How long, how often, and how many miles should a dog walk a day? This is a question that many pet parents struggle with. After all, you want to make sure that your furry friend is getting enough exercise, but you also don’t want to wear them out. So, how do you find the perfect balance?
Today, we are going to explore each of the questions a little deeper to find the answer
For those who just want to get straight to the meat. Here are the answers.
How long, how often, and how many miles should a dog walk a day?
How long?: Generally, walking your dog for 30 minutes to 2 hours is enough to fulfill his daily exercise needs.
How often?: Walking your dog daily is ideal, however, the minimum amount for any breed should be at least twice a week.
How many miles?: Generally, you should walk your dog for 2 – 5 miles daily.
The above answers are very general because how long, how often, and how many miles you should walk your dog a day, highly depends on many factors.
Factors that determine how long, how often, and how many miles a dog should walk a day
Fortunately or unfortunately, not all dogs are the same.
How long, how often, and how many miles a dog should walk a day depends on many factors, some of which solely depend on the dog. These factors include
The Dog Breed
Working dog breeds like the Australian Cattle Dog were bred to work all day. They have a lot of energy and need a lot of exercise and therefore might require you to walk them for up to 2 hours. On the other hand, breeds like the Shih Tzu were bred to be lap dogs. They don’t need as much exercise and may even become lazy if they get too much.
The Age of the Dog
Puppies have a lot of energy and need to burn it off. They also need to build up their strength and endurance. However, it is important that they are not overwalked as they are still developing. The older dogs may not be as active as they used to be and may not be able to walk as long or as far.
The Dog’s Health
A dog with health issues like arthritis or hip dysplasia may not be able to walk as long or as often. You’ll need to talk to your veterinarian about how much exercise is appropriate for your dog.
Obese dogs will struggle to walk long distances but walking them is a good way to help them cut their weight. However, increase their walking distances gradually.
How long should you walk your dog?
As I said earlier, generally, 30 minutes – 2 hours should be sufficient walking time for your dog. But there is no perfect formula to determine this. It highly depends on your dog’s breed and age.
Older dogs should walk between 10 – 15 minutes a day.
According to the Kennel Club of the UK, puppies should exercise for 5 minutes per month of age, twice a day.
3 – 4 months; Puppies of this age should walk for at least 15 to 20 minutes per day. This should ideally be divided into two walks, morning and evening.
At this age, lead walking is probably the most essential because it will help train your puppy, but some free running should also be incorporated.
4 months to 6 months; 20 – 30 minutes daily. Split into 10 – 15 minutes sessions, morning and evening.
6- 9 months; 30-45 minutes daily. Split into 2 sessions of 15 – 20 minutes each.
9 -12 months; 45 -60 minutes daily. Split into 2 walks of 20 – 30 minutes each.
Puppies below the age of 3 months are susceptible to infection if they have not received all their vaccines. As a result, it is best to limit your exercise to the boundaries of your backyard. Exercising in your backyard is also a great way to start training your puppy and getting him used to wearing a collar.
Ensure your puppy has a variety of toys and that you are always with them in the backyard. This allows you to keep your puppy active, which can normally meet all of the puppy’s exercise demands during this period. Allow your puppy to socialize with other people and dogs in safe places, such as private gardens where only vaccinated dogs are allowed. Early socialization is essential for your dog’s development.
When it comes to dog breeds, herding dogs (German shepherds, Border collies, corgis, etc) are active dogs and need a lot of exercise compared to other breeds and need at least 2 hours of dog walking a day. However, if your dog gets daily exercise through other means like playing fetch, swimming, chasing balls, etc, then you can reduce this time. Corgis need at least 1 hour, split into 2 sessions, 30 minutes each.
Sporting dogs (Golden retriever, labrador retriever, Spaniels, etc), just like herding dogs, are very active and need a lot of exercise and mental stimulation. So they need at least 45 minutes to 2 hours a day as well. You can reduce this time if your dog is getting regular exercise through other activities.
Hounds (Greyhound, Beagle, Dachshund, etc), do not require as much of a workout. Despite their muscular physiques, they are sprinters who release energy in short bursts so your dog will get all of the exercise he requires in around 30 minutes per day, with a few sprint sessions thrown in for good measure. A strong durable dog harness would also be a terrific accessory for any hike for little breeds like dachshunds.
