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Wellness

How Often Should You Walk Your Dog?

Many pet owners find that taking their dog for a walk is relaxing and rewarding for both their pet and themselves. It’s a critical part of owning a dog for a variety of reasons. That being said, it can be tricky to figure out a balance of how often you should walk your dog. 

There are several things that can impact how frequently you should walk your dog. It’s important for your pet to clock in enough walks per day as this can prove beneficial for them in several ways. 

Of course, there are certain circumstances that impact how frequently (or infrequently) you should take your pet for a walk. If you have questions about your dog’s specific situation, you can always ask your vet for their insight about how to create the correct walking schedule for your dog’s age/health status. 

Today, you will learn more about how often you should take your dog for a walk. Continue reading to learn more about why regular dog walking is an essential part of pet ownership for several reasons.

Then, you will gain insight regarding the fact that dogs need different amounts of walks depending on several factors. Finally, you will get insight on how frequently you should walk your dog. 

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Why is regular dog walking important?

Regular dog walking can prove beneficial for both your pet and you. In fact, it can benefit the pet owner nearly as much as it impacts the dog. Humans often struggle to find time to exercise.

Needing to take your dog for walks is a great opportunity to get those steps in. As for pets, taking regular walks is essential because it will help your pet stay both healthy and happy, too. 

Potty breaks

It is essential that you bring your dog out for regular walks because it provides them with the opportunity to get their potty breaks in for the day. Just don’t forget to bring a bag to clean up any fecal matter. When you first bring your dog home, you are likely looking for a quick, efficient way to train your dog to defecate outdoors.

Taking your pet out for regular walks is one way to not only make an exercise schedule but also establish a schedule for your dog to go to the bathroom. Establishing a time and place for your pet to go on potty breaks outside will help not only them, but you maintain a schedule.

This will prove helpful as dogs tend to thrive with structure. If your dog is having difficulty defecating outside during walks, you can reach out to your vet about training. 

Weight maintenance

Unfortunately, 50% of dogs are overweight. This can lead to complications for your beloved canine. Being overweight is detrimental for several reasons.

For instance, a study of Labrador Retrievers revealed that dogs who are considered “trim” live for an average of two years longer than their siblings that are slightly overweight. The healthier dogs also experienced a delayed onset of chronic illness. 

Unfortunately, obesity can also lead to several other problems for your dog. They can experience joint and back problems, as well as inflammation which could ultimately increase your pet’s risk of developing other illnesses. Obesity is also a risk factor for several heart and lung conditions. 

Overall health

Your dog’s overall health can be improved when you walk them regularly. Not only does it ensure that they are not going to become overweight which could lead to other complications, walking is good for their well-being. They get to get out of the house for a while and potentially interact with other pets.

Just be sure that they are being safe and on a leash. You should also make sure you have the correct harness or leash for them. 

Bonding

Walking your dog also offers you a valuable opportunity to bond with your canine companion. In fact, a 2017 study examined the connection between dog walking and the human-animal bond for older adults. The results were telling: dog walking was not only associated with a myriad of benefits, but the individuals who had higher degrees of pet bonding were more likely to walk their pet as well as spend more time walking their pet each time.

If your dog enjoys going for walks, taking them outside is an excellent way to show your pet that you care for them and are committed to their health and happiness, too. This is yet another reason why dog walking provides pet owners and dogs a valuable opportunity to form a connection. 

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Do all dogs need the same amount of exercise?

In short, dogs do not need the same amount of exercise. If you have questions about your dog’s individual walking needs, you should reach out to your vet, as they have a robust understanding of your pet’s unique condition. Therefore, they can suggest the right course of action for walking your pet. There are several factors that can impact the amount that you need to walk your dog. 

Continue reading to learn more about what makes certain dogs need more exercise than others. 

Dog breed and size

Your dog’s breed can certainly impact how frequently they want to be walked, but all healthy dogs do have a base amount they should be walked. Some pets prefer walks more than others, and this can be determined based on breed.

For instance, if you have a high-energy dog breed such as a Border Collie, you will likely need to clock more time taking your dog for walks than you would if you had a relatively low-energy dog such as a Basset Hound. 

It’s also important that when you bring your dog home you already have an understanding of how much exercise you are going to be able to give them. If you are not already a highly active person, a highly active dog breed will not likely be the right fit for you. 

Additionally, if your dog is a short nosed breed, you should exercise additional caution. This is because they cannot get air as efficiently as dogs that have a longer nose. As a result, short nosed dogs will likely require shorter walks, more breaks, and are not as tolerant of heat. 

Age

Next, your pet’s age should be considered. A puppy will generally have more energy than a senior dog would. However, just because your dog is older doesn’t mean that you can neglect their walks. 

Proper exercise is critical for senior dogs, just how it is for younger dogs. However, the right regimen for your older dog will likely look a bit different than it would for a pup. 

Eating habits

Your dog’s eating habits can also impact their walks. Oftentimes, your dog will need to eliminate after they eat, so wait about a half hour or 30 minutes and then take your dog out to pee and defecate. If your dog eats more frequently, you might have to take them out more frequently. 

Health conditions

There are several health conditions that can impact your dog’s ability to go on walks. Therefore, if your pet is struggling with something such as hip dysplasia, respiratory, or heart problems, it’s a good idea to reach out to your vet about how you can safely exercise your pet before you dive into it. 

It is possible for dogs with health conditions to get exercise, but you should work with a vet to slowly introduce exercise into your pet’s life. This is the safest way to ensure that exercise does not cause more harm to your pet. 

How often should I walk my dog?

Generally speaking, if your dog is healthy, you should walk your dog for about five minutes two or three times per day. Of course, if your dog enjoys going out for a walk, you can surely bring them outside more frequently than that. 

According to a Pawp veterinarian Dr. Laura Robinson, “This varies by age. As a general rule, I suggest 2 walks a day. If you have a smaller dog or an older dog, stick to 15-20 minutes. If you have an active, young, hyper dog, you can increase this to 30-45 minutes twice a day. If your dog is being destructive in your yard or home (i.e., digging, tearing up doors/walls etc), these are signs your dog may need more exercise.” 

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Walk on

Figuring out what exactly your dog needs can be tricky, and if you have any questions about their exercise regimen or schedule, you can always ask your vet for some insight. Pawp’s vets are available to assist 24/7 and answer any questions you have about your pet. 

In addition, Pawp’s telehealth appointments make it easy to reach out to a vet wherever you are, whenever you need insight. There’s never an appointment necessary or a wait. If you have questions about walking your dog, you can get those answered through Pawp. 

DOG WALKING SOURCES: 

A Walk in the Park: Dog Walking Tips | Texas A&M

What’s a Good Exercise Plan For My Pet? | Tufts  

Who is walking who? Dog lovers on the move for their canines | Purdue  

House Training Your Dog | Brown  

Walk a Hound, Lose a Pound: How You and Your Dog Can Lose Weight, Stay Fit, and Have Fun Together | Purdue  

Five Ways Being Overweight Can Harm Your Dog's Health | Tufts  

Dog Walking, the Human-Animal Bond and Older Adults' Physical Health | University of Michigan  

Reduced Ability to Exercise (Exercise Intolerance) – HeartSmart | Tufts

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