How much exercise does your dog actually need?
Not getting enough exercise is a real problem for dogs. Not only can a lack of walkies cause health issues, such as obesity, it can also lead to behavioural problems. Under-exercised canines can show their frustration by chewing, over grooming, excessive barking or even toileting in the house.
DID YOU KNOW?
The 2019 PDSA Animal Wellbeing (PAW) report revealed that 1.3 million dogs in the UK aren’t walked every day
While all dogs need daily exercise, how much depends on their breed, age, health and even their personality. This is also something that requires some serious consideration if you’re thinking about adding four paws and a waggy tail to your family. Could you manage to fit in two or more hours a day of exercise that a Golden Retriever, Border Collie or Springer Spaniel requires? Would your lifestyle be more suited to a breed that’s comfortable with 30 minutes a day – such as a Miniature Dachshund, King Charles Spaniel or Pomeranian?
Also bear in mind that even dogs of the same breed may have different requirements – one dog might enjoy endless country walks, while another prefers playing games in the park.
As a guide, animal charity PDSA has created a chart which outlines the minimum recommended amounts for different breeds. Here are some of the highlights:
The endurance athletes – 2 hours + per day
- Alaskan Malamute
- Border Collie
- English Springer Spaniel
- German Shepherd
- Golden Retriever
- Labrador Retriever
- Siberian Husky
The mid-range specialists – 1 hour + per day
- Bassett Hound
- Border Terrier
- Bull Terrier
- Cairn Terrier
- Cocker Spaniel
- Dogue de Bordeaux
- English Bulldog
- Lhasa Apso
- Miniature/Toy Poodle
- Miniature Schnauzer
- Saint Bernard
- Shetland Sheepdog
- Shih Tzu
- Staffordshire Bull Terrier
- Tibetan Terrier
- West Highland Terrier
The gentle joggers – 30 minutes + per day
- Bichon Frise
- King Charles Spaniel
- Miniature Dachshund
- Miniature Pinscher
- Yorkshire Terrier
The PDSA also has some top exercise tips:
- You don’t have to do it all in one go, in fact it’s better to split activity time into several shorter sessions over the day.
- Vary your route to keep your walks interesting and exciting.
- As well as at least one walk daily, also mix in plenty of playtime and training into your dog’s regular routine.
- Don’t rush your dog on walks and always allow them to stop and have a good sniff around – this is important for their mental health. Find out why having a good sniff is super important to your canine pal – and how it can even help address behaviour issues and improve recall here
- Dogs should also be able to spend some off-lead time in a secure area. If this is your garden, make sure it’s a good size for your breed (large breeds need big gardens) and is dog-proof.
- Don’t throw sticks for your dog to chase – they can splinter and injure your dog’s mouth and throat.
- If you throw a ball, make sure it’s not small enough for your dog to swallow.
- Always make sure your dog is wearing a collar and tag and that their microchip details are up to date.
- Don’t forget to take some poop bags and a selection of treats with you. Treats are very handy for recall, reassurance or distraction if your dog is upset by something while you’re out.
Burgess in-house vet, Dr Suzanne Moyes, advises: “Throughout their life, dogs need different amounts of exercise. A puppy won’t be able to do a two-hour walk and, as your dog ages, you’ll find they may not be able to keep up with you as they once did. If your canine companion is still full of energy when you get home, it’s a good indication that they need more exercise. Dogs that struggle on walks or aren’t keen to go out may require less – or it could be that there’s an underlying health issue to needs to be addressed. The best idea is to always check with your vet that your exercise routine is suitable for your dog.”
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