Walking is an important part of every dog’s life. Dogs that are walked regularly get an opportunity to interact with new environments, sights, smells, and sounds.
Regular walks also provide dogs with the opportunity to socialize with other dogs, causing them to be calmer, happier, and healthier than dogs with limited access to exercise.
Also, don’t forget to bring water on the walk if you are going long distances to make sure your dog can remain well hydrated.
It is best to gauge how your dog is feeling about the length of the walk by watching his reaction. If he is energetic, you will notice he is enjoying the walk and is easily keeping up with you. A less active dog may walk slower and need frequent rests.
When can I start walking my dog?
If you’re wondering when can I take my puppy outside, the generally accepted answer is that puppies shouldn’t venture out into the real world until at least two weeks after their final puppy vaccination.
Your veterinarian will be able to give you a specific timeline for your puppy’s vaccination schedule so you can plan puppy preschool or play dates with other dog owners but, in general, the answer to the question, “When can puppies go outside?” is not until two weeks after their puppy vaccinations schedule is complete.
What Might Happen if Dogs Doesn’t Have Enough Exercise?
Like people, dogs can be overweight without physical exercise. However, this can also cause other problems for you and our canine friends, including:
- Destructive behavior, such as chewing on shoes or furniture, cleaning the house, entering the trash, destroying household items, or being aggressive towards people or other pets. The increase may be due to a lack of exercise. However, there are other factors that can cause this type of behavior, so please call us to make an appointment so we can find out the cause.
- If certain dogs are not stimulated enough, they will shrink. If your dog is very sociable and never approaches the door again, or is indifferent when he walks into the room, he may be frustrated. Similarly, there are other factors that may cause this behavior, so please visit us. They were overactive when they went out for a walk.
- If your dog becomes overly excited when taking off the leash or going out the door, it may indicate restlessness and requires more physical exercise. Excessive traction on the leash may also mean that your dog needs to burn more energy. Having said that, belt traction may be caused by other reasons, so please consult a trainer.
- If the dog does not exercise enough, it may bark and complain..
How do I know how long my dog should walk?
Every dog, like everyone, is unique, but the breed (or breed, if it is a mixed breed), age, size, and general health can tell you a lot. In addition, the general rule of thumb is that your dog should be active for between 30 minutes and two hours a day.
A general guideline for your dog exercise per breed size is:
- Small breeds. This group includes dogs from the Chihuahua to the Bichon or Shih Tzu. They have moderate exercise needs with a daily walk of 20 to 30 minutes. The exception would be the toy and miniature poodle which are more active and also intelligent, so require a little more physical activity and plenty of mental stimulation.
- Sighthounds. These include the Greyhound, Whippet, and the Wolfhound. Even though the Greyhound is a racing dog, they are bred for sprinting and only need moderate exercise. A moderate pace walk of around 30-to-45 minutes a day and maybe some short sprints is enough to keep them healthy.
- Giant Breeds. The Giant breeds include the Leonberger, Newfoundland, Great Dane, and Saint Bernard. They have moderate exercise needs because they have to move such a large frame. However, it is important to still be moderately active to keep their joints and bones strong and for weight management. A 30-to-45 minute walk is sufficient. Also, many of the giant breed dogs are keen swimmers, so swimming is a great exercise for them because it’s low weight-bearing.
Example of dogs who need the most exercise – 60-to-120 minutes daily – are:
- Sporting breeds, like Retrievers and Springer Spaniels, Standard Poodles.
- Working breeds, such as Dobermans, Huskies, and Rottweilers.
- Herding breeds, like Sheepdogs, Collies, Shepherds, Cattle Dogs, Heelers, and Corgis.
Other dogs need 60-to-90 minutes per day:
- Terrier and Vermin Breeds, which include Bull Terriers, Airedale Terriers, and smaller terriers such as Jack Russels, Yorkshire Terriers, and Westies.
- Scent Hounds, like Beagles and Basset Hounds.
Dogs that need little exercise are brachycephalic dogs – those with squashed faces like Bulldogs and Bugs. Because they have pushed-in faces, they are prone to overheating. They require a 20-to-30 minute walk a day.
There’s really no limit to how far you walk your dog as long as they’re comfortable. For some dogs, that’s around the block. For others, it’s ten miles. Just remember to build distance and stamina gradually over time.
Tips when walking your dog:
- Always allow your dog to have a good sniff around – this is important for their mental health.
- Don’t throw sticks for your dog to chase – they can splinter and injure your dog’s mouth and throat.
- Throwing balls – if you throw a ball, make sure it’s not small enough for your dog to swallow.
- Walks and games are a much better treat than food!
- ‘Varied walking’ can be good for you and your dog – this is where you speed-walk for about 30 seconds, walk at a normal pace for about a minute, then speed up again, and so on. It’s a really good exercise for both of you and something you can do randomly throughout your walk.
- Exercise as much as necessary – if your dog isn’t getting tired, or is still full of energy when you get home, they may need more exercise. If your dog is struggling or refuses to go at all, you may need to cut back!
- Try to vary your route – to keep your walks interesting and exciting.
- Keep dogs on a lead in built-up areas – only let them off when you are absolutely sure it is safe. This ensures your dog isn’t a nuisance to others and protects it from traffic, litter, and other hazards. It is also important to keep your dog on a lead around sheep and other livestock.
- Identification – always make sure your dog is wearing a collar and tag and has their microchip details up to date with the database.
- Seasonal walks – during the winter months you should also consider using high visibility jackets, hi-vis or LED collars, and leads to be seen and keep safe. During the hot summer months, you may need to walk your dog during the cooler hours.
- Poo bags – always carry plenty of poo bags and dispose of them inappropriate bins.
Take into consideration when walking with your dog.
Another thing to consider as you think about how far to walk your dog is the intensity of the walk. If you’re doing a challenging hiking trail for 30 minutes (especially if your dog is off-leash), that’s going to count for a lot more of their walking needs than a slow stroll around the neighborhood.
Benefits when you walk your dog
Dogs can bring you many health benefits. Some of the most important ones include:
- Exercise – Moving around and challenging your dog's muscles helps to keep him in good shape and healthy.
- Weight Control – Walks help your dog to burn off excess calories, which can help keep your dog trim. Obesity is a common problem among dogs, which can lead to a host of serious illnesses, including diabetes and joint disorders.
- Reducing Mischievous Behaviors – Walks help to tire out your pooch and burn off excess energy, which will usually reduce the prevalence of undesirable behaviors. As they say, “A tired dog is a good dog.”
- Bonding Time – Walks give you a chance to hang out with your dog and reinforce your bond. This is good for both you and your dog.
- Mental Stimulation – By getting out of the house and letting your dog smell the grass, you provide mental stimulation. This is important for your dog’s well-being and quality of life. Dogs can not stand being cooped up inside all day.
- Behavioral Reinforcement – You can use walks as part of your typical training work, teaching your dog to heel and walk politely on a leash. This is not only helpful for training your dog to be well-behaved and obedient, but it is another form of mental stimulation.
- Socialization – You’ll likely encounter a lot of other people and dogs while going on walks, and this can provide your dog with beneficial socialization opportunities. Dogs that aren’t properly socialized are more prone to anxiety, stress, and behavioral issues that can end up being dangerous if left unchecked. Well, socialized dogs are happy dogs. Just be sure that you keep your dog on a leash and use common sense when introducing him to new people and pups.