Just like humans, it’s essential that dogs have exercise - it keeps them fit and in tip top shape! It gives them a good cardiovascular workout and maintains a good immune system as well as providing the mental stimulation they need to keep them emotionally healthy.
A good exercise regime is also an important part of socialisation as they’ll meet other dogs when they’re out and about, and they get rid of any pent up frustration - keeping them happy and relaxed.
How Much Exercise is Enough?
The amount of exercise your pooch needs each day will depend on their breed. Different dog breeds need more exercise than others - but don’t think that because your dog is small, it will need less exercise! A Jack Russell Terrier, for example, is known for being lively and requiring a lot of vigorous exercise to keep their energy under control. At the other end of the scale, a Great Dane is a gentle giant that is quite happy with little to moderate exercise.
So, if you are planning on welcoming a new dog into your home, it’s important to consider the time you will have available to give your dog the exercise they need and choose accordingly. Here are some examples of more common breeds and how much time you should commit to exercising. Some might surprise you!
5 Dogs that need more than 2 hours of exercise a day
- Boxer: Large loveable dogs, known for their playfulness and loving long walks.
- Border Collie: Considered to be the most intelligent dog breed, they require a lot of physical activity. It can be difficult to tire them out!
- Golden Retriever: Great hunters, golden retrievers love water and swimming - a good way to use up all that energy!
- Dalmatian: They need a bundle of mental and physical exercise, to stop them from getting into trouble. Take toys like frisbees and balls on walks to tire them out!
- Irish Setter: Mischievous tendencies with a lot of energy, they can be quite athletic.
5 Dogs that need around 1 hour of exercise a day
- Basset Hound: Basset Hounds can become a little mischievous if they get bored but beware that over-exercising them can put extra strain on their joints so fewer, shorter walks should keep them happy.
- Whippet: Despite being an athletic racing dog, the Whippet probably doesn’t need as much exercise as you may think. They are sprinters, not endurance dogs, so a walk of around 30 – 40 minutes at a brisk comfortable pace is sufficient for them.
- Border Terrier: Energy levels do vary, but they do like to be out and about and especially love being playful. Up to an hour of exercise each day is ideal.
- English Bulldog: Lazier in temperament, these doggos require minimal exercise.
- Saint Bernard: These giant doggos may grow quickly but as they can suffer from bone problems, they only need a relatively small amount of exercise.
5 Dogs that need around 30 minutes of exercise a day
- King Charles Spaniel: A lapdog and companion, a King Charles loves cuddling up with you. They prefer to be with you indoors than any vigorous activity!
- Pug: A popular companion breed, fun-loving but somewhat lazy dogs that enjoy spending time with their families.
- Bullmastiff: Loves a lazy life, and a great dog for apartment living as they need little physical activity.
- Shih Tzu: Great lap dogs and make great companions wanting little exercise.
- Mastiff: Strong but lazy dogs, requiring little exercise despite their size. Known for being gentle giants.
Whatever breed of dog you have, ensuring a walk is part of their daily routine is important to maintain their health, develop their socialising skills, and build up their immune system.
If your doggo doesn’t get enough exercise, they may gain weight which, in turn, can lead to other problems such as joint problems, excess barking, rough play, destructive behaviour, lack of social skills, and even aggression.
Tips for great doggy exercise!
- Your dog’s age should be taken into account. After they have had all necessary vaccinations, it’s best to take your puppy out for a few short walks as too much exercise can affect their musculoskeletal development. For large breeds, you should check with your vet how long they should be walked - it will vary as they grow older.
- Most dogs do love walks, but they also like to play too! Throwing a ball with a game of ‘fetch’ not only exercises your dog but helps with their mental stimulation so if you’re stuck at home for any reason, throwing a ball in the garden will help your dog get good exercise.
- Taking them to an obedience class also helps with their mental development or playing a game of hide and seek with food or treats hidden in a KONG toy is a great way to keep them occupied.
- If you have an older dog that is having trouble with its joints, swimming is a good alternative to long walks as it enables them to exercise their joints without putting pressure on their joints.
- Remember to avoid walks immediately before or after they have eaten - this will avoid gastric torsion (GDV), also known as stomach twist, caused by running and rolling around after food.
- Consider the weather too! Cold weather with snow could cause frostbite on their paws, or if it's hot outside, remember to take plenty of water with you and keep your pawsome pal hydrated.
- Make sure you consult your vet if your dog has a medical problem and get advice as to the length and type of walk that is best for them. If you notice that your dog, who normally loves a walk, seems reluctant to go out it’s best to consult your vet.