How often and how far should you walk your dog

Shane Sykes - Last updated on May 19th, 2021

Dog owners usually know how much their furry friends enjoy their time spent outside, but do you know how often should you walk your dog to potty? 

Aside from needing the walks to relieve themselves, dogs also need physical exercise and mental stimulation to stay healthy. 

Going on regular walks is a crucial part of your dog's physical and mental health. It keeps your buddy's bones strong, his senses heightened, and also helps keep his muscle tone at a healthy level. 

Walking also keeps your pup from getting bored and chewing on everything they can find around the house. 

If you're wondering how often should you walk your puppy, you should know that not all dogs need the same amount of exercise. There are dogs that only need one walk a day, but there are also dogs that need frequent walks with lots of running and playing. 

Many factors play significant roles when it comes to the frequency and length of walks each dog needs. If you are still not sure about dog walking, you may want to consult with a professional pet nanny.

Why Walking Your Dog is So Important 

Regular exercise is crucial for every dog's well-being. There are numerous reasons why dogs need regular walks, but let's list some of the most important ones.

  • Physical health: Regular walks prevent obesity on dogs, and they can also help your pup lose a few pounds if needed. They also help your dog's cardiovascular and digestive system stay healthy, improve joint health and radically reduce the symptoms of arthritis. 
  • Mental Stimulation: Dogs are energetic creatures, and they are very curious, too. Your pup needs interesting adventures to stay mentally strong and alert. There is no better way to keep a dog's mind occupied than taking him to new places and introducing him to new smells and sights. Walks also prevent or reduce destructive behaviors such as chewing, digging, or barking. 
  • Keeping a strong social structure: Your dog needs to learn his place in the pack. You and your family represent the rest of the pack members, and walks are a perfect opportunity to teach your dog who's in charge. They help you identify as the pack leader and establish dominance in a way that's perfectly natural to your dog. 
  • Socialization: Meeting other people and other animals, especially dogs, is important for your pup's social intelligence. It helps them learn how to respond to certain situations and how to become a valuable doggy citizen. Walks give your dog new, exciting learning experiences about the world that surrounds him and all the creatures in it. 

How Long Should I Walk My Dog Each Day 

Some dog owners love hiking, running, or speed walking, and they take their dogs along. However, not all dogs can keep up, and you should know that the length of your walks may depend on various factors. 

Puppies and dogs who are under one year of age shouldn't go on walks for longer than an hour. The same goes for senior dogs and dogs with health conditions. 

Sometimes, an older dog may have the mental strength, stimulation, and will to go on extra-long walks with you, but they won't have the stamina to do it. 

Dogs are strong animals, and they are usually perfectly fine until they get tired. After how many miles the dog gets tired depends on many things such as the size of the dog, how fast you're walking, how physically fit your dog is, etc. 

When your dog starts hesitating to walk or starts sniffing around instead of keeping pace with you, it's usually a sign he's had enough and you need to let him rest.

How Often Should You Walk Your Dog 

So, how often should I take my dog out for a walk? – The answer depends on many variables. 

Some of the important factors you should consider:

  • Size: Smaller dogs usually need much less exercise compared to bigger breeds. Often, all they need is a chance to potty and some light exercise or play. Larger dogs usually need more exercise and more frequent walks. 
  • Breed: Certain breeds have small bladders and need more frequent potty walks. Sporting breeds have higher requirements when it comes to exercise, and so do working breeds. Collies, Pointers and Shepherds usually need to exercise more often than lapdogs. If you wonder how often should you walk your small dog, you should know they usually need short walks that aren't necessarily too frequent. 
  • Age: Puppies who don't yet have proper bathroom habits have to go out very often. Older dogs also usually need to go out more often because their bladder gets weaker and the dog holding urine too long is extremely unhealthy. Younger dogs need more exercise compared to senior or middle-aged dogs, so they will need to go for walks more often.   
  • Diet: Depending on his diet, your dog may feel more or less need to eliminate. Grain-free pet food is known for reducing the amount of waste your dog produces. If you feed your furry buddy with grain-free premium food, they may need to go potty less frequently.

Most dogs enjoy a minimum of two 15-20-minute walks every day. However, depending on various factors, some dogs will need a lot more than that. Make sure you learn about your dog's breed and keep the length and frequency of your walks at an optimum level to support his good health.

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