Regular walking your dog can benefit your dog in many ways. It can improve the weight and body condition as well as the physical and mental health of a dog. It also promotes joint health. Thus, walking your dog is paramount for the development and growth of the dog.
Many people take walking as just a break for potty. Walking is important to keep your house clean but apart from that walking is crucial for your Fido. You should walk your dog regularly and try to maintain a schedule.
Before setting up your dog for a walking routine you should know how much walk does a dog need to keep himself healthy. Some dogs need small walks whereas others need a long walk. Therefore, many paw parents ask, how long should I walk my dog?
But, the answer to this is not as simple as it seems. The duration of walks depends on the age and breed of the dog. Let us dive deeper and explore how long should a dog walk.
How Long Should I Walk My Dog?
Dogs need exercise to stay happy and healthy and daily walks are an essential part of it. Hence, the question arises, how long should you walk a dog? Depending on the age and breed, the length of the walk may differ.
It is said that puppies are very active. They have high energy levels so they might walk longer than young dogs. Well, this is just a myth. Though puppies have high energy, they lack stamina and thus they tire easily.
Puppies need just 5 to 10 minutes of walking thrice or even more per day. With such short and frequent walks, your puppy will be enough stimulated. Also, this routine will help to set them up for potty training and leash training.
Senior dogs, on the other hand, can walk longer than puppies depending on their health and medical condition. You can walk your senior dog once or twice a day for 20 to 30 minutes. If your dog is healthy and is comfortable to continue the walk, then you can increase the duration of walks.
Adult dogs have the highest stamina. They can walk for longer lengths as compared to puppies and senior dogs. You can give your Fido long walks of about 40 to 45 minutes twice a day. You can also bump up the frequencies as well as the duration of the walk depending on the energy and diet of your dog.
The breed of the dog also matters a lot when deciding the duration of the walk. Small breeds with short legs like Chihuahuas, Maltese and Pomeranians need a shorter walk whereas breeds with long legs will have to walk longer as they can cover quite a large distance in a few steps.
However, some short-legged dogs do just fine with longer walks, so talk to your vet and gauge your dog’s abilities accordingly. Breeds with pushed-in faces(Brachycephalic breeds) like Boxer, Pug and French bulldogs also require small walks as the face structure makes it difficult for them to breathe.
You can start walking these dogs for about 15-20 minutes and stretch the time gradually. If your dog feels fine with it without panting and signs of tiredness then you can increase the duration until your dog feels comfortable.
On the flip side, medium to large breeds like English springer spaniel, Golden retriever and Labrador retriever and athletic breeds like Australian shepherd, Siberian husky and Weimaraner require longer walks. These breeds are usually able to go for moderate and long walks with ease.
For these dogs, you can easily start their walking routine of about 45 to 60 minutes twice a day. If the dog is comfortable, you can also increase the duration by some more minutes. Some dogs actually need much more amount of exercise to keep their body healthy and digest their food.
What Times of Day Are Best for Dog Walks?
Many paw parents set the walking schedule of their Fido according to the convenience and time from their busy routine. However, according to the cycle of your dog, generally morning and evening walks are best for dogs.
This will set the dog up for a potty break and you won’t need to walk him separately for it. Moreover, morning and evening walks also avoid the direct sun during peak hours. Many light-furred dogs are prone to sunburn. Hence, they should strictly avoid sun rays between 10 am to 4 pm and take advantage of the cooler temperatures. Be aware of when is it too cold to walk your dog as well.
Tips for Walking Your Dog
Walking a dog is an essential everyday exercise. By doing so, not only you are providing your dog with a happy and healthy life, but mental stimulation too. By maintaining a walking routine, your dog can also set a potty routine for himself.
Therefore, it is important to engage your dog in frequent walks depending on the individual. You can follow these tips to engage your dog and help yourself with what is required for your dog.
Tips for a comfortable walk:
- Choose the right collar or harness and lead that is comfortable and well-fitted for your dog. Also, make sure to leash-train your dog.
- Ensure that your puppy is trained to return to you when you call their name.
- Take any food, treats, water and toys that you will need with you. It is important to keep your Fido hydrated during the walks.
- Never exercise your dog on a full stomach as this may contribute to bloating their body.
- Know where you’re allowed to walk with your dog and check that any pitstops are dog-friendly.
- If your dog is reactive towards other dogs or people, read our guide on how to walk a reactive dog to make walks more comfortable for both of you
You should take care of your Fido and not walk him too long than required. This can tire the dog, dehydrate him and can be fatal to his health. Opt for frequent regular distances. If your Fido want then you can stretch the duration up to a few minutes.
Also make sure to wear the best dog walking gloves to protect your hands and improve your grip on the leash
- Is 1 walk a day enough for a dog?
The amount of exercise your dog needs will vary according to its breed, but every dog should have at least one walk a day, often two depending on their age, breed and medical condition.
- Is it OK not to walk your dog every day?
In any case, it is OK to skip the long daily walk every once in a while. On days without walks, we just need to make sure that the dog gets enough opportunities for potty breaks. Adjust the frequency of these trips to your dog’s age and health status.
- Is too much walking bad for a dog?
If they are not used to more than a 10-minute walk or playtime, suddenly expecting more than an hour of activity can set them up for injury and medical problems. If they’re over-extended, they may be resistant to exercise or develop mobility issues, anxiety, and exhaustion/lethargy
- What is the best time to walk a dog?
The morning and evening hours are usually fairly quiet, being a good time to take your dog out. At the start or end of the day, a walk should be calm and relaxed, a little treat to tire your pet so as to be able to doze off upon returning home
Walking your dog is more than just a physical activity. It is also a mental and emotional stimulation that enriches your dog’s life and strengthens your bond. The length of your walks should be tailored to your dog’s individual needs and preferences.
As a general guideline, most dogs need at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise per day, but some may need more or less depending on their health and lifestyle. You can also vary the intensity, frequency, and location of your walks to keep them interesting and fun for your dog.
Remember to always consult your veterinarian before starting or changing your dog’s exercise routine, and to monitor your dog’s behaviour and body language during and after the walks. By walking your dog regularly and appropriately, you can help them live a longer, happier, and healthier life. 🐾🐶
- Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome (BOAS). (2023, August 7). Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine.
- Keep pets Safe from sunburn | Pet Talk | VMBS News. (2022, March 11) from Texas A&M University.