How Much Exercise Does a Dog Need? Know Everything

A good dog is happy and healthy.”How much exercise does a dog need?” Not only humans but dogs also need some good exercise to stay fit. The sign of an active dog is the amount of physical activity, including dog sports, dog walking, dog exercise, and physical workout. A dog will rely on his owner to keep him in good health.

1. Signs Of Good Health

A dog’s health depends on factors such as:

1.1. Coat

The general condition of a dog’s coat & skin is a good indicator of his health. Whether long or short, a healthy coat is lustrous and pliable, without bald spots, dandruff1, or excessive oil. It should not be coarse, brittle, flaky, greasy, or bumpy. Nutrition and health influence the texture and shine of your dog’s coat from the inside.

Skincare and regular grooming from the outside will also help in keeping your dog’s coat clean and free of tangles. The breeds of dogs whose hair grows continuously and does not shed require regular visits to the “dog salons” for shampoo and a haircut.

1.2. Skin

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Image by José Somovilla from Pixabay

Healthy skin ranges from pale pink to black or brown depending on the dog breed. It should not have ticks, lice, fleas, or other external parasites2. Healthy skin should be clear and supple. Regular brushing of your dog’s coat removes dead skin cells and helps to redistribute and stimulate natural skin oils. A sufficient amount of all nutrients is crucial for healthy skin.

1.3. Nose

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Image by Myléne from Pixabay

A dog’s nose can be pink, black, or self-colored. It is usually moist and cool. Nasal discharge should be clear. The pet’s nose may appear to be dry because of insufficient blood flow in the body.

A moist nose is an indication of adequate hydration in the body. The nose should be of the same size on both the left and the right side. It shouldn’t show signs of textural or pigmentary changes. Consistent inwards and outwards flow of air should be noticed from both nostrils.

1.4. Ears

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Image by José Somovilla from Pixabay

A large amount of wax or crust in a dog’s ear is abnormal. Some brownish or yellow wax is okay. The internals should be clean & light pink in color. The ears should not be smelly. Scratching or pawing excessively at his ear, tilting his head to the side, or repeatedly flipping his head may be a sign of discomfort due to some ear problems. If your pet is turning around in circles or appears a little off-balance, then there might be some serious inner or middle ear infection.

1.5. Eyes

A minimal amount of mucus and clear watery tears are normal. The whites of the eyes should be white, not red or yellow in color. Eyelashes should not touch the eyeball. Healthy eyes are shiny & bright.

Eyes should be free from any kind of dust, dirt, or inflammation. A dull eye surface, excessive tearing, unusual discharges, or cloudiness within the eyeball might be a symptom of an eye problem.

Healthy Dog Eyes
Image by Doris Metternich from Pixabay

1.6. Gums

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Photo by Anna Dudkova on Unsplash

Healthy gums are firm and black or pink in color. Sometimes, it may be spotted as well, just like the dog’s skin. They should be moist and smooth to the touch. Cherry red gums might be painful for your pet as they might bleed easily.

Infection, toxicity, or poisoning may be a reason for the red gums3. Growth in the gums is not always a cause of concern, but sometimes it may be cancerous or painful.

1.7. Teeth

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Photo by gotdaflow on Unsplash

A young dog has 23 baby teeth and an adult dog has around 42 permanent teeth, depending on the dog’s breed. The teeth should be firm, boney, and yellowish-white or off-white. You should brush your teeth with dog-safe toothpaste using either a finger brush or a soft-bristled toothbrush. You might even purchase a doggy dental kit 4to care for their oral hygiene.

1.8. Mouth

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Image by Lenka Novotná from Pixabay

Make sure that the breath is not foul-smelling. Special attention needs to be given to the dog’s teeth and mouth to prevent serious infections. You can give your doggy rubber toys or a natural bone to chew on, which will help strengthen their teeth and help remove plaque or food from their teeth.

1.9. Temperature

The normal temperature range of a dog’s body is 38.3 to 39.2 degrees Celsius, which is hotter than a normal human body temperature. You will need a rectal thermometer to measure your dog’s temperature. Their body temperature can increase when they become excited or stressed.

1.10. Heartbeat & Pulse

Heartbeats vary for dogs of a particular breed because of a wide range of sizes. A healthy heart beats from 50 to 130 times per minute in a resting dog. Small dogs have faster heartbeats as compared to adult dogs.

1.11. Weight

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Photo by Graphic Node on Unsplash

The weight management of a dog depends on daily exercise. The optimal weight results from a balanced diet and enough exercise. If a dog is getting proper exercise and nutritious food and is still underweight or overweight, he may suffer from some health risks.

