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How Long Should I Play with My Dog? Pet Well-being Facts

Written by: Nicole Cosgrove

Last Updated on April 5, 2024 by Dogster Team

dog owner playing tug of war with his pet

How Long Should I Play with My Dog? Pet Well-being Facts


Dr. Maxbetter Vizelberg  Photo


Dr. Maxbetter Vizelberg

DVM (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Nothing excites a dog more than playtime with its human companion, and those moments help develop a valuable connection that only grows deeper. Not only that, but it also provides a perfect opportunity for physical exercise and mental stimulation for both you and your pet.

It may be hard to find the time to play with your dog between your daily busy schedule and family time, but it is an integral part of their development and well-being.  How long you should play with your companion can depend on a few factors, as well as how you can play with them. A helpful guideline is to give your puppy at least 10 minutes of exercise per month of age every day until he or she is fully grown.

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How Much Time Should I Play With My Dog Every day?

When determining how much playtime your dog requires, age is one of the most important factors to consider. Puppies require plenty of playtimes to develop their motor skills and obedience. A helpful guideline is to give your puppy at least 10 minutes of exercise per month of age every day until he or she is fully grown.

As your dog gets older, it will require less interaction but may have higher energy levels. For many breeds, approximately 30-60 minutes a day is an ideal amount for exercise. This activity can include brisk runs or walks, playing fetch, and even training, which all incorporate some playtime.

As your dog matures into its senior phase of life, the pace will slow down, and energy levels will drop. You can spend 30 minutes a day interacting with gentle play, determined by your dogs’ abilities and physical needs. Swimming is an excellent option as they get the required exercise and play time without putting pressure on their joints.

A dog’s exercise and play requirements vary by breed as well. Smaller breeds may require less activity than larger breeds, while some larger breeds require more exercise. Some breeds may experience labored breathing, such as pugs and other brachycephalic breeds, and will require less activity.

Your dog’s level of fitness is also an important factor. If your dog is in good shape and active, it will generally require more playtime and activity. If your dog is overweight, you will need to start slowly and gradually increase the amount of activity that you incorporate into their playtime.

If your dog has an injury or is unwell, it will naturally need to rest to recover. A short walk (possibly only to let them do their business outside) may be suitable to prevent them from exacerbating an injury.

owner using dog toy to play with his pet
Image Credit: Alena Veasey, Shutterstock


Why Is it Important to Play With Your Dog?

Playing with your dog not only improves its quality of life but yours, too! It provides both physical and mental stimulation while strengthening your bond. Playing with your dog provides attention to their beloved owner and shows them that you care while building trust.

Playtime allows your dog to burn off excess energy, resulting in better sleep and waking up feeling rested. It can help the brain develop by activating all its senses

When your dog plays with you, its brain releases positive endorphins. These endorphins create a feeling of happiness and last long after a play session has ended. Regular and consistent playtime will improve your dog’s mental and emotional health.

How To Play with Your Dog

Dogs enjoy different forms of play, and those will depend on their personality. You can observe your dog when it’s excited and notice if it’s jumping, chasing, or pouncing. Experimenting with toys can also help determine what sort of play it is interested in.

Popular dog games include tug of war, hide and seek, chase and retrieve, and pounce and shake.

Here are some tips for playtime:
  • It’s important to show your dog that you are the pack leader by being in control of the game and deciding what you play. The best games to highlight the role are retrieval games
  • Don’t encourage games that require rough play or chasing children
  • Try keep toys below your waist, so you don’t encourage your dog to jump
  • Use lots of praise and an excited voice when playing
  • Incorporate games with commands
  • Do not include your body or clothing as part of any game.



Playtime is an important activity for every dog, regardless of its breed, size, or age. It is vital for their overall well-being and quality of life, as well as for maintaining their bond with their humans. The amount of playtime can vary depending on several factors that include the dog’s age, breed, fitness levels, and health. Playtime can be in the form of games, or it can simply be a slow run or walk, a visit to the park with their favorite toy, or a swim in the lake.

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Featured Image Credit: thka, Shutterstock

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