As we are concerned about our health and fitness, we need to be considerate about our dog’s health too. Just like walking can help us relieve our mental tension and shed some extra calories, so can it for our dogs. It’s no secret that most dogs feel relaxed and rejuvenated after taking a light stroll.
Will a light stroll suffice? Maybe not.
Being a dog owner, you have to take your dog on walks often to help him be in shape and sound mental health. But how often do you walk your dog? And, how often should you take your dog for a walk?
Before diving directly into the topic, here are some itsy-bitsy facts you should know.
Factors Affecting the Dog Walk Requirements
The factor that mainly determines the walk requirements of dogs is their breed.
In general, dogs are divided into seven different groups.
- Working Dogs
- Hunting Dogs
- Herding Dogs
- Toy Dogs
- Sporting Dogs
- Non-Sporting dogs
These groups are organized based on size, energy levels, fierceness, and jobs they excel at.
The dogs that have high energy levels require frequent walking. If you have a working, hunting, herding, and sporting dog, you’d need to walk him more than 2 hours a day.
On the contrary, if you have a Toy Dog, Non-Sporting Dog, or Terrier, he should be walked for 40 to 60 minutes a day. You should also know that though breed matters, individual characteristics, age, and physical features of a dog also influence the walking requirements of a dog.
Age is also an imperative factor that impacts how much a dog can walk.
Puppies and adult dogs are more energetic and need a lot of playing to release their cooped-up energy. Not taking them to walk might frustrate them, causing some behavioral issues.
Senior or old dogs get tired easily owing to their weak muscles and respiratory issues. Even a ten-minute walk can cause heavy breathing and frequent panting in senior dogs. However, walking them is essential to keep them in shape and burn the extra calories they accumulate from their meals.
Another important factor that affects the walking requirements of dogs is their size.
Walking Small Sized Dogs
Small, miniature, or toy dog breeds such as Teacup Pomeranians, Chihuahua, and Toy Poodles have tiny body parts. On average, small dogs have a size of 15 cm to 36 cm (6 inches to 14 inches) and weighs around 1.5 kg to 11 kg. These dogs are short-legged, meaning that they can’t walk fast. They are energetic and love to play a lot, but they get tired quickly due to their minimal physiques,
If you have a small-sized dog, you need to low-intensity walk him for 15 to 20 minutes twice a day. Make sure you give them water along the way to avoid dehydration.
Walking Medium-Sized Dogs
The walking requirements of medium-sized canines are slightly greater than small dogs.
On average, medium-sized dogs have a height of 8 to 27 inches and weigh around 20 to 60 pounds.
The energy levels of medium-sized dogs vary with each breed. Dogs such as Border Collie, Vizsla, Airedale Terrier, etc., are medium-sized, but they are bursting with energy invariably and want to go outside for running and walking whenever they can. These dogs need at least 2 hours of walking plus additional workouts to keep their energy levels normalized.
On the other hand, we have Bulldogs, Basset hounds, Chow chows, etc. They are medium-sized dogs, having low energy levels. They tend to sleep whenever they get the chance; while walking, they start to pant after 20 to 30 minutes.
Walking Large Dogs
Most working dogs, protection dogs, guard dogs, and some sporting dogs, non-sporting dogs, and terrier dogs have large sizes.
It’s not quite necessary that all huge dogs would need more exercise. However, the majority of giant dogs do require frequent exercise to keep their energy hormones at the bare minimum.
Large dogs such as Anatolian Shepherd Dogs, Rottweilers, Shiba Inus, Salukis, Chesapeake Bay Retrievers, and Labrador Retrievers have exuberant vitality and need to be walked for more than two hours along with their daily agility exercises.
On the other hand, huge dogs such as Great Danes, Saint Bernard, Bullmastiffs, etc., require 40 to 60 minutes of walking per day.
Breed, size, and age don’t matter if the dog is having health issues. There are a number of canine diseases that can affect puppies, adult dogs, and senior dogs alike, making them weak. Thus, their walk requirements also change accordingly.
Issues With Internal Organs
GDV is a common canine disease that occurs if a dog overeats, has a sensitive stomach, or eats toxic foods. It usually happens when a dog eats or drinks rapidly and then does vigorous exercises soon after. DV is known to be the number one killer of canines.
Therefore, it is recommended not to take your dog for a walk right after eating.
In this disease, the muscles of dogs start to weaken, causing troubles in getting up after they have been lying down. Dogs also become lazy and keep lying around all the time.
If your dog is faced with this situation, exercising or walking can aggravate the issue. Consult your vet; he or she will guide you on how much—and how often—should you take such a dog on walks.
A dog’s vestibular system includes a complex collection of nerve systems located in the inner ear and brain, which helps the dog maintain physical balance and control head, eye, and leg positions.
Vestibular Syndrome is a common condition of senior dogs in which dogs show abnormal behavior such as loss of balance, head tilt, circling, trouble walking, etc.
If a dog has VS, taking them for a walk would be painful for them.
Besides the above diseases, your dog can also suffer from several other conditions that chip away their energy, making it harder for them to walk.
