Physical exercise plays a very important role in the daily care of dogs, as it directly influences animal welfare , as well as helping to prevent certain behavior problems, such as stress or anxiety. However, it is not always easy to determine what type of exercise is most suitable for a dog or how we should adapt it in each of its vital stages.
In this article of Animal Expert we will explain how much exercise a dog should do per day , taking into account the specific needs of each individual, likewise, we will also talk about the walk routine, the types of dog exercises that we can practice or how to adjust the time and intensity of physical activity.
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- Benefits of exercise in dogs
- How much should a dog walk per day?
- How much physical activity does a dog need?
- What should a dog workout be like?
- Types of exercises for dogs
Benefits of exercise in dogs
Regular practice of moderate physical exercise helps prevent overweight in dogs, as well as the diseases associated with it. It also allows the development of adequate muscle tone, strong bones and thickening of the articular cartilage.  In addition, performing activities that stimulate our dog’s mind using positive reinforcement will allow us to keep his cognitive and social skills active, while improving our bond with him.
It is also essential to note that dogs with behavioral problems will greatly benefit from this practice, as it helps to channel accumulated stress and thus improves anxiety, depression or destructiveness, among others.
How much should a dog walk per day?
Before delving into physical exercise, we must learn what the dog’s walking needs are, as both activities are closely related. How many times should we walk a dog? The ideal is to make between 3 and 4 walks a day , about 15 to 30 minutes each. It is important that during the walk the dog can relieve himself calmly, sniff and interact if desired.
How much physical activity does a dog need?
Physical activity needs vary greatly depending on the age of the individual. The exercise in puppies dogs should be especially moderate and reduced to practice rides and games, because at this stage excess activity may adversely affect their physical development. Very old dogs and those belonging to the brachycephalic dog breeds will follow the same guidelines , since they constitute a risk group since the appearance of health problems is frequent due to intense physical exercise.
We can start exercising with a dog from 12 months , when it is considered to be fully developed, always gradually , so as not to negatively impact its bones and joints, especially if we are talking about large or giant dogs .
Although there are some more active dog breeds than others, such as the Belgian Malinois or the Border Collie, we should not focus only on this aspect, but on the specific needs of the individual. To better understand our dog’s needs, we advise you to follow these five steps:
- We will start by doing short exercise sessions, so as not to fatigue the dog, learning to know its limits and its response to exercise.
- We will practice different activities to discover your preferences.
- We will combine exercise with mental stimulation to tire you physically and mentally.
- We will avoid those games that cause hyperactivity and anxiety.
- We will leave at least one day of the week off.
Once started in a canine sport, we advise owners to visit the vet every 6 months to ensure the dog is in good health and to avoid some health problems that may appear, such as wear on the pads or joint problems.
What should a dog workout be like?
Exercise sessions should always be carried out in a suitable environment that fosters a state of well-being. Therefore, we must avoid practicing sports during the hottest hours of the day or on unsuitable surfaces, such as asphalt in the summer months, as it can cause injuries and burns to the dog’s pads.
We will start doing short sessions, about 10 minutes , so that our dog begins to get used to the practice of regular physical activity. Progressively we will be able to extend the time, always in accordance with the acceptance of the dog and tolerance towards exercise. We will take breaks from time to time so that the dog can breathe calmly and relax for a few minutes. During these breaks we will provide you with a shaded area. If we are on a track or circuit we can go out, go around and come back.
To finish, we must point out that we should never practice exercise if our dog has not done his needs before, also, once the session is over, we must allow him a rest time to relax before going home .
Types of exercises for dogs
To finish, we will mention some activities that we can practice with a dog:
- Jogging: Running at a constant pace is a good way to exercise with our dog. It can be interesting in adult dogs that have high levels of activity. It must later be combined with mental stimulation exercises.
- Canicross: is the professional form of jogging with dogs and is generally practiced in mountain environments. There are championships at the regional, national and international levels.
- Bicycle: the benefits are similar to those of jogging , however, it is an activity that requires a previous initiation time in which the basic orders will be practiced to communicate with the dog and be able to move safely and comfortably for both of them. It is not recommended in dogs that present behavioral problems such as fear or aggressiveness.
- Find the ball or the fresbee: before practicing this type of exercise we must teach our dog to find and bring the ball . It is a complete activity that allows the dog to exercise actively, however it can generate stress and anxiety if there are no breaks during exercise.
- Swimming: It is an option that allows us to exercise our dog fully, while providing an enriching environment full of stimuli with which to interact.
- Agility: This canine sport combines obedience and physical activity, so in this case we will ensure a good dose of mental stimulation. It helps improve the bond with the owner and is a great way to get active.
- Dog training and skills: teaching our dog various tricks and commands helps us keep his mind active. In addition, it allows us to tire you without exercising you intensively. It is highly recommended that all dogs practice sessions weekly.
- Proprioception: it is usually practiced in specialized centers, such as dog training facilities, and it is worked with the help of various elements, such as balls, rings or other surfaces. Through positive reinforcement the dog learns to get around or interact with the elements, while gaining self-confidence, learning to practice balance and exercise his senses. It is indicated for dogs with fears, insecurities and other behavioral problems.
- Hiking: it is a good option for those dogs that are not motivated by the aforementioned sports, as it is a much more free and relaxing activity. The dog will receive a lot of mental stimulation from the environment
Now you know how to assess your dog’s needs, what to keep in mind when starting a training session and some ideas to inspire you. Do you practice any sport with your dog? Do you want to leave us your ideas, doubts and suggestions? Then do not hesitate, write us a comment!