Getting enough daily exercise becomes more of a challenge during the winter months. Bad weather and freezing temperatures are enough to make you think twice about heading out. Can you get away with a short, brisk walk instead of your regular daily trek to the park?
The short answer is, yes. But taking short walks so your dog can do their business outside means you have to go out more often. A healthy dog needs to get up and moving several times a day, much the same way a human does.
So how much exercise is enough for your dog?
It all depends on the age, gender, and breed of your dog. Any existing health complaints will also dictate how much exercise your dog can handle a day.
Small breeds like the chihuahua, Yorkshire terrier, Shih Tzu, toy poodle, etc., require about 15 to 30 minutes a day. A good, brisk 10-minute walk with those tiny legs is like running a marathon to an older dog. Plan to take them out two to three times a day to give them a break and keep them fit.
Sporty breeds like beagles, pointers, and shepherds will require significantly more exercise than a chihuahua. These hunting dogs were bred for running and they have enormous stamina. Anywhere from 90 minutes to three hours of exercise a day will keep these dogs happy.
Large bone dogs like Great Danes and mastiffs find too much exercise a burden on their lumbersome limbs and joints. Shorter walks of about 15-20 minutes at a time will keep these dogs from getting too lazy. Aim for 60 to 90 minutes a day, or three 30-minute walks morning, afternoon, and evening.
Smooshy faced dogs like pugs, French bulldogs, and boxers prefer a slow-paced, short walk. Due to their brachycephalic noses, they can struggle to catch their breath especially during warmer weather.
Older dogs don’t require as much exercise compared to when they were younger. With many suffering from hip and knee problems, it’s better for these old souls to take it easy and walk at their own pace. Keep walks short for these seniors and let them tell you when they’ve had enough.
Try to vary your walks so your dogs don’t get bored. Even walking down a different street will give your dog enough new scents and smells to keep them interested. Dogs love exploring new areas, especially parks and woodlands where there’s plenty of green space. Keeping it fresh is the best way to keep your dog mentally stimulated as well as physically fit.
Don’t forget to bundle up when you're heading out. Keeping your dog warm and dry will only increase their enjoyment level. Have fun!
by Natalie Secretan