I still fondly remember when my female German shepherd was about 6 months old. She was a huge bundle of joy! She had so much energy that my younger brother and I would switch places just to take her out for a walk each day – apart from the usual game of ‘fetch the tennis ball’.
Keep in mind that all dogs need regular exercise. It doesn’t matter if your doggie is young or old, big or small. Still wondering how much exercise does your dog need? Read on to find out more.
The Importance of Daily Exercise
Different dog breeds require different amounts of exercise, but you also need to consider the following:
- Age of the dog. Puppies and adolescent dogs need more exercise compared to seniors or older dogs.
- Bigger dogs (or those who belong to the hunting, herding, or working groups) will need the most exercise.
- Health condition. If your dog is suffering from achy joints or arthritis, it is best to stay away from rigorous activities and stick to a low-impact exercise like swimming or walking.
- Energy level. It is only natural for large breeds with high energy levels like the Rottweiler or Doberman pinscher to require more exercise than low-energy breeds like the Papillon or Yorkshire terrier.
Regular exercise is an easy way to keep boredom at bay. If your pooch is an exorbitant digger, or if he/she spends a lot of time gnawing on your slippers or shoes, this is a sure sign that your dog has too much energy and will need more exercise each day.
Daily physical activity (Yes, even during the winter and raining months!) is necessary to maintain your dog’s healthy physique. Regular exercise will also boost the metabolic system of your pooch to prevent the onset of viruses and diseases. Of course, it is worth noting that exercise will also engage the mind and the senses of your doggie. Want some ideas for exercising your pooch inside? Check out my recent article: Fun Indoor Activities for Your Dog
In short, it is pretty similar to how humans need regular exercise as well.
What Types of Exercise Activities are Right for My Dog?
Here are a few exercise activities that will get your dog’s heart pumping in no time at all!
- Jogging. If your pooch is relatively healthy, why not take him or her for the morning jog? Jogging is a surefire way to expel all those excess energy while spending some quality time with your pet. Jogging is great for all types and sizes of dog, but you got to watch for signs of exhaustion so you can easily determine if your dog has had enough for the day. Take care when jogging under the sun or during the hot summer months since prolonged exposure to extremely hot weather can cause heat stroke.
- Playing fetch. I usually take my dog to an empty basketball court to play fetch. All you need is a bouncy ball or tennis ball and you’re good to go! Ten to fifteen minutes of rigorous fetching is enough to make my dog pant harder than a marathon runner. The trick is to take short breaks to give your doggie adequate time to catch his/her breath.
- Swimming. There are dogs that naturally love to swim, like the Golden Retriever, Newfoundland, Poodle, and Otterhound. But if your dog is afraid of the water, you can dress him/her up with a doggie life vest. Swimming is a low-impact exercise that will make your doggie extremely tired after a couple of laps at the pool or beach. Throw in some floating toys in the mix to keep your doggie preoccupied in the water.
- Frisbee. Athletic doggies will benefit the most from playing a game of Frisbee. Catching a wayward spinning disc demands a lot of concentration and muscle coordination. However, this type of exercise is only reserved for extremely healthy dogs.
Exercise Needed According to Energy Level
Refer to the simple chart below to determine how much exercise is needed depending on the energy level of your dog.
|Energy Level||How much exercise||Duration|
|Very High||20 minutes to 1 hour||2 to 4 times each day|
|High||15 to 30 minutes||2 to 3 times each day|
|Medium||10 to 20 minutes||2 times daily|
|Low||5 to 10 minutes||Once or twice daily|
Your doggie must be happily tired (rather than exhausted) after each exercise session. Too much exercise may be harmful to your pup’s health, so pay attention for signs of signs of exhaustion.
Before starting with your dog’s exercise program, it is always a good idea to visit the veterinarian for a complete and thorough health check. This especially holds true for older dogs and disabled pooches.
Signs Your Dog Lacks Exercise
Here are the signs to look for to determine if your doggie lacks some daily exercise:
- Destructive behavior. If Fido has a nasty habit of chewing on cables, shoes, or the legs of the living room couch (in my experience, the TV remote control), this is a sign that your doggie lacks exercise. Keep in mind that fear or separation anxiety can also be blamed for Fido’s destructive behavior.
- Hyperactive behavior. Hyperactivity is a sure sign that your doggie is not getting enough exercise. Excessive leash pulling is also a sign that your dog needs to burn more energy.
- Weight gain. If you notice your doggie is putting more unwanted pounds, it may be a sign that Fido needs a bit more exercise. Of course, overfeeding will also cause weight gain, so make sure to adhere to proper feeding practices to prevent obesity.
- Excessive barking or whining. Remember that a tired dog is a quiet dog. While excessive barking or whining is also a sign of boredom, this indicates your pooch might need to burn more energy especially if he/she spends a lot of time indoors.
Now you know how much exercise your dog needs. If you’re unsure about the physical condition of your dog, it is best to seek the advice of a veterinarian in order to determine the right types and amounts of exercise that are specific to the age, size, and health condition of your dog.