How Much Exercise Does a Dog Need?

black and white border collie mix puppy running on brown dirt road during daytime

Regular exercise is essential for all dogs to keep them happy and healthy. The COVID-19 crisis has fortunately changed the routine of dogs. While dogs before the pandemic spent most of their time peeking out of the window, they are now being walked several times a day. But, how much exercise does a dog need?

The current data reveals that dogs now are taking 1000 more steps than when compared to the days before the COVID-19. But, is this change of activity safe for dogs?

How much exercise does a dog need?

Generally, one to two hours of exercise every day is essential to keep dogs healthy and fit. However, since no two dogs are the same, a canine may require more or less activity depending on breed, age, and tolerance.

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It is always best to consult your vet before you begin with a dog exercise program. This is especially true if your dog is suffering from a health condition or concern. After you have consulted with your vet, you can follow some of these simple tips to get started with your dog exercise routine.

Begin Gradually

Dogs that are not used to spending a lot of time outdoors can be overwhelmed when exposed to the outside world, especially when the place is new to them.

Physical exercise is essential to keep dogs healthy. However, the exercises need to be done in moderation. One of the safest ways to increase dog exercise begins slowly and allow the dog to build up tolerance and endurance.

When taking your dog out for walks, begin with a 10- minute walk and gradually increase by 5 minutes per walk every week.

Fetch is a great dog game that can provide high impact exercise for dogs. However, if you are playing the game with your dog all day, it can lead to overstraining the muscles and tendons of the dog.

Dogs can be great running partners. When taking your dog outdoors, run for a couple of minutes initially, and gradually increase the time. However, if you are running with small dogs, you need to be more careful. Small dogs do not have long strides as compared to their guardians. As such, they can find it difficult to get into a rhythm, which could lead to them getting injured.

If your dog has been doing a lot of running around in the backyard, ensure that you set limitations. Gradually increase the time limit of the off-leash run time of your dog. This will help progressively to increase flexibility and endurance in dogs and help stave off health problems.

Dogs who are usually left alone for most of the day or during weekends can feel excited when they suddenly have their family at home every day. However, this can also be a little overwhelming at times because their body is not conditioned for a high-impact play overnight.

Dog Conditioning Tips

Just as physical exercise is essential for every dog, mental stimulation is also necessary to prevent anxiety and destructive behaviors in dogs. Dog puzzle toys, enrichment toys, or dog obedience training, such as teaching your dog basic commands — sit, stand, down, and shake, can help your dog gain self-confidence and be happier.

COVID-19 has allowed dog owners an opportunity to spend more time with their pets. However, be cautious about the type and duration of that activity.

Remember, building up your dog’s physical conditioning gradually can play a vital role in not only helping you and your furry friend to stay active together at all times but also ensures that your dog stays safe and healthy. Learning how to exercise your dog safely, indoors or out, is key.

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