Taking your dog for a walk satisfies a lot more of their needs than you might realize. Walking is more than just a potty break—it provides mental and social stimulation as well as healthy exercise. Knowing how often to walk your dog will keep them in good health and prevent boredom. However, each dog’s daily needs are unique, so the veterinarians at East Valley Animal Hospital put together the following guide to help you figure out how often and for how long you should walk your dog every day.
How Often Should I Walk My Dog?
Most dogs need at least three or four 15-minute walks each day, but that can vary depending on your dog’s age, breed, and physical condition. Hunting and herding breeds will need the most exercise and the longest walks, while companion dogs like Pomeranians and chihuahuas may be perfectly content with an occasional visit to the backyard.
Puppies will need more frequent walks, especially during house training. Extra walks help their developing muscles grow, and also provide you with plenty of opportunities for teaching your pup to walk on a leash. Make sure they have fresh water available when you get home, and then they’ll probably take a long puppy nap to recover from all the exercise.
How Long Should I Walk My Dog?
High-energy breeds like huskies, shepherds, collies, and labradors love long walks and any chance to run around. They will dash around a dog run or jog along with you when you’re riding a skateboard. They’re great companions on hikes, as well—you’ll probably get tired before they do, but don’t ever push your dog to go further if they’re too hot or tired.
Older dogs and dogs with short legs and very thick fur, like corgis, may have difficulty walking. A short, ten-minute walk two or three times a day could be more than enough. Let your dog set the pace, and watch for signs of fatigue like panting, slowing down, or stopping to rest.
What Times of Day Should I Walk My Dog?
Most dogs need two long and two short walks every day. Go for a long walk in the morning before breakfast, and then give them a short walk or potty break at lunchtime. You can take another long walk before dinner, and a final short walk before bed. Try to stick to a regular schedule—dogs thrive on routine and consistency, and will have fewer accidents with regularly timed walks.
Walking a Dog on Hot or Cold Days
Dogs can easily get overheated in hot weather, so always bring extra water on long walks in the summer. During the winter, your dog may need foot gear to protect their sensitive paws from ice and salt, or a coat for extra warmth, depending on the thickness of their fur. Some dogs, like huskies and bernese, love cold weather, but don’t let them stay out too long. If you’re feeling cold, your dog probably is, too.
Health Benefits of Daily Walks for Dogs
The daily exercise that walking provides will help your dog live a longer, healthier life! Walking improves joint health, helps with weight management, and assists with good digestive health. Daily walks also keep your dog in a healthy state of mind as well, and provide the mental stimulation they need to keep from growing bored and becoming anxious or destructive.
Walks also provide social interaction through scent. Did you know that a dog’s sense of smell is more than 10,000 times stronger than a human’s? Letting your dog stop to sniff is just as important for their health as getting physical exercise. Don’t rush potty time. Allow your dog some time to puzzle out the complex layers and nuances of smells from other animals before they add to the “conversation” by leaving their own smells behind.
Walk Your Dog over to East Valley Animal Hospital
Even healthy dogs need regular checkups! If you have questions about how often to walk your dog or whether your dog is getting enough exercise, ask us at your next visit. You can request an appointment online or call us at 480-568-2462. We’d love to meet you and your furry companion, and hear about your favorite dog parks or the best walks you’ve taken around Gilbert and across Arizona.
Photo by Delphine Beausoleil on Unsplash used with permission under the Creative Commons license for commercial use 10/08/2021.