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How Often Should You Walk Your Dog?

If you are a new dog owner, you probably know that it’s important to walk your dog, but you may not know how often to do it.  If you don’t walk your dog enough, she may be prone to bouts of restless hyperactivity.  You don’t want to overdo it though and tire your pooch out either.  What is the right amount?


As a general rule, the bets answer is to walk your dog around twice a day, for 15 minutes each time.  This really is just a general “if in doubt” rule, though.  Some breeds require more exercise than others, and other factors also can play a role, such as the age and health of your dog, as well as your dog’s current physical capabilities.  The dog’s personality may also play a role. 


Some breeds only need to go out once a day, but others may require a number of walks.  While the half hour a day is great for most breeds, some dogs might do better on an hour of daily exercise.  That exercise doesn’t all have to be walking; you can play games with your dog in the yard as well.  Just remember that your dog may not entertain himself if you do not head out with him.


Here are some general pointers:


  • Breeds that have smaller bladders tend to need to walk more.  Dogs that are suffering from diarrhea also need to go out more while they are sick (this will prevent a mess in your home).
  • Dogs that are smaller usually need less time walking and fewer walks than larger breeds.
  • Dogs with high energy levels and active personalities need more walks to prevent boredom or hyperactivity.
  • Older dogs need regular exercise, but you need to be careful not to overwork them, because they can be prone to arthritis pain after long walks. 
  • Use caution before bringing a large dog jogging.  If he is not well conditioned for jogging, he may be more prone to ligament injuries like hip dysplasia.  Younger dogs also should not be brought out for long jogging or running trips, because their bones still are not fully formed. 
  • Dogs with flat or short noses can struggle to breathe during vigorous exercise, particularly in warm climates.  Do not overwork these dogs.


Benefits of walking your dog:


  • Walking your dog is important for protecting her general health.  It will keep her from getting obese, and will also protect cardiovascular health and other body systems, just as it does for you.


  • When you work out your dog, you prevent behavioral problems that stem from inactivity, like chewing, scratching, digging, predatory behavior toward other dogs, fights, and so on. 


  • A walk can help your dog to burn off excess energy and relax for bedtime.


  • Your dog can learn how to socialize appropriately with other dogs.  This is especially true if you go to a dog park. 


  • This is a good training opportunity, and a good time to instill in your dog’s mind that you are the “alpha dog,” not him.  Since a dog is a domesticated animal, this is critical for his feeling of safety, order, and companionship.


Make sure before you start walking your dog that you have a good leash and collar set, and if the pavement is hot or icy, you may also want to purchase boots for your dog.  On cold days, a dog jacket or coat may be a good idea, depending on the breed and the weather conditions.  Walking your dog is essential for her health, and a great opportunity for you to get some exercise as well.  Best of all, it is a chance for you and your dog to bond and get to know each other and enjoy spending time together. 



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