2. Why Is a Dog’s Exercise Routine Important

2.1. For The Stability of Their Physical Health

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Photo by Alvan Nee on Unsplash

Dogs benefit from exercising daily as it helps them to stay healthy and in shape. Exercise results in healthy body weight and toned muscles, besides an active metabolism5. It maintains the dog’s physical energy. Exercise is essential for a dog’s mind as well as physical energy.

2.2. For Their Mental Stimulation

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Photo by Jamie Street on Unsplash

Physical activities play a huge part in the dog’s mental stimulation. Exercising builds confidence and trust among young puppies and helps them to socialize with people and other dogs. It also helps the owner to form a strong bond with his/her pet.

2.3. Bolster Positive Ones

Besides affecting the dog’s physical and mental well-being, exercising also impacts their behaviors. It keeps the dog healthy and reduces behavioral problems such as unnecessary barking related to separation anxiety, chewing, digging the garbage, predatory behavior, biting, and other anxiety-related problems.

2.4. To Find a Balance

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Photo by Piret Ilver on Unsplash

Regular exercise helps a shy dog to become more “outgoing and happy”. Socialization means introducing our dog to the world so that he is comfortable around different people and other dogs. It brings confidence and positivity to a dog and he becomes more friendly and accustomed to his surroundings. Exercising also reduces undesirable behaviors in a dog.

3. How Much Exercise Does A Dog Need

3.1. Puppy

Puppies usually have more energy as compared to adult dogs. And so they require more exercise in short bursts. They have a huge amount of energy but not the stamina to cope.

3.1.1. Short Play Sessions

Puppies are little furballs of energy. Their playing period is followed by a long time of rest and napping. The owner should hold a few short walks and play sessions to also give them an introduction to the world. Dog sports will become a heavy workout for them, which is not appropriate.

3.1.2. Do Not Overwork Your Pup

Over-exercising can be a damaging factor for your new friend’s developing mind and body. Let them sleep if they’re sleeping. You should wait for at least one year before making them your running partner so that their joints and bones are fully developed and they do not strain their cartilage. This is important, especially for large breed dogs.

3.1.3. Keep Their Safety In Mind

Do not overexpose your puppy to the outside world if they’re not fully vaccinated or if its immune system is unstable. They could easily catch infections which could further lead to serious diseases. Daily walks on non-slippery surfaces will keep their paws and limbs rigid and in full health.

3.1.4.  Learn Your Pup’s Breed

Regardless of their phase in life, some dog breeds are genetically and physically built to exercise more than others.

3.2. Adult Dog

How much an adult dog needs exercise is highly influenced by his breed. High-energy dog breeds require a lot more exercise than low-energy breeds.

3.2.1. Smaller Breeds

Small breeds such as poodles, Javanese, and Chihuahuas are less active.

Chihuahua - A small breed dog
Image by Herbert from Pixabay

3.2.2. Giant Breeds

Despite their massive size and strength, giant dog breeds like Great Dane, St. Bernard, Scent hounds, geriatric dogs, and Irish wolfhounds are known to be lethargic.

A giant breed dog - Great Dane
Image by Martin Tajmr from Pixabay

3.2.3. Active Breeds

Active dogs such as Retrievers, German Shepherds, and Dobermann flourish under plenty of exercise and action. They should be given 60-90 minutes of exercise for their body and brain to remain healthy and in active condition.

3.2.4. Flat-Nosed Breeds

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Image by Ilona Krijgsman from Pixabay

Brachycephalic breeds or flat-nosed breeds such as Boxer, Pug, and Shih Tzu suffer from breathing and respiratory issues. They should not be engaged in strenuous exercise that can tax their breathing. Over-exercising can cause them to slow down and can also lead to respiratory disease. You may exercise your dog for short times. A slow walk is preferred for them.

3.3. Senior Dog

Age-appropriate exercises should be kept in mind for aging senior dogs. The dogs might not be able to run as fast as they once could, so you’ll have to restrict their running to walking. The dog’s age should be given priority.

Exercises such as power posing, building up the rear, and lateral walking can be performed in the comfort of the home. A tired dog should be allowed to have a proper resting time to replenish his energy.

4. Tips on Dog Exercise 

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Image by SnottyBoggins from Pixabay

Taking your dog around the block for a walk is a great outdoor exercise start. Many dogs, even the couch potato ones love short exercise sessions once in a while. Supply your dog with treats and toys to make him feel like an achievement.

The answer to the question “How much exercise does a dog need?” depends on various factors. But one thing that can be said for sure is – every dog needs exercise whether it be a long walk or a brisk walk, once in two days or twice a day. No matter the dog’s behavior, size, age, or breed, keeping him engaged and happy will lead to a healthy and long life.

4.1. Spaces and Places for Dogs to Exercise

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Image by Greg Larcombe from Pixabay

Make your dog’s walk time more enjoyable by taking him to a dog park, national forest, beach, or local park where they can feel the freedom and beauty of the outside world and enjoy themselves to the fullest.

