Dog owners know that taking your pet for a spin around the block is a part of the program. But more than routine, exercising your dog is crucial in bolstering its mental and physical health.

How long should a dog be walked each day? The answer to this question depends heavily on a variety of factors, from breed to weather to age, and recommendations for exercise time range from 30 minutes to 2 hours a day depending on these factors

Fit woman running with a dog and holding it's leash

Here is a short guide to the factors, and to planning a perfect exercise schedule for your dog!

Different Dog Breeds Require Different Amounts of Exercise

Some dogs just need more exercise than others. Great Danes are notoriously lazy, and can live comfortably on 30 minutes of outside time a day. Huskies are the polar opposite, usually requiring 2 or more hours of exercise for mental stability. Research your dog breed to find out more specific information on its exercise needs.

Consider the Weather

Though this may seem obvious, temperature and weather conditions should heavily impact outdoor time with your dog. A day cresting 100 degrees may be dangerous for any animal. Freezing rain or heavy snow may be harmful to certain breeds too. Take a look, and a feel, outside and make decisions about exercising your dog accordingly!

Puppies and Older Dogs Have Different Walking Needs

Puppies, adults, and seniors all have different exercise needs.

Older dogs will need to slow down a bit. Around the ages of 7 and 8, consult your vet to determine adjusted exercise demands.

Adults at their prime, barring complicating medical issues, should be walked as much as otherwise recommended, as walking will encourage mental and physical wellness.

Puppies need plenty of exercise, but relative to their vulnerable physical state. If not careful, owners can easily overtire puppies, resulting in lasting health defects. The Kennel Club suggests 5 minutes of exercise at a session per month of age for puppies. In other words, a 5 month old puppy should be limited to 25 minutes of exercise per session. The amount of exercise sessions can be decided based on an individual puppy’s energy level.

Notes on safe walks for dogs

It’s not always enough to simply bring your dog outside for a walk. Carry water and a dish for long walks. Pay close attention to the dangers on a dog’s feet (glass or harmful liquids). Socialize your animal, but mind aggressive dogs on your walk. Keep your dog on a leash, even if you are confident in its behavior.

Dog walks are an important part of a pet’s happy and healthy life, but they are only effective if they don’t cause more harm than good. Explore these factors for safe and meaningful dog walks, and enjoy some outdoor time with your animal!