All dogs have different needs but depending on your dog's breed, they may need more or less exercise than they are currently getting. So here is everything you need to know so that your pet gets the right amount of exercise.
During the lockdown, many of us learnt to appreciate pulling on our best walking shoes and taking our dogs out for a long walk. Exercise is essential for dogs and it is also a great way for humans to keep fit too.
However, it’s important to ensure your furry best friend is getting the right amount of exercise. Too much or too little exercise can cause serious mental and physical issues with your dog.
Bryony Cole, a dog expert working with ProDog Raw (opens in new tab) tells Woman & Home, "It’s important to research how much exercise your dog needs as all breeds vary. Some breeds require more daily mental and physical exercise than others to keep them happy and content."
She also revealed that if you are the owner of a young puppy, your little one will have specific needs too. She states, "Puppies have to have a very specific amount of exercise up to a certain age, to make sure they don’t develop any joint or muscle issues later in life."
What happens if you under-exercise your dog?
Bryony revealed that many dogs that do not get the exercise they need can develop obesity and behavioural issues that can make them act out.
She said, "Under-exercised dogs can be hyperactive, destructive, excessive barkers. Not walking your dog can also cause obesity and behavioural problems. If your dog is obese, you will also need to monitor their diet carefully."
She continued to say, "Most dogs require exercise every day to maintain a healthy mental state, a dog who is walked regularly is a happy dog, and a happy dog is easier to live with!"
What happens if you over-exercise your dog?
Bryony also revealed that over-exercising can be just as worrisome as underexercising. She revealed that underexercising can cause permanent damage that can cause your dog issues that last throughout their lifetime.
She revealed, "If you over-exercise a young dog you can do lasting damage to their body. Over exercising in adult dogs can cause stress from being overtired, it can cause pain in the form of lameness or stiff joints, and it can cause them to be irritable and more likely to bite."
How long should you walk your dog for?
The PDSA has brought out a guide (opens in new tab) on how long you should be walking your dog, depending on their breed. However, it’s worth pointing out that the information is a rough guide (as every dog is different and even dogs that are the same breed might have different activity inclinations, like preferring more active play to walking.)
The charity suggests that smaller dogs like Bichon Frises, Miniature dachshunds, King Charles spaniels should be getting a 30-minute walk a day, on top of playtime. Whereas English bulldogs, whippets, pugs, and Saint Bernards are just a few dogs that should be walked for an hour a day.
Alternatively, dogs that should be walked for around two hours a day are Golden retrievers, Labradors, springer spaniels, and various other larger dogs.
Of course, these walks don’t need to happen in one go - for example, a morning walk and an evening walk could help break the time up. This will also ensure your dog doesn't get too tired.
So grab your best walking socks and get ready for a walk.
Below is the PDSA’s list of dog breeds and how long each one should be walked for:
Dogs that need a 30 minute walk (on top of playtime):
- Bichon Frise
- Yorkshire terrier
- Miniature dachshund
- King Charles spaniel
- Miniature pinscher
Dogs that need a one hour walk (on top of playtime):
- Staffordshire bull terrier
- Border terrier Bull terrier
- Saint Bernard
- Bassett hound
- Dogue de Bordeaux
- Tibetan terrier
- West Highland terrier
- Cairn terrier
- Cocker spaniel
- Miniature schnauzer
- Miniature or toy poodle
- Shetland sheepdog
- English bulldog
- Shih tzu
- Beagle Greyhound
- Lhasa Apso
Dogs that need a two hour walk (on top of playtime):
- Siberian husky
- Golden retriever
- Alaskan malamute
- Border collie
- English springer spaniel
- German shepherd
- Labrador retriever
- Irish setter
- Rhodesian ridgeback
- Australian shepherd
Lizzie Thomson is a regular contributor to woman&home, and also contributes to Metro.co.uk, Ideal Home, Culture Trip, and Evening Standard, covering all things lifestyle.
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