If you’re not already taking your pup for regular walks, now is a good time to start a new habit. Walking your dog is a great way to ensure they get the exercise they need to stay healthy. But how often should you walk your dog? And how long should each walk be?
The answer is different for every dog, because how often and how long your dog needs to walk depends on several different factors. At Anasazi Animal Clinic, we want to help you make sure your dog is getting the right amount of exercise. We put together this guide to dog walking to help you keep your dog happy and healthy.
How Often and How Long to Walk Your Dog
Getting the right amount of daily exercise helps dogs maintain a healthy weight and healthy joints, and also prevents boredom and loneliness. But every dog has different needs when it comes to walks. Age and breed are the main factors to consider when determining how often your dog needs to go for a walk, and how long each walk should be.
How old is your dog?
Puppies have lots of energy and need frequent bathroom breaks, so you’ll need to walk them several times a day. A short, 10-minute walk three times each day is ideal for puppies. Before you start taking them for walks, however, it’s important that you leash-train your puppy first. They should also be up-to-date on their vaccinations to keep them safe in case they encounter any other dogs during your walk.
Adult dogs that are in good shape should be walked for 30 minutes to an hour each day, depending on their energy levels. If you have a busy schedule, you can break up your daily walk into multiple 10-minute or 15-minute walks each day.
If your adult dog is out of shape, it’s best to start by taking them on one 10-minute walk each day. You can slowly increase the length of your walks over time as your dog becomes more used to the exercise. However, if your dog has any underlying health issues, it’s best to speak with your vet about what type of exercise your dog can handle.
If your senior dog can still get around easily, they should also be going on walks. Frequent movement helps stimulate their minds, improve their strength, and promote good health as your dog ages. Senior dogs that are already fit and active can walk up to 30 minutes per day, but may need to walk at a slower pace and for shorter intervals throughout the day.
Which breed (or mix of breeds) is your dog?
Some breeds are more active than others, and they will need more frequent walks. For example, small dog breeds like chihuahuas, Pomeranians, and miniature pinschers need at least a 30-minute walk each day. Large dog breeds, like saint bernards, labrador retrievers, and german shepherds may need to walk (or run!) for an hour or more each day.
However, size isn’t the only factor in determining the length your walks should be according to your dog’s breed. For instance, dogs with short snouts like pugs and bulldogs often struggle with breathing, so they will only be able to handle short walks. Calm dog breeds like Portuguese water dogs and Irish setters aren’t as energetic, so they don’t need to go on walks as often as other dogs of the same size.
Tips for Walking Your Dog
Follow these tips to ensure you and your dog have a fun, comfortable walk every time:
- Use positive reinforcement, such as treats and praise to encourage good behavior when interacting with other people and dogs on the walk.
- Avoid wearing out your dog by walking at a casual pace.
- Limit time on asphalt and concrete, especially in the hot summer, to protect their paws.
- Stick to a routine—walk your dog at the same time every day in the same places.
- Bring a bottle of water to prevent you and your dog from becoming dehydrated.
- Get your dog microchipped in case you get separated on a walk.
- Don’t forget to pick up after your dog!
How Do You Know if You’re Walking Your Dog Too Much?
You may be overdoing it on your walks if your dog:
- Slows down
- Stops or lays down and refuses to move
- Starts limping
- Has trouble navigating curbs
- Appears sore or stiff even hours later or the day after the walk
If your dog continues to show these signs after resting for a couple of days, consult your vet to determine if an injury might be the cause.
Veterinarian in Gilbert, Arizona
If you’re not sure how often you should walk your dog, don’t be afraid to ask your veterinarian. At Anasazi Animal Clinic in Gilbert, we’re always happy to answer any questions our clients have about their pets. After examining your dog’s health, we can determine the best daily walking regimen for you and your dog. Call us at 480-497-0505 today to schedule an appointment.