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How much exercise does my dog need?

How much exercise does my dog need?

A tired dog is a happy dog!

If you are thinking about using a dog stroller you will still need to give your dog as much exercise as it needs. If your dog needs a stroller due to ill health then you should talk to your vet about coming up with an appropriate exercise regime for your dog. If your dog is recovering from an injury or operation and is using a stroller then they will still need to exercise lightly, again your vet will tell you how much activity to do with your dog so that they have a good speedy recovery.
In any situation where you are not sure about how much exercise your dog needs, always seek advice from your vet. They will be happy to advise you.
The level of exercise your dog needs will depend on its age, breed and health. As well as this exercise, it should be given frequent and regular opportunities to go to the toilet throughout the day.
All dogs that are fit and healthy, whether they use a stroller or not, need to be exercised regularly. Puppies and young dogs in particular have a lot of energy and if they are to be taken out in a stroller, try and exercise them before and after the trip. That way you won’t have a small dog lurching about inside the stroller when you are out and about. If they have been given their essential booster jabs, then a good session of exercise during your trip is a good idea.
Some may argue that such a ball of energy shouldn’t be in a pet stroller at all. But some puppies and young dogs may have to wait several months before they can have their booster vaccinations and would be prone to infections and harmful diseases out on the streets mixing with other dogs. There is also the issue of boisterous dogs coming over to worry you and your dog and your vulnerable dog getting hurt if a fight breaks out. Road safety is another issue, a small dog on a leash that is unfamiliar with the roads is a major concern until they are fully trained walking on a leash in a busy city.
As a rough guide a dog should have at least 30 to 60 minutes of good physical exercise most days of the week. Preferably daily.
Old and senior dogs who use a stroller will only exercise when they are up to it. There is nothing wrong with putting a senior dog into a pet stroller and going about your daily chores and stopping off at the doggy park for them to have their exercise. That way the dog won’t tire themselves out when you have only just started your outing. Dogs when tired will stop suddenly in the street and refuse to move any further! The stroller will help you and your dog get about quickly and conveniently. And that also means you don’t have to leave them all alone at home, spending quality time with you is what a dog enjoys, being a part of their pack.

So how much exercise does a dog need?

How much exercise does my dog need?
This is not an easy question to answer. How much exercise depends on your dog’s age and breed. And of course their health has to be taken into consideration too. Most healthy dogs need around 30 to 60 minutes of exercise at any one time, preferably on a daily basis. One 60 minute active session plus a couple of short walks per day or two seperate 30 minute sessions plus toilet walks is ideal for any dog. If your dog needs more or less you should see the signs of either excessive energy or tiredness. When your dog starts to slow down during an exercise period it is a good sign that they have had a enough. Your dog’s exercise regime may differ from other dogs and then there are other factors to consider like location and weather. Here is a quick guide to help and advise you about exercising your dog:

Active Breeds

Active breeds need a minimum of 30 minutes of good hard aerobic exercise most days of the week, Preferably daily. This is running, chasing the ball, dog agility games. Active breeds also like participating with your exercise routines too. Larger breeds can run along side you if you are running, rollerblading or cycling.
Agility training is also a great way to exercise your dog. Simple dog walks can become a little bit boring for your dog, so always include games in your exercise routines.
Some dogs, like retrievers and collies, love special jobs like finding hidden items or learning a new trick. These dogs are adept at fetching, but be careful when throwing objects into the air for your dog to catch as this puts stress on their joints and hips. Throw the ball or toy at a reasonable level of height thats safe for your dog.

Small dogs and toy breeds

Just because they are small doesn’t mean they need little exercise. Toy dogs who only stay in the house may not be getting enough exercise neither. Pugs do tend to suffer from obesity and should be exercised as much as any other dog. Small dogs will also need a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise and play per day.
Smaller dogs do require less exercise than larger dogs. They’ve got little legs and work harder to move faster than dogs twice their size. Like us humans, it wouldn’t be a stretch for a grown man to walk around the block a couple of times, but it would be extremely hard work for a small toddler. However, no matter how big or small your dog is, there are plenty of activities you can do together.

