How much walking do our precious pooches actually need?
Appetite for exercise wavered for many during lockdown, but for many dog owners, the necessary daily dose of doggy exercise was a key to keeping the lockdown blues (and the lockdown belly) at bay. Walking the dog for our own health is one thing, but how much walking do our precious pooches actually need for their health and wellbeing?
Most of us have heard that as a human, getting 30 minutes of exercise each day is ideal to provide mental health, cardiovascular and weight management benefits. The average adult dog on the other hand needs up to double that exercise time for optimal benefits, but this will vary based on age and breed.
If you have just taken ownership of a puppy, then you will need to ease up on your expectations of joint walks for a little while. Puppy’s need to start at around 10 minutes a day and can increase gradually as the strength in their joints increases. Once your faithful friend reaches the other end of the life spectrum as a senior pet, they also won’t be joining you for the duration of your exercise routine. It is still important to keep senior dogs active, but they might need their daily activity broken up into multiplee smaller sessions across the day, for example doing 15-20 minutes of exercise two or three times a day.
Breed also plays a role in how much exercise time is right for your pooch. It might be easy to think that the larger the breed, the more exercise they need, but that is not always the case. Some breeds are more prone to breathing difficulties or cardiac stress if worked out too hard. Each breed is unique, and it is best to consult with your Vet to understand how to best exercise your little individual.
Pounding the pavement is not the only pooch friendly exercise option. Dog parks or beaches are a great way to allow your canine to burn off that extra energy they need to without exhausting you at the same time. A good run around or game of fetch will give your dog a great workout without your step counter exploding. For dogs with joint problems, a swim is a great low impact way to maintain their fitness without putting strain on ageing joints. Inside games such as tug of war, mini obstacle courses, chasing bubbles or hide and seek can mix up the routine and be great backups if the outdoors are not an option.
Keeping up the kilometres with your canine is not only healthy but also great fun for both of you. Chat to your Vetmed Vet to set up the right exercise program for your fur baby at your regular health check-up.