Dogs’ exercise needs

Question:

How do I know if my dog is getting enough exercise?

Answer:

Breed and age are the two big factors to take into consideration when determining how much exercise your dog should get. Adult dogs (between one and six years of age) naturally require more exercise than older dogs, and working, sporting, herding, and terrier breeds generally need more exercise than dogs bred to be mellow family pets. This could be the difference between walking a few blocks and running a few miles, so learn what’s typical for your dog’s breed and go from there.

As a very general rule, most active adult dogs benefit from a thirty-minute run or one-hour walk every day. Of course, that varies. A two-year-old border collie may need a morning run and an afternoon walk while a ten-year-old poodle finds that a stroll up the street is plenty strenuous. It’s important to note that a puppy’s exercise should be limited until growth plates have closed (this happens when he’s about twelve to fourteen months); on the flip side, if your dog is older or prone to health issues, ask your veterinarian to recommend an exercise plan.

In most cases, your dog will let you know whether he’s getting enough exercise. If he’s hyperactive or chewing everything in sight, he may need more. If he’s reluctant to go with you at walk time, lags behind, or stops or lies down frequently on your outings, you may be asking too much of him.

When you settle in for the evening to check email or watch TV, take a look at your dog. If he doesn’t seem happy and relaxed, you might need to turn off the computer or TV and head back out to the park.