How much exercise should your dog be getting?

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Different dogs have different needs when it comes to exercise; a huge elderly Rottweiler will have different exercise needs to a puppy toy poodle. Recognising how much physical activity our dogs need is key to helping them live a long and healthy life. The things that give dogs their different needs can range from a dog’s age, breed, their general health and any illnesses they may have and even the weather. Even so, your dog’s exercise needs are subject to change depending on weight fluctuations and diet.

A big mistake loads of people make is to over exercise younger dogs. Too much physical pressure on younger dogs can put too much strain on their joints and overall physical exhaustion which can lead to problems later on like early onset arthritis or hip dysplasia. A ratio of 5 to 10 minutes of exercise for every month of the pet’s age is a good guideline to knowing how much your pup should be moving. For example, 15 to 30 minutes of exercise for a 3 month old, 30 to an hour for a 6 month old puppy. Again though, this is just a guideline and will often vary depending on the individual dog.

As dogs grow up and get a bit older, the breed and lifestyle of the dog will have a huge influence on the amount of exercise they need. Dogs that may have been bred to be active, for instance Border Collies bred to herd cattle, will have a much higher need for physical exercise than a low maintenance breed like a toy poodle. As well as a good amount of physical activity, mental stimulation is also much needed to help keep a dog happy and healthy. Colourful toys and games designed to test them and make them think, even training, can help keep them mentally stimulated and on their toes mentally.

As a guideline, more active breeds will need around a good half hour of physical exercise a day, which could be in the form of a walk and a run in the park or just half hour of physical play in the garden, tug of war or fetch is always good. It’s always good to remember that even less active breeds require a good amount of exercise though, a lot of people believe that less active breeds like toy poodles don’t need extra exercise since they get enough indoors, this is not true, even small dogs can benefit greatly from at least a good 20 minutes of fresh air and vigorous exercise a day, again even if that just means tug and war in the garden.