Aside from providing a healthy diet and visiting the vet regularly, your pet also needs exercise to stay healthy. Regular exercise is a great way to keep your pet fit and prevent behavioral problems, such as chewing, barking, pulling on the leash, and whining for attention.
However, as a fur parent, it’s important to know how much exercise your pet needs. Too much physical activity can result in joint injuries, heat sickness, and sore muscles among pets. In worse cases, going overboard with your pet’s exercise routine can cause behavioral changes, like losing interest in doing activities with you.
Before planning how to give your dog regular exercise, you need to consider their age and size first to know what kind of exercise is best for them.
Your Dog’s Exercise Need Based On Age
Throughout their lifetime, dogs will have different energy levels—puppies can keep up with you while senior dogs are more laidback. Take note of the tips below so you can give the best exercise routine for your dog, depending on their age.
Puppies have more energy, which is why it’s best to give them exercise in short periods throughout the day. This is a safer option than going for long walks as this can be too exhausting on your puppy’s body.
Since your puppy is still young, use this opportunity to spend time with her to learn more about her and find out what activities she loves. This will help you create the best exercise plan for your puppy to ensure that she remains healthy and happy!
When giving exercise to an adult dog, consider her breed. High-energy breeds, such as Beagles, Russell Terriers, and Samoyeds, require more physical activities than low-energy breeds, like Bulldogs, Chow Chows, and Great Danes.
One general rule of thumb to follow when giving exercise to adult dogs is to keep the sessions between 30 minutes to two hours every day. Depending on your schedule, you can break that time up to three walks with your dog per day.
Aside from the breed, don’t forget to assess your dog’s health before giving her any exercise. Adult dogs usually develop medical conditions, such as wobbly kneecaps (or patellar luxation), back issues, and health problems, and the wrong exercise might trigger symptoms or worsen their health problems.
If your dog is diagnosed with certain diseases, consult vets first before giving any exercise. Vets can recommend exercise routines to keep your dog healthy without causing any discomfort.
Even if your senior dog no longer has the energy for zoomies or run around your house, you still need to give them exercise. In fact, regular exercise is essential for senior dogs because it can keep their weight healthy and their minds occupied.
Taking short walks is a great exercise for senior dogs. This physical activity doesn’t require too much effort from your pet, and you can easily adjust its duration and intensity.
Just like giving exercises to your adult dog, it’s also important to consult your vet about your senior dog’s physical activities. By partnering with them, you’ll know the dos and don’ts of exercising your senior dog.
Size of Your Dog
Dogs come in different sizes, and each of them requires different types of exercise. If you have two dogs—one toy Poodle and one German Shepherded—don’t expect that giving them the same routines will keep both healthy and happy.
Create the best exercise plan for your pets by paying attention to their size:
Exercise Needed for Toy and Small Dog Breeds
Toy and small breeds require less physical activity because too much exercise can lead to joint issues and unwanted weight loss. Yes, you can still take your Toy Poodle for walks every day, but make sure it’s for short periods only.
Medium and Large Dog Breed Exercise Needs
Medium and large breeds need more exercise to maintain muscles, burn calories, and keep boredom at bay. These breeds can join strenuous physical activities, such as running, hiking, and roughhousing with other pets.
Exercise Required for Giant Dog Breeds
Although large, giant breeds have limited energy levels. These breeds require daily but moderate exercises to stay healthy long-term.
3 Great Pet Exercises
After knowing how much exercise your pet needs, you’ll likely be curious about what type of exercises to give to them. Sure, taking your dog for walks can increase their energy levels and keep them healthy, but there are actually other options.
1. Take Your Dog for a Hike
Just like you, pets love spending a lot of time outdoors. Everything that’s happening outside—how other people move and the changes in the scenery—naturally excites them. For your next hiking trip, take your pet with you and allow her to explore new trails and parks around your area.
2. Bring Your Dog for a Swim
Swimming is a low-impact exercise that provides tons of benefits to your furry friend. By letting your dog swim, she can recover faster from injuries or sprains and release stress.
3. Play Fetch
Fetch is a common exercise suitable for every dog breed and age as your dog has complete control over how fast (or slow) she wants to retrieve her toy and return it to you. If you want to take it up a notch, toss your dog’s favorite toy in the water or let her run uphill or downhill.
Talk to Your Veterinarian
If this is your first time to incorporate exercise into your pet’s routine or plan on changing any of their physical activities, consult your vet first. Every pet is unique and making drastic changes to their routines might do more harm than good.