By Grace Park
Published: 05/16/2017, edited: 05/05/2021
You already know that your dog needs regular exercise, potty breaks and a chance to interact with other people and dogs. But if you're not blessed with a fenced yard where your dogs can relieve themselves and get at least a little run time, getting your pup outside can sometimes be challenging. Whether you're frequently busy with family and work or are an apartment dweller without free access to a yard, it's important to work in walks and exercise time that can help keep your dog physically and mentally happy.
You want to do the best thing for your dogs, and regular exercise is vital for their well-being. Why are walks specifically important? Here's why:
No one wants a pudgy pup, but more than half of the dogs in the U.S. are either overweight or obese, according to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention.
Much like with humans, the health risks associated with excess weight are many: diabetes, arthritis, heart and kidney disease and reduced lifespan, to name just a few. What's making our beloved dogs so fat? While overfeeding has a huge impact, the lack of exercise is a big factor.
Your dogs likely need more exercise than you're giving them -- but knowing the right amount and making sure your pet gets it can be challenging. If you're looking for a good starting point, begin with walking your dog for 30 minutes. You don't want to completely wear out a dog who has been sedentary for a while, and you want to make exercise fun for you both. You can expand the number of walks or the time that you're out after you become comfortable with your half-hour excursions.
Have an active breed? These are usually pets with lots of energy and a genetic background as a working dog. Some of the smartest breeds are the most active, and size doesn't matter. Your poodle may need more exercise than your Great Dane does! Try to look at your 30 minutes of walking as an absolute minimum with these dogs, and work in some play time that gives them hard aerobic exercise as well. You may want to work up to 60-minute walks for exercise and mental stimulation for all but the most sedentary dogs.
For pet parents who like to hike, or at least go on long walks, the question can come up of how far your dog can reasonably walk with you. Here's where age comes in: Dogs who are very young (under 1 year) or older should never be forced to go for more than an hour.
The exact distance that translates to can vary depending on how fast you walk and the size of your dog. Dogs are generally fine to go until they are tired -- and most owners can tell if their pets are worn out. Panting, hesitation and slow gait are all signs that your dog may have had enough. Take note of how far you've gone and work up to traveling long distances before you go so far again.
Many variables come into play when determining how often you'll need to go outside for at least a short walk.
A minimum of two 15-minute walks to potty are recommended for most dogs. Many will need one or two more during the day. This is in addition to the aerobic exercise they need through a brisk 30-minute or longer walk or rugged playtime.
Regular walks and playtime have a huge impact on the behavior of your canine companion. If you can't work the time into your busy schedule, there are alternatives.
Whether you need someone to walk your dog when your work schedule gets in the way, or on a regular basis, our experienced and caring dog walkers have you covered! Sign up to book a walk with Wag! today.
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