While having a dog can be a rewarding, life-enhancing experience, unlike other house pets, dogs require a lot of care and attention — namely, walks. Every dog parent knows that walking is part of any dog’s essential daily routine. It not only helps keep them in shape, but is really important for their mental health, too. But, how often do you walk your dog? It is normal to have doubts about both the amount and duration of dog walks, especially as each dog has individual needs, which should definitely play a role in deciding how much walking your furry friend needs. If you ever wondered: “How often should I walk my dog?”, don’t worry. We have all the answers you need to make the best of it!
Why do dogs need to be walked?
Dogs need regular exercise to stay in shape, both physically and mentally. Big or small, puppy or senior, your dog needs daily physical activity in order to stay healthy and happy.
Why is walking your dog regularly important?
When you say: “It’s time to walk the dog,” people assume that your pup needs to go do his “business”. But, walking your dog is about so much more than just “potty breaks.” The benefits of walking your dog include:
Just like a child, your dog wants to get to know the world. If he or she is confined to the house for too long, your dog will get bored, which can lead to destructive behavior. Your dog is dependent on you to take it out on walks to explore the sights, smells, and sounds of the world. So, let them enjoy every opportunity!
Health and exercise
Exercise helps tone the muscles of your dog, improves joint functions and keeps their body and metabolic systems in top shape. A passive pooch can quickly become overweight, which causes potential health problems.Your dog’s cardiovascular and digestive system will both work better with regular dog walks, as they will boost your dog’s immunity, in a natural way.
Social contact is extremely important for dogs. Walks offer your dog an opportunity to play with other furry friends and enjoy many new and exciting learning experiences, which will help him or her feel more comfortable in a variety of environments.
How often should I take my dog out?
There are two answers to this question: it depends, and ask your dog! When determining how often one should walk their dog, several factors should be paid attention to, including the dog’s breed, age and energy level. It should amount to about 3.5 to 14 hours of walking per week. But, here are some things you should consider, when wondering how often you should walk your dog:
Your dog’s breed
Smaller dog breeds have a small bladder and this can affect the frequency of dog walks. On the other hand, small canines have a harder time keeping up with the average human gait than larger breeds, so they might need shorter walks.
Your dog’s age
Younger dogs tend to have more energy, and in general, will need more exercise and walks than middle-aged and seniors dogs. Older dogs may be eager to go on walks mentally, but physically, they might not be able to keep up and can get tired quickly, especially if they have health problems.
Your dog’s energy level
Some dogs are natural athletes, whereas other dogs are mostly couch potatoes. This can be due to a dog’s breed, or it could just be the individual preference of the dog. Pay attention to your dog’s energy level while inside and outdoors, as well as to how quickly it gets tired during walks, so you could adjust the frequency and duration of exercise accordingly. Dogs that have high energy levels will require more walks.
How many walks a day does a dog need?
The general rule is that dogs need to be walked 3 – 4 times per day, for at least 15 minutes. The number of dog walks a day should amount to about 30 minutes to 2 hours of exercise.
Do I need to walk my dog everyday?
All dogs should be walked regularly, each day, regardless of their age, breed or size. It is the “how long” and “how often” parameters that you need to adjust to your dog’s needs, when walking your dog.
How long should you walk your dog?
When considering how long or far to walk your dog, remember to keep your pet’s age, health and energy level, as well as physical features in mind. For example, short-nosed breeds are prone to respiratory problems and may overheat more easily, so walks should be kept to 20 to 30 minutes. Larger dogs may prefer longer walks and intensive exercise, rather than a few neighborhood strolls, that would probably be enough for a short-legged dog. Dogs are generally fine to go, until they are tired, and most dog owners can tell if their pet is worn out.
Can you walk your dog too much?
Another question that many people have is can you over-walk a dog? Even though it might seem as if your dog is a furball of infinite energy, there is such a thing as walking your dog too much. Dogs who overexert themselves can experience damaged paws, sore muscles, joint injuries and heat exhaustion. If your dog pants vigorously, starts to limp, slows down or refuses to move, it might be a sign that you should end the walk.
The best time to walk your dog
We’ve established how often you should walk your dog. But, now you’re probably wondering when it is best to walk your dog. First thing in the morning? Before bed? Before or after meals? Dogs are creatures of habit, so a regular walking schedule should generally be followed. An ideal dog walking schedule is:
- A short morning walk before breakfast
- A short walk or potty break midday
- A longer walk or run before dinner
- Another walk or potty break before bed
Of course, you can always adjust the time to walk your dog according to your schedule.
Walking your dog is good for you, too!
Not only is taking your dog on walks good for your best buddy’s health and well-being, but dog owners enjoy numerous health and social benefits by walking their dogs, as well! Many people need outside motivation to work out and may benefit from an exercise buddy to get them off the couch. Improved cardiovascular fitness, lower blood pressure, stronger muscles and bones and decreased stress are just some of the benefits of going on regular walks with your pooch.
Going on regular walks has health benefits for both you and your dog. Ready to get out of the house with your four-legged friend? With this insight, you’ll never look at a walk with your dog the same way again!
Jack was born and educated in Ireland and U.K. He has a varied education, mostly in engineering projects. Since then he has worked with a number of major companies with interests in various parts of the world. His personal interests include athletics, cross country skiing and especially long distance running. Jack has competed in many running events and some at an international level, including many marathons. He has always had a keen interest in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. More recently he has specialized in the areas of health and supplements, with a special focus on the immune system.