Terriers (Bull terrier, Australian Terrier, Border Terrier, etc), can do a fair amount of exercise in your backyard as they are usually smaller than other breeds. 1 hour of dog walking should be sufficient. However Australian Terriers may need up to 3 hours
Working dogs (Boxer, Doberman Pinscher, Great Dane, etc), require moderate activity and need 1 – 2 hours of dog walking a day. However, huskies require up to 180 minutes a day as they are very high energy.
Working dogs also require mental stimulation so you may consider bike-jorning or agility activities to help keep them happy.
Non-Sporting dogs (Boston Terrier, Chow Chow, Poodle, etc), require 30-60 minutes of walking per day. However, some breeds like Dalmations and Schipperkes may require up to 120 minutes of walking per day.
The Toy Group (Chihuahua, Pug, etc), in general, requires about 30 minutes of walking each day, which can be divided into two 15-minute sessions. Small dogs must trot to keep up with the normal human stride, thus fewer and shorter walks are best.
Please note that Bulldogs, Pugs, and other short-nosed breeds are prone to respiratory issues. Also, if they are overworked, they can easily overheat.
How often should you walk your dog?
Walking your dog daily is ideal.
However, we do not leave in an ideal world and so this is not always possible. Therefore the minimum number of times you should walk your dog should be twice a week. This goes for any breed.
A regular walk may also be less appealing to older dogs. If your dog is slowing down, alternate walks with lower-impact activities on non-walking days.
Puppies need to play but can’t keep up with long walks, so it’s best to divide their walks into several short sessions throughout the day.
How many miles should a dog walk a day?
Generally, most dogs are happy to walk 2 – 5 miles a day.
However, this is a very general assumption.
Larger breeds can walk up to 20 miles. As long as your dog is comfortable, there is no limit to how far you can walk them. Note that dogs on longer leashes tend to cover more ground than those on shorter ones.
The key is to notice when your dog is tired, which is what we are going to touch on next.
How to know when your dog is tired of walking?
Yes, most dogs love going for walks.
However, every dog has its limit and it is important to know that limit because you do not want to overwork your dog and cause him injury.
There are several ways you can tell when your dog has had enough:
1) He starts to lag behind or stops completely
2) His tongue is hanging out of his mouth and he is drooling excessively
3) He is panting heavily
4) He stops wagging his tail
5) His ears droop
6) He starts to whine or make other noises
7) He lies down
If you notice any of these signs, it is time to turn around and head home.
A good rule of thumb to keep in mind, however, is that if your dog is still pulling on the lead at the end of your walk, he probably still needs more exercise. Next, we are going to cover ways to increase the amount of exercise your dog does on a walk.
How Can You Exercise Your Dog More During a Walk?
If your dog does not seem to get enough of your daily walks, here are a few ways you can tire him out without having to take him on an extra walk.
Get a longer leash.
Getting a longer leash can give your dog the extra room they need to explore and get their energy out. Just be sure that you are comfortable with holding onto a longer leash, and that your dog is trained to not pull too much.
Find a hilly route.
Walking up and down hills can be tiring for you, but it can also be great exercise for your dog. If there are no hills in your area, try finding some stairs to walk up and down instead.
Take them on a long walk.
If you usually only walk your dog around the block, try extending your walk to a nearby park or trail. This will give your dog the opportunity to explore new smells and scenery, and get some extra exercise.
Let them pull you
Letting your dog pull you on a skateboard or bike can be a great way to give them more exercise without tiring you out too much. Just be sure that you are both comfortable with this activity, and that your dog is not pulling too hard.
Get a dog backpack.
If you really want to give your dog a workout, try putting a backpack on them and filling it with some light weights. This will make them work harder as they walk, and can help build up their muscles. Just be sure not to overdo it and only put a backpack on them for short periods of time in the beginning.
How long, how often, and how many miles should a dog walk a day? – Conclusion
There are many factors that determine how long, how often, and how many miles you should walk your dog. Some of these factors are the dog breed, age, and health of the dog.
A good rule of thumb is to always notice signs of exhaustion and adjust accordingly because every dog is unique. If you are still unsure about how long, how often, and how many miles you should walk your dog, please consult a veterinarian.
However, try not to look at dog walking as a chore. Look at it as a great way to spend time with your best furry friend.