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Dog Running and playing with it's toy

How Much Dog Exercise Is Needed for a Healthy and Happy Dog

If you have a dog, you will know that they are loyal, loving and adorable pets. You will also be aware of the responsibility of exercising your dog. Sufficient exercise is important for your dog’s physical and mental health.  Exercise helps your dog stay fit and healthy while providing mental stimulation. Dogs with occupied and stimulated minds are less likely to suffer from behavioural disorders such as anxiety and boredom. Exercise will allow your dog to socialise with other dogs, and spending time with your dog will strengthen the pet-owner bond. The amount of exercise your dog needs will depend on age, breed and general health. This blog will help you to understand the activity levels your dog needs and how to exercise safely. 

How much exercise does a puppy need? 

Puppies will have more energy than adult dogs. They require more exercise but in shorter bursts. Puppies are better suited to several short exercise sessions a day. Avoid high impact exercise as it is not suitable for your pup’s growing bones and joints. Carefully monitor your puppy for over exertion during exercise and don’t persist if they are tired out. If you intend to take your puppy outdoors for exercise, check with your local veterinarian beforehand if this is appropriate for their vaccination status. The activity level of every puppy will be different, but exercising is a great time to have fun with your pup, learn about their personality and practice training techniques. You should consider exercise requirements when choosing a puppy- exercising your dog is a commitment. Active breeds are only suited to those who already have an active lifestyle. 

How much exercise does an adult dog need? 

Exercise levels for adult dogs depend on their breed. More active breeds such as herding dogs and retrievers will have higher energy levels and increased exercise requirements. These dogs will require at least two hours of exercise a day such as walks, runs and playing at the park. Smaller dogs might not need the same amount of exercise as larger dogs, but they should still be exercising every day for around half an hour at least to maintain muscle tone and prevent obesity.  

Older dogs may not be as mobile or active, but still require daily exercise. Depending on their mobility and health concerns, such as arthritis, more frequent, shorter walks might be better. Consult with your veterinary professional to work out a suitable exercise routine for your elderly dog. 

What Kind of Exercise is Best for my Dog? 

1. Walking 

Walking is the most popular form of exercise and is suitable for all dogs. 

2. Running 

Running is suitable for active dogs. Dogs with longer legs will be better able to keep up with their owners! 

3. Swimming 

Swimming is a wonderful way to exercise confident swimmers. Swimming may be recommended for dogs that need non-weight bearing exercise. Dogs with joint disease can benefit from this.  

4. Hiking 

If you love nature, hiking can be a great exercise for your dog. Ensure that your dogs are permitted in the area that you intend to hike.  

5. Cycling 

Cycling with your dog is generally not recommended as there is the risk of accidents and entanglement so make sure they are trained well.  

6. Mental Stimulation 

Exercise will help with your dog’s mental stimulation. This can be continued at home with interactive puzzles and toys. A dog with an active mind will be less likely to suffer from anxiety, boredom and destructive behaviours.  

Safe exercise for your dog 

Exercise is generally always on the lead unless you are in a designated off-lead area. Be careful that your lead doesn’t become tangled or a trip hazard.  Off-lead exercise is useful to avoid over exertion. You should exercise your dog within their limits. If they keep panting, lagging, sitting or lying down, you should stop for a rest. Return home if your dog is too tired to continue. Do not overexert puppies and avoid high impact exercise. Vigorous exercise can cause damage to developing bones and joints.  

It is important to not exercise any dog during very hot weather. Dogs can be prone to heat stroke, especially brachycephalic breeds (dogs with a squashed snout).  Dogs cannot efficiently regulate their body temperature. They cool themselves by panting and sweating through their paw pads. Just because you feel comfortable exercising doesn’t mean your dog does. Signs of heat stroke include panting, drooling, vomiting and collapse. It potentially can be fatal. Never exercise your dog during the heat of the day in summer. Aside from the risk of heatstroke, dogs can burn their paws on a hot road or footpath. If you are concerned your dog is suffering from a heat related disorder, you should move them to a cool place; apply cool, running water if possible; and seek immediate veterinary attention. To help maintain hydration during exercise, bring a portable water bowl for your dog.  

Exercise is vital for your pet’s physical and mental health. The amount of exercise a dog needs will depend on their age, breed and overall health. As a responsible dog owner, you should ensure your dog’s daily exercise needs are met in a way that is safe for you and your pet. Daily exercise and mental stimulation will keep your dog happy and healthy. Exercise will improve your dog’s well-being and strengthen the bond between you and your furry friend. 

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