How often should you walk your dog? Benefits of dog walking.
How often should you walk your dog?
How often should you walk your dog? Benefits of dog walking are often not fully understood by new dog owners in particular.
As a dog who loves her walk, I’d say the correct answer should be all the time! …….
The real simple answer here is much the same as ‘how long is a piece of string?” … and I’m not trying to be too smart!
The answer is very different for a young dog and an old dog and of course, there is also a big difference between what is ideal for a working shepherd or hound dog and a small lap dog.
A very quick answer; almost every dog should get at least one 15-minute walk twice a day as a minimum or, if you find that hard because of busy work schedules, then at least one 30 minutes walk each day.
Things that must be considered for your dog walking are: -
- The size of your dog – as a very general rule, large dogs need more exercise.
- Your dog’s breed – a lap dog like a chihuahua might take a minimum amount of walking but a border collie should really have an absolute minimum of one hour running and walking each day.
- Your dog’s age. Even pups from large dog breeds should not be over-exercised. Over-exercising any puppy could cause problems with bone growth and joints later in life. Short, frequent walks with lots of little play times are best for developing bones.
- A dog’s general health – older and/or sick dogs should not be stressed with too much exercise
- The weather! If you live in an area where it can get very hot, then dogs can feel heat stress just like humans. If it’s uncomfortable for you to be walking, its uncomfortable for your dog too. Also, NEVER TAKE A DOG FOR A WALK ON HOT SURFACES! Put your hand on the road or sidewalk. If it’s too hot to keep it there, its too hot for your dog’s paws. Hot surfaces can seriously burn a dog’s paws.
A few exceptions
With a few exceptions, smaller dogs and dogs that are sick or suffering from muscle pain like arthritis need shorter walks than large high-energy dogs.
All you humans should look carefully at your own dog and how it handles your ‘normal’ walk. For some dogs a 15-minute walk means almost nothing. They’ll still be full of energy and be wanting to run and play as if they had just left home. If this is the case with your dog, you must increase the walking, running and play time.
Other dogs may be obviously struggling with a 30-minute walk, so it is important to cut down and maybe aim for two walks of 15 minutes per day.
How much exercise is too much for a puppy?
It would be great if I could give you an exact measurement for ‘too much’. Instead I’m going to have to depend on something a lot of humans don’t seem to have – ‘common sense”.
To help you work it out, go back to the top of the page and see “things that must be considered”. Again beware, there is now lots of research in big dogs that show links between too much puppy exercise and bad muscle complains like orthopaedic diseases later in a dog’s life. Even if a puppy German Shepherd or Irish Wolfhound seem to be able to take a 2 or 3 mile walk easily, it is NOT A GOOD IDEA!
Human common sense (for those humans who have this) would suggest that taking a smaller-breed puppy for a two mile walk is NOT a good idea but that same human might be fooled into thinking that a big dog puppy could easily cope with a long walk because they can keep up with your walking pace very well. Please DON’T DO IT.
Short and frequent walks are best for puppies
Short and more frequent walks will always be safer and better for big dog puppies.
Its also important to remember that big dogs nearly always grow quicker but mature slower than small dogs. Maturing also means giving their muscles and joints time to strengthen so make sure your big pup gets frequent and short exercise rather than long 3- or 4-mile walks!
All dogs also need mental stimulation to keep us alert active and happy.
Working dogs and other high-drive dogs need more mental exercise than other types of dog.
During a walk, try and find a good open space where you can stop and have a good active playing/training session. Take a ball or Frisbee or any favorite toy and make the dog park stop off an important part of the walk routine. Play and mental stimulation is every bit as important as the dog walk exercise itself.
How often should you walk your dog? Benefits of dog walking to humans and your dog
So many humans look at walking a dog just to keep the house clean and allow the dog to “do the business” away from the home but it is so much more important than that!
Dog walking is so important for your dog’s physical and mental health and it can keep you much healthier too. Let’s look at the points that are so important for your dog first.
