly around the house a few times only to collapse into a puppy pile, preferably in your laps.
Because they are very energetic, it is recommended to exercise your puppy both mentally and physically however, the exercises should be broken into different short bursts that include walks and play sessions as they are too young to take a really long walk.
Since puppies are quite young, you might want to keep the exercises short until your puppy gets used to them. For instance, you can start with 10 minutes three times a day and increase the amount of time as your pup gets used to it. A rule of thumb for puppies is 5 minutes of exercise for each month of age twice a day.
Exercising an adult dog
An adult dog can also be energetic but the amount of exercise required varies based on breeds. Some dog breeds require more exercises than others. For instance, larger and giant breeds are typically strong and have good stamina if they’re in good health. However, some larger breeds like Greyhounds aren’t as active as others and, therefore, require a little less amount of physical activity.
For medium breeds, they are also energetic and require lots of physical exercises. If your dog is a medium sized terrier such as Staffies, you may need to devote extra time to exercising them.
Some smaller breeds don’t require as much exercise compared to the larger ones and can do well with one hour of exercise per day. Some breeds like poodles and terriers can take on extra time of physical activity.
Exercising a senior dog
Your senior dog may not be as active like before due to age and possible health issues that may limit how active they can be. They tend to slow down or rest often during exercises, so it’s important to keep this in mind so you don’t push your aging dog too much.
However, you still need to exercise your senior dog as it can help keep their joints, ligaments, and muscles strong and supple. It can be hard to figure out how much exercise your dog needs but as the owner, you know your dog best, meaning you should be able to determine how much exercises your dog can handle or if in doubt, check with your dogs usual veterinarian.
There are plenty of outdoor and indoor exercises that can help your dog stay healthy and fit but it’s essential to keep in mind their age, breed and health when deciding how much time to devote to exercising them. Mental stimulation is equally important so also spend time on training and enrichment activities.
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