We all know that a lack of exercise isn’t the best recipe for a healthy body, and it’s pretty much the same story for our dogs, too. Yes, it’s good to get that walk around the block to, “take care of business,” but dogs of most any breed and size require more than that. In fact, most dogs — like people — need 20 to 30 minutes of exercise each day.
How much is enough?
Yes, more “active breeds” will need more exercise than smaller breeds. And indoor activity may not be enough for even smaller, toy breeds. A good rule of thumb is to recognize when your dog is slowing down toward the end of the activity.
Breeds built to run may enjoy long days on the road or trail. Don’t expect the same from smaller dogs. Dr. Tom Watson from Carolinas Veterinary Medical Hospital encourages us to start with small distances and gradually work up to more, whether you’re running or walking with your dog.
Watch the weather.
When it’s too hot or cold for you, it’s probably too hot or cold for your dog. Be particularly careful with your dog’s foot pads. Hot asphalt or wet, icy weather can cause serious injuries to your dog’s paws.
Keep it interesting.
Try running a new trail or different route. Introduce a new ball or toy for a game of fetch. Check out a dog park for a “run around” with a different group of same-sized dogs. Changing up the routine will keep your dogs body and mind engaged in the process.
You’ll benefit, too!
Dr. Watson reminds us that 20 to 30 minutes a day of moderate exercise goes a long way to maintaining a dog’s weight and cardiovascular function. That means our best buds will be around for a lot longer! And if they’re motivating us to get some regular exercise, too… then so will we!