Taking them outdoors will make their walk time less monotonous and more entertaining. Most dogs love it more when they are outdoors as compared to indoors. Outdoor exercise is a great way to make your dog love nature.

4.2. Giving Them The Proper Attention

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Photo by Lydia Torrey on Unsplash

Working parents can also leave their dogs at the doggy daycare, where the volunteers will exercise your dog, take care of the dog, feed them the proper amount of food required by them for a balanced meal and also engage them in various physical activities such as games including hide and seek, playing and chasing after a tennis ball.

A dog needs love and attention from his owner as much as an infant needs from his parents. A dog should not be left alone in the home for a long period as it will sadden him and won’t even benefit his physical and mental activity. Mental activity may include: Treat hunt, Puzzle toys, Obstacle course, Stuffed kong6, and many more.

4.4. Swimming

Swimming exercise will improve your dog’s muscular strength and tone due to the resistance of the water which will make it harder for him to swim as compared to walking or jogging on the land. 1-minute of swimming for a dog is equal to 4 minutes of running. Swimming also helps strengthen the dog’s cardiovascular and respiratory systems.

A swimming dog
Image by Thomas from Pixabay

4.5. Obedience Training Exercise for Dogs

The two common methods for training a dog are:

4.5.1. Aversive-based Method

An aversive-based or discipline-based method is when you use negative reinforcement and positive punishment to get your dog to act the way you want them to. This training uses techniques like – harsh scoldings, loud and unpleasant noises, and physical corrections.

4.5.2. Reward-based Method 

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Image by Mark Minge from Pixabay

Reward-based training includes rewards like belly rubs, your dog’s favorite food, treats, and other dog-pleasing activities. Rewards are awarded to the dog when he behaves in the way he was supposed to. It is used for behaviors you want your dog to follow.

4.6. Indoor Dog Exercise

Some indoor dog exercises include – walking up and down the stairs, hiding and seeking, fetching the ball, using the treadmill, and playing games of tug.

5. Conclusion

The amount of exercise a dog needs can vary depending on several factors, including the breed, age, size, and overall health of the dog. Generally, most dogs require daily exercise to stay physically and mentally healthy.

Here are some general guidelines for dog exercise:

  1. Breed Considerations: Different dog breeds have different exercise requirements. Some breeds, such as Border Collies and Siberian Huskies, are highly active and energetic, requiring more exercise than others. On the other hand, certain small or brachycephalic breeds may have more limited exercise needs.
  2. Age: Puppies usually have bursts of energy and may require several short play and exercise sessions throughout the day. Adult dogs generally require a minimum of 30 minutes to 2 hours of exercise daily, depending on the breed and individual energy levels. Senior dogs may have reduced exercise needs, but it’s important to provide them with appropriate low-impact activities to keep them active and maintain muscle tone.
  3. Leash Walks: Daily walks are beneficial for most dogs. The duration and intensity of the walk can depend on the dog’s age, health, and breed. However, a brisk 30-minute walk is generally a good starting point for many dogs.
Dogs are lovable and reliable creatures. You’ll be very happy with the outcome if you give them the right amount of care and affection with the necessary exercises and meals.

FAQ

1. What happens if a dog doesn’t get enough exercise?

A: If a dog doesn’t receive adequate exercise, it can lead to several issues. Lack of exercise can contribute to weight gain and obesity, which can lead to various health problems. Dogs that don’t exercise enough may also become bored, and restless, and display destructive behavior or excessive barking.

2.  How can I determine the appropriate exercise level for my dog?

A: To determine the appropriate exercise level for your dog, consider factors such as its breed, age, and health condition. High-energy breeds like Border Collies or Siberian Huskies generally require more exercise compared to smaller, low-energy breeds. Puppies have different exercise needs than adult dogs and senior dogs may require gentler exercise routines.

3.  Can I rely solely on walking my dog for exercise?

A: While regular walks are essential for dogs, they may not provide enough exercise for certain breeds or highly active dogs. Walking alone may be suitable for smaller or less active breeds, but many dogs benefit from additional activities that provide more mental and physical stimulation.

Read more

 

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  2. Li, Junqiang, et al. “Detection of human intestinal protozoan parasites in vegetables and fruits: a review.” Parasites & Vectors 13 (2020): 1-19. ↩︎
  3. Gupta, Vinod Kumar, et al. “Sequestration of toxic congo red dye from aqueous solution using ecofriendly guar gum/activated carbon nanocomposite.” International journal of biological macromolecules 158 (2020): 1310-1318. ↩︎
  4. Oba, Patrícia M., et al. “Dental chews positively shift the oral microbiota of adult dogs.” Journal of animal science 99.7 (2021): skab100. ↩︎
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