No matter what kind of dog you have, every dog can benefit from daily exercise. When a dog does not get enough exercise, they can experience the same problems as a person who doesn’t exercise enough: obesity, muscle atrophy, depression…
Though some people may enjoy not exercising at all, dogs are not people, and most would prefer to be active and outdoors throughout most of the day. As a general rule of thumb, most dogs should get at least 30 minutes of exercise per day. That said, younger dogs and certain breeds actually need more than that for optimal health.
Exercise by Breed and Age
Breed and age are the two biggest factors to consider when determining how much exercise your dog needs. It should come as no surprise that young, athletic breeds need the most exercise.
Dogs bred for working, hunting, herding, and sports fall into this category. Common breeds include retrievers, shepherds, hounds, and collies. These dogs need about 30 minutes of rigorous exercise in addition to 1 to 2 hours of general activity per day.
Older dogs and breeds that would not be classified as athletic – or “non-sporting group” dogs – only require 30 to 60 minutes, or less, of moderate activity per day. Bear in mind, older dogs, especially in the non-sporting group, may have conditions that prevent them from doing rigorous or extensive exercise, so a brisk walk around the block is usually sufficient for these kinds of dogs.
How Much Exercise Is Too Much?
For most dogs, regardless of age or breed, more than a few hours of rigorous exercise per day is probably overdoing it. What happens when a dog exercises too much? The same thing that happens to a person who overtrains: muscle soreness and possible injury.
Best Exercises for Dogs
Not sure how to exercise your dog? Try one of the following activities:
- Playing catch/fetch
- Playing with other dogs
Before Starting an Exercise Regimen for Your Dog
Before you put your dog on a daily exercise regimen, you should consult your vet. Your vet can let you know if your dog is too old or has any conditions that might make rigorous exercise too dangerous for them. Your vet can even provide you with an exercise program appropriate for your dog’s breed and age so that you don’t have to come up with one on your own.