How much exercise does a dog need a day? Between busy work schedules and family responsibilities, it’s hard to keep up with daily dog exercise needs. Let’s review dog activity suggestions based on your pup’s breed and age, and how to exercise your dog even if you’re short on time.
Before we answer, “How much exercise does a dog need every day?” let’s look at ways to fit dog exercise into your jam-packed schedule. When life gets busy, it’s hard to squeeze in extra playtime for your pup. Fortunately, there are plenty of time-saving options available for busy pet parents:
How much exercise does a dog need every day, based on his age? From puppyhood to adulthood, dog exercise and activity levels change over time with age.
As puppies grow into their bodies and their bladders, it’s vital for them to get enough outdoor playtime and potty time.
According to the U.K. Kennel Club, “A good rule of thumb is a ratio of five minutes of exercise per month of age (up to twice a day) until the puppy is full grown, i.e. 15 minutes (up to twice a day) when three months old, 20 minutes when four months old etc. Once they are fully grown, they can go out for much longer.”
Swimming, short games of fetch with small exercise balls and short walks are all great forms of puppy exercise!
Adult dogs generally don’t require as much attention as puppies, but most still require at least 30 minutes to 2 hours of exercise daily. Hiking, relay-race games and play dates with doggy friends are exciting, fulfilling activities that will leave you and your pup snoozing on the couch by the end of the day!
As we age, we often aren’t able to maintain the pace we once enjoyed. The same is true with our furry friends as they get older. While walks should still be an important part of a senior dog’s life, these walks should shorten in length and be taken at a slower pace.
Swimming is a great exercise alternative for senior dogs, as well. Taking your dog for a swim in the pool or a lake (while wearing a flotation device!) allows him to stay active without putting further stress on his joints.
Dr. Susan Nelson, a Kansas State University veterinarian and assistant professor of clinical sciences, tells Science Daily, “A blanket recommendation for exercise time amounts can’t be given as exercise needs vary vastly between individuals, and factors such as age, breed, weather and general health all influence the amounts of exercise your dog needs.”
Just as every person is different, every dog breed is also unique and special in its own way. Research your dog’s breed (or breeds for mixed-breed dogs!) to get more information on how much exercise he might need.
So, the answer to the question, “How much exercise does a dog need every day?” varies based on a few different factors. But, as the saying goes, “An active dog is a good dog.” No matter the size, breed or age of your pup, keeping him busy and energized will help him live a long, happy life! Even if you’re an apartment-dweller who is cramped for space, there are plenty of fun, exciting options for you and your best friend.
We all want our pups to thrive and live life to the fullest. Even during the busiest of times, you can provide your dog with the exercise and activity they need by hiring outside help or supplying him with toys and treats during the workday.
When you do have free time, treat your pup to a walk in the park or a playdate with his doggy friends. It takes only the smallest token of affection to receive a lifetime of love from your best friend!
Tell us: How do you fit in dog exercise? How much exercise does your dog need a day?
This piece was originally published in 2017.