Dogs and Exercise - 'Forty five minutes to an hour of heart-thumping exercise, six or seven days a week is best!!'
There are many myths about dogs and exercise, so we thought that we would take a look and share some of our findings. Exercise amounts does depend on the size of your dog and if you require professional advice feel free to ask your vet.
Regular exercise is essential for all dogs – it helps keep them in shape and is really important for their mental health.
Fit, active dogs are much less likely to suffer from problems such as arthritis, obesity and behavioural issues.
Before getting a dog, it’s important to make sure you have the time and ability to give them the exercise they need to keep them happy.
How Much exercise should a dog get per day:
'Dogs should get a bare minimum of twenty minutes of heart thumping exercise, three times a week, to prevent atrophy.
Forty five minutes to an hour of exercise, six or seven days a week is better/ideal'
- A six hour walk at the weekend does not constitute regular exercise and could cause injuries and does not condition your dog.
- Some need 1-2 hours of exercise per day, others need more than 2 hours, and some – mostly working breeds – need significantly more, plus mental stimulation throughout the day.
Some factors to take into consideration:
- How old are they? While your dog is growing, it’s important to protect their joints by introducing them to exercise slowly. As an adult, it’s important to make sure they stay fit and active.
- Do they have any health problems? If your dog is unwell or injured, they won’t need as much exercise as usual – resting is an important part of recovery.
- How fit are they?
- What do they enjoy doing?
For further reading on levels of exercise per breed - How much exercise does your dog need? - PDSA
Science backed conclusions about dogs benefitting from regular exercise:
Reduces fearfulness and anxiety
Decreases reactivity and increases good behaviour
Ups their threshold for noise pollution and separation anxiety
Lowers risk of all manner of ills, from overweight and obesity, joint issues and heart disease
Maintains a strong musculoskeletal system
Helps normalise and regulate the digestive system
Helps manage blood sugar
Builds confidence and trust while improving a dog's ability to be calm
Courtesy of The Forever Dog by Rodney Habib and Dr Karen Shaw Becker
Some suggestions for Dog activities:
- Intense walking ie Power Walking
- Catch, Fetch, Chase
- Local Dog Obstacle Courses
- Swimming (Tiny dogs can swim at home)
- Doggy Day Care - Treadmill for larger dogs
- Doggy Day Care
- Rent a space in a local field (see local dog play/run areas) - Individual or group sessions
- Training - See Should you train your dog? Fetcher Dog do some research!!
- Exercising dogs indoors - How to Exercise Your Dog Indoors: 21 Games, Ideas and Exercises | Pupford
- Games - Tug of War etc
- Dog Sports - Agility, Canine Freestyle
Letting your dog into your garden does not, necessarily, constitute adequate exercise, it depends on the type of sustained exercise and please remember:'Dogs should get a bare minimum of twenty minutes of heart thumping exercise, three times a week, to prevent atrophy. Forty five minutes to an hour of exercise, six or seven days a week is better/ideal'