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How often should l walk my dog?
We have all seen funny little memes about dogs being so excited about their owners being at home and getting lots of walks. Our trainers have received queries about the length of walks, the duration and the frequency.
So what is right for your dog?
If your dog doesn’t receive much exercise don’t overdo it first go, short walks around the block or down to the park. Dogs don’t know how much is too much, and they are like Duracell bunnies, they keep going, even if they have hurt themselves. Too much can result in over exercising injuries, major injuries like cruciate and knee ligament damage and even long term problems like arthritis.
How long you walk your dog has many factors, like:
What is your dog’s age? Older dogs and puppies benefit from shorter, more frequent walks that don’t stress their joints and bones. You should regularly check your dog’s walking to see that they are not limping or favouring one leg over the other.
Dogs do not have anyway of telling us they are in pain, other than their actions.
Look for unusual occurrences, things like your dog wanting to stop frequently, lying down on the walk or reluctance to go for the walk. This might be a sign of underlying issues.
Seek vet advice if you are concerned.
What is its breed? For example, highly energetic dogs like Jack Russell’s may require more exercise daily, whereas breeds like a Greyhounds may only require 30 minutes – 1 hour a day. Brachycephalic (short-nosed) breeds like bulldogs and pugs may experience breathing difficulty, so walks should be kept to 20-30 minutes, providing there are no underlying health issues.
Dogs that are herding breeds may require several walks during the day, and these clever dogs like to get out a few times, so they don’t go stir crazy.
Remember that brain work can tire a dog more quickly than a long walk, so look for ways to stretch your dogs brain daily also.
How big is your dog? A larger dog walking one kilometre is a lot less strenuous for them than a Chihuahua walking same distance.
Overweight dogs If you have a dog that you consider to be overweight, start with short walks and gradually increase daily.
The rule of thumb is most dogs benefit from between 30 minutes to two hours of physical activity per day. There’s no limit to how far you walk your dog as long as they’re comfortable, which is what you need to monitor. Look for signs of them feeling fatigued, panting, slowing down, disinterest in the surrounds.
Another thing to note is if your dog is still pulling on the lead at the end of the walk, and especially if they display behavioural problems and over-excited behaviour after a walk, they probably need more exercise or some training. If your dog strolls beside you and takes a nap after the walk, it is more likely that their needs are being met.
Just remember to build distance and stamina gradually over time and not go the marathon because you have been cooped up at home all day.