How often should I walk my dog?
There is no strict guideline for the level of exercise a dog needs to stay fit and healthy. The amount varies depending on several factors. The activity logs provided by a Safer Pet GPS dog tracker can be helpful for ensuring your dog is getting enough exercise. We are here to give you the lowdown on what your pet needs so that you can better understand how often you should be walking your dog.
Dogs need exercise for both their physical and mental health. If a dog does not get a daily walk, it can lead to obesity, muscular diseases, and even heart problems.
Their mental health also suffers. Dogs that are not walked or not walked enough can develop some serious behavioural problems.
Dogs need interactions with other animals, people and the freedom to express their natural behaviours. Walking also creates a stronger bond between the dog and its owner, which is imperative for a happy, life-long relationship.
Active vs. Less Active Breeds
Humans have bred dogs for as long as 40,000 years - a long time! This has meant that we have had a significant effect on the size, shape and temperament of many breeds of dog.
Dogs bred for herding and protection roles are often the most active and will need walking often. They are usually on the heavier end of the canine weight spectrum at 15ks or more. Working breeds such as Border Collies, Siberian Huskies, and Springer Spaniels need at least two hours of exercise per day. New owners often make the mistake of expecting an intelligent working dog to be content with spending time in the garden, but this is not the case. They need regulated exercise that activates their body and their mind.
Dog breeds that are more inactive are usually the smaller breeds between 1-15kgs. These dogs have usually been bred as companions rather than workers, though there are some exceptions. The Basset Hound, for example, is the top of the lazy list. They are bred to track scents and so need to be kept mentally active but are not big walkers. Other less active breeds are the Pekinese, Pugs, and British Bulldogs. These would be better off with shorter walks for around thirty minutes to an hour a day.
Make sure you use a tracker that monitors their activity throughout the day so you can ensure they are happy and safe. The Safer Pet GPS dog tracker and combined tracking app are a great way to make sure you are giving your dog the right sort of care. Track how active your pet has been during the day and make a note of it when they seem more tired than usual. You will find there is a trend. From this, you can work out the amount of exercise your dog needs to stay happy and healthy.
Suppose you have a dog walker to look after your dog while you are at work. A tracking app can be a great way to keep in touch, you can view where they walked, and the hours of activity your dog has put in on any given day. Speak with your pet sitter about how long you want them to exercise your dog and let them know they can monitor it via the app.
Exercise is vital for the health of your canine companion, but so is knowing their limits. Contact your vet if you want a full assessment on how often you should walk your dog, especially if they have a health condition or weak bones.
Some dogs have squashed noses, which makes it difficult for them to breathe. Snub-nosed breeds, like the pug, should not get out of breath and should be given short and restful walks.
Similarly, some German Shepherds and a lot of Great Danes suffer from joint problems. They mustn't be over-walked. They are big dogs that do need plenty of exercise, but little and often is best if they have common-to-breed issues such as hip dysplasia.
Keep track of the time you walk them to ensure that you are not pushing them to their limits. They might not show you that something is painful until you return home and it is too late.
With puppies of any breed, it is important to remember that they are not fully grown until they're at least two years old. Over-exercising your puppy before their skeletons are fully-formed can lead to real development issues in the future.
Walking a dog too soon after or before a walk can bring on a condition called bloat, which can rapidly kill a dog. Do not take your dog for a walk for at least two hours after eating and do not feed your dog any sooner than thirty minutes after a walk. If you are worried contact your vet.
Some dogs are nervous and don't enjoy long walks. Be mindful of how your dog is feeling and look for the signs. It might be that they have a pain or an anxiety issue that needs working on.
Remember that walking and exercise are great for humans too, use your dog walk as time to get yourself healthy and active and build a stronger bond with your dog.
Going for a walk with your dog is an excellent opportunity to train. Make sure you always have a pocket of treats or a favourite toy with you wherever you go together. Whether you are training obedience or agility, the great outdoors can be loads of fun for both you and your pet.
Be aware of your surroundings and do not let your dog off lead if you are worried about them running away or if they don't like other dogs. Use a long lead so that you can have the control you need until they are fully obedience trained. For peace of mind, get a GPS dog tracker. These use a breadcrumb feature that shows where the dog has gone on a map of the area. You can now find your dog if they make a break for it or get spooked by something.
Remember that walking in all weathers might seem like a great idea but ensure that you check the ground isn't too hot for your dog's paws in summer, and don't push your dog to be outside if it is too wet or cold.
Every dog is different, so the walk time varies for each breed, personality, and the circumstances surrounding your walk. Ensure you give your dog the best possible care, track the trends of the lengths of walks and amount of exercise your pet needs. This way, you will feel relaxed, and your dog will have the best possible level of care.