If your dog is enduring health conditions, Keeping Pet advises you to consult a veterinarian about walking your dog.
Issues With Joint and Bone
Other than soft organ issues, dogs are prone to physical issues as well.
Canine Hip Dysplasia (CHD) is a condition that begins in dogs as they grow and results in instability or a loose fit (laxity) of the hip joint.
CHD is multifactorial in nature—genetics being the main risk factor.
Moreover, increased nutritional intake can lead to rapid weight gain and growth, complicating CHD development. Predominantly, it is large breeds that are affected by hip dysplasia.
Canine Elbow Dysplasia (ED) is a developmental disorder of the elbow joint. Most dog breeds can suffer from elbow dysplasia, but generally, large to giant breeds most often do.
In dogs, angular or rotational limb malformation is a pathological abnormality that results in abnormal spatial alignment of their limbs. Because of ALD, a dog can develop abnormal posture with twisted front and back joining incongruity that causes painful lameness.
Panosteitis is an inflammatory condition that affects the outer surface of one or more long legs of canines.
Young, rapidly growing dogs are most susceptible to this bone disease. Even though it can occur in any breed of dog, Panosteitis is prevalent in larger breeds, such as German Shepherds (most common), Great Danes, Rottweilers, Doberman Pinschers, and Golden Retrievers.
A dog’s bone can be fractured for many reasons. Traffic accidents, falling from higher places, heavy objects falling on them, and so forth, can cause fractured bones. The bone does not break during such an incident, although it can be pulled from the socket.
In all of the above cases, it’s highly dangerous to take your dog out for a walk as it can add up to the pain that your innocent dog is already bearing.
How Often Do You Walk Your Dog?
Now that you know about what factors influence the walk requirements of a dog, there is another factor that dives in, and that is your time schedule.
If you have a busy routine and can’t spare enough time, it can impact your dog’s walk routine. Therefore, before opting for a dog, you need to know how much time you can spare for your dog.
With that settled, you should take the dog out at least twice a day for strolling. Even if your dog is lazy, take them out regularly. The main purpose of a dog going outside is to balance the bowel movements, something he or she must do every day. Therefore, daily walks are mandatory.
- Morning walk before breakfast
- Midday walk during the potty break
- Walk or jog before dinner
- Before bedtime, another walk or a potty break
When to Not Walk Your Dog
You should not walk your dog when he is ill, as physical exercises can deteriorate their health further. Try to avoid taking him out even for defecation. Rather help them with their elimination as per their potty training routine.
Benefits of Walking Your Dog
Walking your dog can be beneficial in various aspects. Let’s find out how!
Walking helps them empty their bladder. As soon he is out of the house, he can release the pressure on his internal organs. Since dogs don’t poop where they sleep, taking them out becomes mandatory. It is recommended to potty train your dog according to your own schedule. With this, speaking idiomatically, you can kill two birds with one stone!
If you’ve been socializing your dog, then you know the first step is to take him on a walk.
Instinctively, when a dog sees something new, he feels insecure, considers it a threat, and tries to attack it. If you’d take your dog out with you daily, your dog would know that people and other creatures out there are not dangerous. With that, not only will his confidence boost up, but he won’t be a threat to other people as well.
Being cooped-up in an apartment or a house can be frustrating for your dog. Though you can entertain him with indoor games, physical activities have a totally different impact. Your dog will go out, sniff the fresh air, see different things, jump around, meet with other pets—all these experiences will bust his boredom, making him happy and calm.
Daily walks burn your dog’s calories, keeping him in shape. Dogs love to eat. But lying in bed all the time can cause obesity in them, further making them prone to other diseases. This is why walks are necessary for them. It will burn the extra fats, and your pooch will stay sturdy, muscular, and healthy.
Lastly, the mental well-being of your dog is another benefit of walking him daily. Being enclosed in one place can exasperate your dog, and he can develop some negative behaviors, aggression being the most noticeable of them.
Some dog breeds, including Golden Retrievers, Bichon Frises, and Vizslas, can feel anxiety and depression, if left alone. On the contrary, dog breeds such as Cane Corsos, Dogo Canario, and Doberman show extremely aggressive behavior such as digging, chewing, barking, or scratching if not given proper physical activity.
Dog Breed Walk Requirements
Dog Breeds That Need More Walk
- Siberian Husky
- German Shepherd
- Border Collie
- Afghan Hound
- American Leopard Hound
- Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog
- Basset Fauve de Bretagne
- Bavarian Mountain ScentHound
- Belgian Laekenois
- Bohemian Shepherd
Dog Breed With Low Energy
- English Bulldog
- Chow Chow
- Basset Hound
- Boston Terrier
- Tibetan Spaniel
- Shih Tzu
How often do you walk your dog? It is a simple question, yet there are many physiological and psychological aspects beneath it. We hope you understood them completely. That said, the information we presented are for general purpose. How much and how often do you walk your dog depend on some factors peculiar only to your dog. Thus, we recommend consulting a vet before designing a walk schedule for your dog.