- Not a substitute for professional veterinary help.
Dogs need exercise for their physical and emotional health. Of course, walking is the most common way people exercise their dogs. But how long should you walk your dog each day?
The short answer: for as long as they want! But if you want more info than that, the full deets on how long to walk your dog are below.
Walks improve your dog’s health
Why walk at all? Well, your dog needs to go outside to go to the bathroom, of course. But dog walks are so much more than potty breaks.
Walking your dog keeps them healthy in several ways, according to VCA Hospitals:
- Weight control. Regular walks maintain your pup’s healthy weigh
- Joint health. As dogs age, their joints can get stiff. Exercise helps keep them loose and limber.
- Digestive/urinary health. Regular walks keep dogs regular. And peeing around the neighborhood isn’t just good for their health — it’s also part of how they communicate.
All those health benefits aren’t just for your dog. Regular walks can improve your health, too (though you probably don’t need to pee on everything you pass).
Why walk if a quick potty break will do?
You may be wondering if your dog really needs to take a lengthy walk, or if a quick romp around the yard will suffice. Of course, it depends on your dog. But in general, dogs like longer walks because it gives them a chance to explore the world.
Walks also maintain your dog’s mental health. Without enough exercise to stimulate their mind, some dogs become anxious or destructive. As VCA Hospitals explains, the one-on-one time spent on walks can help deter attention-seeking behaviors like whining or barking. It’s a great way to bond with your pet while fulfilling their needs.
Think of long walks as quality time spent with your best friend. Isn’t that worth spending some extra time on?
Some dogs can walk farther than others
When it comes to determining how far you should walk your dog, size matters. After all, a mile for a long-legged lab goes by a lot faster than a mile for a squat chihuahua. Rather than think in terms of distance, put yourself in your dog’s paws. Consider their age, activity level, health, and breed.
Younger, more energetic dogs may be able to walk longer or split their activity into more intense bursts. (Jogging, anyone?) However, senior dogs may prefer twenty minutes at a leisurely pace. Puppies need to play, but they can’t keep up on super-long walks, so it’s best to split their activity into multiple short walks per day.
Some dog breeds need shorter walks than others. For example, brachycephalic (short-nosed) breeds like bulldogs and pugs may experience breathing difficulty, so walks should be kept to 20-30 minutes. On the other hand, a super-active breed like a border collie or pit bull may want to take a lengthy power walk. When my pitties were young, we would take two hour walks a day.
How long should I walk my dog?
In general, most dogs benefit from between 30 minutes to two hours of physical activity per day, according to PetMD. That can be all at once, but most people break it up into two or three walks per day. There’s no perfect formula to determine how long to walk your dog, but half an hour at a time is a good rule of thumb. Start with a gentle 30-minute walk in the morning, and another before dinner.
There’s really no limit to how far you walk your dog as long as they’re comfortable. For some dogs, that’s around the block. For others, it’s ten miles. Just remember to build distance and stamina gradually over time. If you’re interested in doing hikes with your dog, we’ve written a whole post on the secret to a successful hike with a pet.
Busy schedule making it hard to walk your dog for as long as they’d like? Reach out to a Rover walker to help meet all your dog’s walking needs.