How Often Does Your Dog Need to be Walked?

dog stare

Just like humans, dogs get a little bit grumpy when they aren’t getting enough exercise. But unlike their human counterparts, most dogs need a lot of exercise—not just 20 minutes on the treadmill in the morning.

That’s not to say every single dog needs to be walked twice a day, though. Every dog is a little different, and only some of his inclinations toward exercise depend on breed and genetics. If you’re worried that your dog isn’t getting enough exercise or wondering if you’re working him too hard, see our list of ways to determine how often you should be walking your pup:

  • If he’s overweight, you’re both in trouble. A pretty simple way to determine if a dog needs a walk is to simply take a look. Has he put on some weight? Your vet can give you a concrete answer on this matter, but if you pay close attention, you’ll probably be able to eyeball it when your dog puts on a few pounds. Typically, when a dog starts gaining weight, that means his owner has been less active with him—so you might be gaining weight, too. Time to increase your time walking and playing for both of your sakes.
  • He should be sleepy. If your dog is totally wound up by the end of the day and zooming around the house, that’s a good clue that you’re falling short in the exercise department. You don’t want to push a dog to keep walking if you’ve already been outside for 30 minutes and he’s starting to plod along at a slow pace. But you do want him to be tuckered out when you get home and ready for a nap.
  • Take note if he’s wheezing. Dogs with short snouts (like pugs, for instance) often have a difficult time breathing. That’s not just when they’re exercising, either. Pugs and other similar breeds can often be heard wheezing just walking around the apartment. So if you own a dog like this, don’t overdo it on the walks. You should still take your pooch outside for a walk around the block, but turn home if he starts showing signs of breathing issues.
  • Don’t break into a trot—at least right away. Only the most athletic breeds really enjoy going on a long run with you. Puppies shouldn’t be expected to jog, since their bones are still forming. Older dogs, on the other hand, are prone to injuries, arthritis, and other health issues. So in general, walking is better than running. If you do intend to take your dog out on the jogging path with you, make sure he’s in great shape beforehand so that he can keep up without becoming exhausted.
  • Know your breed. As we mentioned before, perhaps the most important clue in determining how often to walk your dog stems from his specific breed. If you aren’t sure what the guidelines are for your pup, check out this list of dogs who need a lot of exercise and dogs that don’t. Even if you have a mutt, if you’ve got a good idea of his origins you can still probably estimate about how often you should be taking him outside for a stroll.

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