Our lovable furry friends require quite a bit of exercise both for their physical and their emotional health. One of the most common ways to exercise your dog is by taking it for a walk. However, how long should you walk your dog each day to keep it happy and healthy?
How long of a walk does a dog need?
To answer in the simplest way, you should walk it for as long as it wants, but if you are interested in the details keep on reading!
Walking will actually improve your dog’s health
Dogs naturally have to go outside to go to the bathroom, however, taking them out for a walk is so much more than that. According to researchers, walking your dog can keep it healthy in various ways, including:
– Maintaining your dog’s healthy weight
– Improving joint health, which is especially important for senior dogs as their joints get stiffer with age
– Maintaining their digestive and urinary health. By taking them out for a walk you are also providing them means to relieve themselves.
However, this is not only beneficial to your dog, but also to your health as well! Both you and your dog will be getting some exercise every day like this!
Why you should take your dog out for a walk rather than a quick bathroom break
Many dog owners pick the easier option of just letting their dog run around their yard for a few minutes, instead of taking them for a walk. However, generally dogs will actually prefer going on a longer walk as it gives them a chance to explore their surroundings.
Not only does it benefit their physical health, but it keeps their mental health in check as well. That one on one time that you will spend on walks can help to deter their attention seeking behaviors such as barking or whining. It is also a great way to bond with your pet while at the same time meeting their needs.
You should think of this just as some quality time spent with your best friend. Dogs are called man’s best friend after all.
Each dog prefers a different walk length
Take size into consideration when determining exactly how far you should walk your dog daily. Walking a mile with a retriever is not the same as walking a mile with a poodle. Instead of thinking in terms of distance, try to put yourself in your dog’s shoes, well paws in this matter. Take into considerations their age, activity level, breed and health.
Dogs that are younger are naturally more energetic and able to walk longer and faster, but senior dogs on the other hand may just settle for a twenty minute walk at a slower, more peaceful pace. When it comes to puppies, you should split their exercise into multiple shorter walks during the day, while also engaging in play with them.
However, some dog breeds just need shorter walks than others in general. Short nosed breeds, also known as brachycephalic, such as pugs and bulldogs are more likely to experience breathing difficulty when taken for a walk, so it should be kept to about 20 – 30 minutes per day. While, dog breeds such as the pit bull or border collie will be more than willing to go on a lengthy power walk. They can go up to two hours a day!
So, how long should you walk your dog?
Generally speaking, most dog breeds benefit from only 30 minutes up to 2 hours of walking, or general physical activity per day. This, of course, can be done all at once, or split up into two or three walks a day, which most dog owners do. There isn’t a “perfect” formula for figuring out how much to walk your dog, but make sure to squeeze in at least half an hour a day, then increase it to twice a day.
There isn’t a limit to how far you walk your dog, so as long as they are comfortable, by all means continue with it. Some dogs prefer a small walk around the block, while others essentially run a marathon. One thing to keep in mind is to build that distance and stamina over time.