All dogs need between 30 to 60 minutes of exercise

How much exercise does my dog need?
As mentioned earlier in this article, it’s advised that all healthy fit dogs have between 30 to 60 minutes of exercise regularly, preferably daily. Obviously a great deal of vigorous exercise can be done in 30 minutes and a slow walk can take up to 60 minutes.
It’s a good idea to keep your exercise routines varied and not to keep to the same boring walk around the block. Dogs need stimulus and keeping their activity varied will keep them in great condition physically and mentally.
If you are lucky enough to live near a dog friendly park or near a beach then your dog can be let off their lead and run around at their own speed. It’s great if you can allow your dog off their lead for some exercise periods as it helps them feel less trapped by their leash. Dogs love freedom. Just make sure you have trained them well to come back to you.
It is recommended that you take your dog for walks and exercise at least two times a day, more if you have the time. Three seperate exercise periods in one day is a great way of keeping your dog active. If you happen to work during the daytimes then morning and evening sessions are good for your dog….and of course for you!
All dog owners seem create a routine which is good for them and their dog. Owners learn when the dog has had enough exercise and in some cases when they have had too little. And there maybe times when you are ill or unable to take the dog for their walks, that’s the time to call upon your friends to walk your dog or hire a dog walker. The only time your dog does not exercise is when they are ill themselves or recovering from a serious operation, then you have to follow instructions by your vet.

Hot and cold weather

Like us humans dogs can suffer in the heat and also in the cold. They can suffer from sun burn and heat stroke in the summer and frost bite and hypothermia in the winter. Dog strollers are a good idea for small to medium dogs who may have quite a walk to the local doggy park or may need to shelter from the sun when going to the beach.
When the weather is bad you still need to take your dog out for walks and exercise. You may not want to face the wind and the rain but your dog will. All us dog owners soon become used to the seasons and will keep ourselves protected from the elements. The same should be done for your dog. Keep them warm in the winter by fitting them with a functional weatherproof coat. This will keep your dog’s middle body warm, especially if they are short hair breeds.
A waterproof coat will also keep them from getting wet to the skin when it’s raining. Likewise when it’s the summer, keep them protected from harmful UV rays by applying sun screen to their noses and ears, especially if they are light coloured. Again, weather proof dog strollers come in very handy when you are travelling long periods with your dog and they need some respbite from the sun or rain, or simply need to rest their legs.
In the hot summer months it’s best to run and exercise with your dog at the coolest parts of the day, preferably in the morning or early evening. Exercising your dog in the midday or afternoon sun will only create problems like heatstroke and dehydration. Always have plenty of water available for your dog is you are spending time outside in the summer months and keep them well groomed if they are long hair breeds.
On those rare occasions when the weather is just too bad for you both to go out, try and exercise them indoors by playing games and even running up and down the stairs together.

Mental and Physical Exercise

All dogs need good exercise as it uses both the mental and physical muscles. Exploring a new destination, a hiking trail or a game in the park will engage your dogs mind as well as their body. Keep all their exercise varied, changing walking routes and destinations will keep it all fun for your dog. Don’t stick to the same old boring walk around the block.
Use balls, toys, hoops and ball launchers on your walks if you can. Let them explore woodlands, beaches and any safe environment that allows dogs. Have exciting toys and food puzzles at home, so your dog can keep themselves occupied whrn not out on their walks.
When planning family day trips, try to take your dog with you and plan an outing that all the family will enjoy. A dog loves being a part of a family or ‘pack’ and don’t like being left at home. It’s also good for the children to take it in turns to be responsible for the dog, it’s an important thing to learn when looking after a pet.

A good dog is a tired dog

It’s a well known philosophy but it’s true. A tired dog means that they have had enough exercise and it’s time to sleep. A whirling bundle of energy darting around the house is a sure sign that they need to go out and let off some steam!
A dog that is under exercised will take their energy and frustrations out on anything they can find. That’s why bored dogs that need exercise and stimulation chew shoes and furniture. Keep your exercise periods regular to avoid your dog from being destructive.
A good amount of walks and exercise periods throughout the day will keep your dog in tip top condition. Keep them to mornings, afternoons and evenings. And a bit more activity to the weekends with additional family outings will ensure you have a happy healthy dog.

Where should you exercise your dog?