Benefits of dog walking for dogs How often should you walk your dog?
Fitness and weight
Daily walk burns off the calories and keeps muscles strong and healthy. Many dogs are overweight and simply by making sure you burn off more calories than are eaten, your dog will stay trim and much healthier.
Muscles need to be exercised or they become weak. Weak muscles will lead to other problems like stiff and arthritic joints. Even old dogs will benefit from a daily walk and if its not too long, a walk will keep joints mobile and functioning and less painful for much longer.
Regular walking helps your dog’s digestive system work better. Just as a walk after a meal can help humans digest their meal, so it can help dogs too. Also, if you have a good routine with your dog, it will look forward to the opportunity to empty its bladder.
Dogs like a ‘toilet routine’ and daily walks are a good time to ‘go’. Urine that sits in the bladder for a long time can cause infections so a walk is another time a dog can “go’ and relieve a full bladder.
Bored dogs will cause problems! Walks are exciting, a time to explore the outdoors and something every dog loves! Dogs that are walked regularly are stimulated and are less likely to chew things. The time you spend with your dog on a walk reduces the chance of other ‘bad’ attention seeking behaviour like barking, whining and chewing.
Dog walking keeps a dog’s mind active as well as its body. On a walk, dogs get to explore other humans, other dogs, other general sites. It’s one of the very best ways to keep a dog’s mind active and stimulated. Being caged in a house or even in a garden or yard all day is boring so exercise the body and the mind at the same time and get rid of all the excess energy.
A dog will love you like no other and it will do anything for your attention. There is no better way to spend quality time with your dog than dog walking. It is a great opportunity to spend quality time with your dog and build on that already-powerful bond of trust and love.
Benefits of dog walking for humans
The biggest benefit from my point of view is just having a much more happy, fitter and contented dog! However, all the benefits that a dog gets through regular walks is also true for the human owner. (Maybe not the going to the toilet on a regular basis bit!).
Dog walking is great for human personal and mental health. So many of you humans are over-weight or obese. What better excuse could you have for regular exercise than taking a dog for a walk?
There have been studies done that show dog owners in the USA who regularly walk their dogs are less likely to be obese than non-dog owners. This blog is about dog walking, but you can google the huge benefits you humans can have by taking a 30 minute walk every day.
While it helps burn off all those extra calories, it lowers your risk of heart disease, osteoporosis, some forms of cancer and the chance of you developing one of the fastest growing diseases in the USA, type 2 diabetes.
Final Massive benefit to humans who walk their dog
Research done recently by one of Australia’s large Universities, (University of WA), found that owning a pet will also benefit the whole community.
The researchers found that dog owners in particular were more likely to be friendlier and speak to other people in the park and streets; be better neighbors and be more helpful than most; be better community people generally, mixing with others in the community more than non-pet owners.
These things all add to a happier, less stressful life!
How often should you walk your dog? Benefits of dog walking - Summary
A very quick answer to how often you should walk your dog is almost every dog should get at least one 15-minute walk twice a day as a minimum or, if you find that hard because of busy work schedules, then at least one 30 minutes walk each day.
HOWEVER, you must consider your own dog and its needs because the answer can be diffrent depending on:-
- A dog’s age
- A dog’s breed
- The size of your dog
- Your dog’s general health
Too much walking and exercise for a pup can cause physical problems later on in life. Short and Frequent is much better than long and tiring for pups
Walking your dog is an essential part of being a dog owner but the physical health benefits and the mental health benefits for both you and your dog are huge!
Learn to enjoy walking with your dog and you are likely to become a better and fitter person with a longer life-span!
"You'll never walk alone because I'll always be with you" Love from - your dog xxx
If you enjoyed “How often should you walk your dog? Benefits of dog walking “, get some more great tips for looking after your dog from the Dogspeaking writing team. Have a read at these two great blogs below
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