How Much Exercise Does My Dog Need?

How Much Exercise does My Dog Need?

Regular exercise is important for dogs of all ages and breeds. Generally, dogs require a minimum of 30 minutes to one hour of exercise daily, but your dog’s age is a very important factor to consider. Puppies should not engage in intense exercise or long walks until they have fully developed. Senior dogs may also require less movement due to mobility issues or health conditions.

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Understanding Your Dog’s Exercise Needs

All dogs require regular exercise to maintain their physical and mental well-being. And the amount of exercise they need depends on several factors, including breed, age, size, and overall health.


How Much Exercise Does a Puppy Need?

Puppies have a lot of energy which will vary throughout the day, so be prepared for sudden bursts of energy at any time!

Regular exercise is crucial for a puppy’s growth and development but high-impact activities like long walks and chasing balls at the dog park should be avoided. Wait until your puppy’s bones and joints are fully grown, at around one year old, before introducing more strenuous exercise. This is especially important for large breed dogs, as too much strain from exercise can damage their delicate cartilage.
Instead, introduce short walks into your puppy's routine and use these to train them loose lead walking and socialisation.

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How Much Exercise Does an Adult Dog Need?

When it comes to exercising adult dogs, it’s crucial to consider their breed and lifestyle. The breed of a dog is going to influence its exercise demands more than its size and the belief that bigger dogs need more exercise isn’t entirely true. 

  • Toy dogs such as Maltese and Shih Tzu are happy to sit on the couch, cuddle up to you and then sleep on your bed at night. Toy dogs generally have a lower exercise requirement, but they still enjoy and need a brisk walk to keep fit and entertained.
  • Terriers such as Staffordshire Bull Terriers and Fox Terriers will enjoy almost as much exercise as they are given. They also like mental and physical challenges like tug toys, snuffle mats and chasing balls. Terriers can become bored without enough exercise and start barking and digging to amuse themselves!
  • Working Dogs such as Border Collies and Retrievers need to be stimulated and exercised daily. They have a higher level of exercise demands, ideally needing two hours of exercise a day and enjoy physical activity. As well as daily walks they need a mix of free play, sniffing and exploring to keep them engaged. They also need to be kept occupied through mental stimulation to exercise their busy brains.

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How Much Exercise Does a Senior Dog Need?

Set your senior dog up for success by giving them consistent exercise throughout their life. This way, they’ll stay as healthy as possible into old age. Even if your dog is considered senior, you’ll still want to give them at least 30 minutes of daily exercise. Because of their age, exercise might need to become shorter but it’s still necessary to make sure they’re getting the required stimulation. Choose low-impact activities and go for walks, not runs. If you have access to a pool or water, go for a swim. It’s a great activity that is gentle on their older joints.

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Your vet can also help advise on the correct amount of exercise your dog needs, given their breed, size, weight, and any health issues they might be facing. Also remember that some days your dog may have more energy and need more exercise and stimulation than others, depending on their recent activities and sometimes the weather. You learn what works well for your dog, keeping them happy and healthy no matter how old they are.