We all live in such diverse areas and sometimes exercising your dog can be tricky. Some dog owners may live in an apartment with no garden space where others are lucky to have acres of garden for their dog to run about in. But even if you do own a large garden, it’s still vital that your dog is exercised in other environments where they can meet humans and mix with other dogs.
If you do live in an apartment, flat or house with no garden then you should provide your dog with access to a suitable place where it can exercise at various times during the day. A suitable place is somewhere that it can explore, play and meet other dogs if appropriate.

Big City

If you live in a big city like London or New York then space for dogs to exercise can be limited. Some dog owners live miles away from the nearest dog friendly park or recreation ground. Some small dogs even get tired before they hit the park and just want to turn around and come right back home again! Small to medium dogs can benefit from dog strollers in this instance. Dog strollers are becoming more and more popular with city dog owners who need a bit of help getting their dogs around.
Using a dog stroller you can get to the doggy play area much more quickly and conveniently, you can even use the public transport if your dog is secure in a stroller. Then when you get to the dog park you and your dog can play and exercise and get the most out of your time together. They can even sleep on the way back!

Walk around the block

A walk around the block is something that all dogs need, especially before bed. Most dogs love familiar routes where they can explore all the smells and sights that they know. Each dog will have their favourite spot where they remember seeing a cat or where they can have a good sniff. Make sure your dog has a walk first thing in the morning and last thing at night. With a good exercise session in the daytime and your dog will be well exercised and should sleep soundly throughout the night.
It is also important that you keep your dog walks varied. Sticking to the same ‘walk around the block’ may become a bit boring and predictable after a time. Change your walks and give your dog some new experiences from time to time.

Agility for Dogs

Medium-to-large herding dogs like corgis, German shepherds and cattle dogs are great with agility exercises: jumping, teeter boards, going through tunnels and weaving in and around objects. You can find all of the objects needed to create your own mini agility course at a local playground, provided that dogs are allowed. If you’ve got a backyard of your own or a large garden you could make your own agility course, the possibilities are endless.
There are more and more dog agility groups popping up nowadays. It’s a great way for dogs to meet other dogs and owners to mix with other owners to compare stories and tips with each other. Check the internet for any local groups to you or ask your vet if they know of any. If there isn’t a group, try setting up your own, you will be inundated with members in no time.

Doggy parks

As mentioned before, dog parks are great for dogs (and owners) to socialise with one another. Off leash exercise is vital for dogs to feel their own sense of freedom. Just make sure you have done the necessary ‘off the leash training’ and they know to come back to you. Some dogs are not as sociable as some other dogs, so if you own an unfriendly dog then keeping them on a leash during exercise might be a better alternative or even have a dog stroller nearby so they can have some private space if they are not feeling very sociable.
If you own a small dog and live quite a way from a doggy park, then a dog stroller is a handy quick way of getting you and your dog to the park very quickly. Strollers can be also taken on public transport if you want to make the journey to the doggy park in only a short time. This way your dog will not tire itself out before getting to the park and will be ready for a good run around with the other dogs. A tired dog in a doggy park is no good. Let them burn off all their energy with the other dogs at the park then take them back home safely and quickly in the stroller.

Fields and Countryside

Many families when the weather warms up will hit the countryside for a day out and breathe in lung fulls of fresh air. It’s a good idea to take your dog with you. Just do your homework first. Stick to the highway code and make sure you only let your dog off their leash in designated dog friendly areas. Dogs worrying sheep or cattle is a big no-no with farmers. Also make sure that they have enough to eat and drink o their day out. Some small dogs maybe left at home when a long day out is planned. A dog stroller or pet carrier back pack is a good way for them to join you, that way they can hop right on in when they have had enough.
If you are an avid cyclist then you can now buy dog trailers that fit onto the rear of your cycle. Your dog is safely housed inside and can enjoy the view through ventilated mesh windows. then when you get to your destination, your dog can get out and stretch their legs and have a good day of exploring with you.
Check out the excellent dog walking guide books now available.

