How Often Should You Walk Your Dog?

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If you’re like most pet owners, it can be difficult to know how often you should walk your dog. Luckily, we’ve made this handy guide to help.

Walks are an essential part of keeping your dog happy and healthy. You should walk your dog at least once a day for 15 minutes or more. If your dog is young or high-energy, you might walk 3 to 4 times a day. The actual amount you should be walking depends on a few factors: your dog’s breed, physical fitness, and age. Your living space might also affect how often you go out with your furry friend. The most important step is to be attentive to your pet’s signals—no one knows your dog like you.

Breeds can be high-energy or low-energy.

Each pup is unique. As such, different breeds require more exercise than others. All dogs need exercise, but you’ll find that with high-energy breeds, it takes longer to wear your pup out. High-energy breeds include Border Collies, Australian Shepherds, Labrador Retrievers, and Siberian Huskies. Barring other factors, these dogs will probably need 2 or more walks a day for at least an hour total. Bored dogs might “act out” or exhibit destructive behavior. This may not be a behavioral issue but a symptom of too little exercise.

Low-energy breeds include Basset Hounds, Bulldogs, Chihuahuas, Great Danes, Irish Wolfhounds, and Yorkshire Terriers. While these dogs tend to be calm and gentle, they might also grow bored and act out. Remember, this is a spectrum, and like a person, every dog has its own personality. Your Yorkshire Terrier might be a star athlete, or your Border Collie could be a total couch potato.

Fitness is key.

If your dog is sedentary, out of shape, or just not all too thrilled about walking, it’s best to ease them into it. You might start with 15-minute walks and gradually advance to longer walks as your dog is up for it. Dogs in good shape can walk for 30+ minutes. They might even accompany you on hikes.

If you’re still stuck on how long to walk your dog, the best way to find out is to simply go for a walk. Plan to walk for 15-30 minutes. Your dog will probably start with an energetic pace and might even be tugging your forward. After 15 minutes, check in with your dog. Are they slowing down? Struggling to keep pace? Are they more distracted by their surroundings? Panting heavily? These might be signs that your dog has reached their limit. If they are still going strong, check back every 5-10 minutes until your pooch shows signs of getting tired.

You should also watch their behavior after you get home. You might want to shorten your walks if your pet gets home and collapses in one spot for hours without moving.

Age plays a big factor.

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Your pet’s age affects how much exercise they need. Younger dogs generally have more energy and require more exercise. They might even get the “zoomies.” However, long walks are not a good idea for puppies. Their bones and joints are still growing, so it’s best to break up exercise in short bursts, about 15 minutes, multiple times over the course of a day. 

When dogs approach middle age (5-8 years), they become vulnerable to health complications like obesity, diabetes, or arthritis. Walks can be a great way to stave off these complications or help cope with the symptoms. Give your dog time to build up stamina, or you risk doing more harm than good. If your dog is older or at risk, start with short walks (about 15 minutes) and ease them into it. 

Living situations differ.

Where you live also plays a factor in how much you should walk. Different living situations affect how much energy your dog can get out during the day. Dogs living in an apartment without a yard will probably need more walk time than a dog with an acre to roam. Either way, dogs need to get out of their usual living spaces and explore new places.

Finding the time to walk might be tricky because of work or other commitments. If you find you’re not around enough and can afford it, a dog walker can be a great option to keep your pup happy and your schedule less hectic. It can add up, but remember your time is valuable, too. Otherwise, try to build the walks into your schedule. Walks don’t have to be a big commitment—15 minutes of your time makes all the difference for your pet. You might also substitute walking every day for longer walks 3-4 times a week. And if you’re not alone in your household, ask if you can share the responsibility.

The bottom line.

Think about how many days a week you spend without leaving the house. How often does your pup come with you? Guess what—your furry companion is probably jealous of your socialite lifestyle and wants to get out, too! And if you aren’t getting out enough, then you’ve got a fantastic excuse. You will want to walk your dog at least once a day, up to 3-4 times daily. Depending on your dog, this might be 30 cumulative minutes or 2 hours. Ultimately, there’s no easy answer. You know your furry friend best, and no one besides you and your vet can say how much exercise your dog needs. 

Remember, walks aren’t just good for your pet—they’re great for you, too. Regular walks can prevent health conditions, improve your endurance, energize you, or improve your mood and relieve stress. So get out there! The world is yours and your pup’s to explore.

Tyler Kupcho
Author: Tyler Kupcho

Animal lover, proud husky parent. Writing Intern at DogFriendly.com

Tyler Kupcho
Author: Tyler Kupcho

Animal lover, proud husky parent. Writing Intern at DogFriendly.com

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