Is your dog getting enough exercise? Recent studies have shown that one-quarter of all dogs are overweight, so making sure your dog gets enough exercise is important to maintain a long, happy life.
How much exercise does my dog need?
The amount of exercise that your dog needs varies on many factors, mainly their age, breed, and size. While dogs vary in size, weight, and breed, they all share something in common: their exercise needs change as they get older.
Puppies are known for having lots of energy but they wear out easily. For this, they require less exercise than fully-grown dogs. As your puppy ages, they can spend more time outside playing. A good rule of thumb for exercising puppies is about five minutes of exercise for every month of age once or twice a day. For example, 20 minutes if your dog is four months old.
Puppies should be getting exercise at least once every day, maybe twice if they are a more active breed or have lots of energy. It is important that you don’t over-exercise your puppy. This could damage their growing joints which can cause early arthritis.
2. Adult Dogs
Adult dogs require the most exercise in their daily lives. Dogs should be taken out on walks at least once a day. Walks are beneficial in that not only do they exercise your dog but also provide opportunities to explore new areas and interact with new dogs and people. A 20-minute walk is much more stimulating than letting your dog out in the yard for 20 minutes.
A general rule of thumb is at least 30 minutes a day of exercise for adult dogs. Larger and more active breeds may require more exercise. The key is to determine what is right for your pet. If your dog shows signs of restlessness even after they get the recommended daily exercise, they may require more. On the other hand, your dog may struggle to keep up with other dogs of a similar age and breed and may need less exercise. The key is monitoring your pet to make sure they’re doing what’s right for them.
3. Senior Dogs
As your dog gets older, they may struggle on the long walks they used to love. With age comes joint problems and other issues that make exercise harder. The best way to fight off old age is daily, consistent exercise but you want to make sure you don’t push your dog too hard.
Observe your senior dog’s behavior after exercise to make sure they aren’t in pain. Running and hiking may be difficult for older dogs to do, so shorter walks or swimming can be a helpful alternative.
The dangers of not getting enough exercise
Getting too little exercise can cause canine obesity, lethargy, and behavioral problems. There is currently an epidemic of canine obesity, with the ASPCA reporting that one in every four dogs is now considered obese. With these rising levels of canine obesity come other health problems like heart disease and diabetes.
Making sure your dog is getting enough exercise is an important part of maintaining their health as well as yours. Taking your dog for a walk is an opportunity for you to get outside and get some exercise as well, even if it’s short.
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