Day at the beach

exercising your dog at the beach
There are quite a few dog friendly beaches dotted along the coastline. Dogs love playing with the family on the beach. Chasing, running and even the odd bit of swimming. If you do plan a visit to the beach it’s a good idea to fit your dog with a floatation device. Not all dogs are good swimmers in truth and smaller dogs can get tired when paddling their paws and can get swept out to sea. There are now life jackets for dogs that you can buy to keep your dog safe in the water.
If you plan on taking your dog to the beach, make sure that they have plenty of shade and shelter from the sun. Dogs can get heatstroke just like humans and are prone to it more, being covered in fur! Heatstroke in dogs is very dangerous and can be fatal so prevention is better than cure. Lots of water and lots of shade. Keep a dog stroller or pop up tent close by so they can sleep and rest out of the sun. Take plenty of drinking water for them too as a dog playing on the beach will get very thirsty.
Check out a list of Dog Friendly Beaches within the UK.

Doggie Day care

If you work during the day then a doggie day care might be the best solution for you and your pooch. Your dog is then not left all alone at home for hours on end. Bored and lonely dogs left at home can become destructive. A doggy day care can provide them with lots of stimulation, toys, exercise and contact with other dogs.
Doggie Day Cares are very popular in the States, but not so much over here in the UK. Check your local area to see if there is one based near you. There maybe some private small businesses that will take care of your dog for you for the day. There may also be self employed dog walkers based in your area that just pop by and walk and exercise your dog for you. These dog walkers are also great if you want to go on holiday and leave your dog at home rather than in boarding kennels. The dog will feel more comfortable in their own home rather than surrounded by other distressed dogs in the kennels. The dog walker comes by, feeds your dog, takes them for a walk, speands some time with them then safely locks up the house again.

Not getting enough exercise?

Like humans, if dogs don’t move they put on weight. Inactive dogs will most certainly turn into overweight obese dogs. Obesity in dogs will create plenty of health risks too. Obesity can cause diabetes, respiratory disease, and heart disease. It can also create orthopaedic problems in their legs like arthritis and hip dysplasia. Obesity can also put stress on joints, ligaments, and tendons. Senior dogs often have a hard enough time getting up without the added problem of lifting excess pounds.
An overweight, obese and ill dog will also cost you money in medication and vet bills. The cost can run into thousands of pounds. So getting them exercised well now will reduce the risks of obesity in the long term. Giving them the right amount of food will also cut the risk of your dog putting on weight. Always have regular check ups with your vet to make sure your dogs weight is on track. If they are overweight, your vet will encourage you to do more exercise with them and cut down their food for a short period.

Exercise and Dog Strollers

dogs who use dog strollers still need to exercise
If you are using a dog stroller for a young fit healthy dog then make sure you still give them their daily requirement of 30 to 60 minutes of exercise. Strollers are great for transporting your dog and keeping them safe, but make sure your trips have plenty of stops so your dog can get out to exercise, mix with other dogs and of course, go to the loo.
Obviously if you have an injured, disabled or senior dog then talk to your vet about how much exercise they should be getting. They will need the help of a dog stroller in addition to some sessions of daily exercise. A pet stroller is a great way for getting your injured, disabled or senior dog around and about quickly and conveniently. There is no longer a need to leave them at home alone. They get to spend quality time with you and are not slowing you down due to their lack of mobility. With a dog stroller they can hop in and out when it suits them, and sleep when they are tired and exhausted from their walking or exercise.

Dog walking and exercise etiquette

clean up after your dog when walking or exercising
Whenever you are out walking or exercising your dog, always remember that you are responsible for your dog and their actions. Always keep them on their leash unless you are in a dog friendly, ‘off the leash’ safe area. If out walking in the countryside keep to any highway code and again, only let your dog off their leash in proper designated areas.
Cleaning up after your dog is also a requirement. Pick up any dog mess and dispose of it in the appropriate refuse bins. There are lots of doggy clean up products on the market. Many local authorities hand out large hefty fines to dog owners who don’t clean up after their dogs. It’s unhygeinic and sometimes dangerous and it’s not nice for for other people, especialy children who like to play on large grassy areas.

To sum up…..

The level of exercise your dog needs will depend on their age, breed and health. It won’t take you long to realise how much exercise your dog needs. They will be able to tell when they have had enough exercise (or not enough) with their body language. You will soon know the signs. As well as this exercise, your dog should be given frequent and regular opportunities to go to the toilet throughout the day.
Remember, a tired dog is a happy dog!
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