How Often Should I Walk My Dog

How Often Should I Walk My Dog?

How often do you walk your dog? If you’re worried that it isn’t enough, Finn has info about how much they need and why it’s so important.

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As a pet owner, how often do you walk your dog? Don’t worry; we’re not trying to make you feel guilty! We want to open up a conversation about how you can help your dog to live their best life, and exercise is a vital piece of the puzzle. 

So, how much should you be walking your dog? What other exercise can you use to keep your dog healthy if that's not a possibility? We’ve got all you need to know.

Why Is Exercise Important for Dogs?

Before we talk about how often you should be walking your dog, let’s discuss why it matters in the first place. 

Exercise is essential for addressing two different facets of your dog’s life — their physical and mental health. 

What Are the Benefits of Exercise for My Dog’s Physical Health?

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Physically, the fact that dogs need exercise is not a surprise. For one, exercise helps to keep them at a healthy weight. Pet obesity continues to be an epidemic and leads to serious health complications, including joint pain and cardiovascular issues. 

Some dog breeds are more susceptible to obesity than others — pugs, bulldogs, beagles, golden retrievers, dachshunds, and Bassett hounds all top that list. 

In addition to helping reduce the risk of obesity, regular walks also help promote healthy muscle tone and joint mobility. It relates to the “use it or lose it” mentality — any muscle that isn’t put to use is much more likely to atrophy. 

What Are the Benefits of Exercise on My Dog’s Mental Health?

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The physical health benefits of exercise for your dog are apparent, but the mental health benefits are equally important. 

Consider this — we’re able to leave the house whenever we want (for the most part). Our dogs don’t have the same luxury and are usually stuck inside for most of the day. Imagine the cabin fever you’d get if the roles were reversed! 

For your dog, a walk is more than just exercise — walks are also a way for them to get out their excess energy and get some much-needed mental stimulation. For high-energy breeds, like border collies, Australian shepherds, and Australian cattle dogs, not having an outlet for their energy can lead to destructive behaviors. 

Has your dog been just staring at you lately or following you around from room to room? Take them for a walk and see if their attitude changes.

How Often Should I Walk My Dog?

Unfortunately, there is no specific answer to this question that applies to every dog. Many factors go into how often you should walk your dog, like their age and health status. Essentially, you’ll want to take your dog’s unique needs into account when deciding how often to head out on a walk. 

On average, most dogs need between 30 minutes and two hours of exercise a day to be at their healthiest and happiest. You can get this time in during one long walk (if your dog is up to it) or split it up into multiple walks during the day. If you’re just getting started with a new pet, you’ll want to begin on the lower side of that scale. Once you get a better sense of how your dog does, you can adjust accordingly. 

When Should I Walk My Dog?

If you’re only able to get a walk in once a day, the “when” matters less than the fact that you’re doing it. However, if you have the opportunity to choose when you walk your dog, there are a few points to consider.

The first point is whether or not your dog has any allergies  or seasonal allergies. Certain times of the day tend to be more problematic for dogs with allergies than others. Allergens like pollen tend to grow throughout the morning and peak around midday. To avoid that, walk your dog early in the morning or much later in the afternoon. 

You should always consider the temperature outside. Avoiding weather extremes is vital, especially for temperature-sensitive dogs (like seniors or those with health conditions). Like humans, dogs can develop heat-related issues. In fact, they are far more likely to experience fatal consequences from being in the heat for too long.

Another point for exercise enthusiasts, like joggers and runners, to consider, is that you want to give them time to digest their food calmly before heading out. Although more common with larger breed dogs, like great Danes, bloat is still possible with any dog in some circumstances. 

Walking Your Pet Is Good for You

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It’s not just your pup that can see benefits from getting out of the house more regularly. Research has shown that walking your dog is also great for your heart, joints, muscles, and waistline. 

In addition, you may notice benefits to your mental health. Just getting a little fresh air and a change of scenery can help you to shake off some negative energy. It’s also a great time to take a social media break and put your phone down. You might even meet other pet owners! 

Overall, having a dog is excellent for reducing your stress level, and walking with them just ups the ante.  

What Are Tips for Dog Walks?

How often do you walk your dog? No matter your answer, you want to make them enjoyable and safe!

The number one rule of walking your dog, especially if you’re in an unfamiliar area, is to keep your dog on a leash. While it can be tempting to let your dog run, even the most well-trained and obedient dog can make a spontaneous decision and end up in a bad situation. Keeping your dog on a leash helps avoid these issues and prevent your dog from getting hit by a car or attacked by another dog. 

Your dog could become nervous in unfamiliar surroundings, and using the leash to keep them closer to you may help diffuse their nerves. 

In addition to keeping your dog on a leash, you should make sure they have proper identification in the event they do slip out of your control. A good ID tag should have your current phone number, but many professionals recommend not putting your pet’s name on it. That can prevent people from wrongly claiming ownership of your dog if they do get away from you. 

Take the weather into consideration as well. Even if your dog is used to getting a daily walk, it becomes dangerous in too hot or too cold weather. In these situations, you should rely on other types of exercise that you can do in the house to keep both yourself and your dog safe. 

Also, always remember to bring a poop bag with you when you head out. Although most places have laws requiring that you pick up after your dog, it’s just a kind and considerate thing to do. 

What Other Types of Exercise Can I Do With My Dog?

Walking isn’t the only way to get your dog their much-needed activity. Depending on your mobility and stamina, there are other ways that you can get their energy out in a fun, safe manner.

For example, if you love working out, why not include your dog? Try going for a run or hike with them, although you may want to start slow to see how they react. Some dogs, especially the older ones, can be extra stiff or sore after a new type of exercise as well. Just like when you start a new exercise routine, don’t push too far too fast. 

In addition, not everyone is capable of getting out and walking their dog every day (or at all). While this is something to keep in mind when choosing a dog, there are still ways that you can get them some activity without leaving the house. The perfect example of this is just throwing a tennis ball for them. Most dogs love to play fetch and will be thrilled to chase one in the house. Tug of war is another excellent option. 

If you tend to be busy during the day or exhausted by the time you get home, you may want to consider hiring a dog walker to take your pup out for a walk once a day. Although this sounds expensive, it’s worth it when you take your dog’s happiness into account. 

In Conclusion

How often do you walk your dog? Making a more regular effort to get a dog walk on most days of the week can have enormous benefits for both you and your dog. 

Stick with us at Finn for plenty more suggestions about how you can improve your doggo’s quality of life. 


Pet obesity is an epidemic | AAHA 

Introduction to Behavior of Dogs - Dog Owners | Merck Veterinary Manual 

The Benefits of Walking Your Pet | ASPCA



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