How Often Should You Walk Your Dog? Here’s What To Consider
How often should you walk your dog? And how to make the best of a dog walk? Find out the answers.
Whether you’re a new dog parent or a more experienced one, it’s completely normal and healthy to be wondering – how often should you walk your dog? The truth is, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. The right amount of dog walking for your furry friend depends on a lot of factors. However, most people should be walking their dog daily. Read on to learn about how frequently – and how long – you should walk your dog each day based on factors such as breed and age. And while you’re here, don’t forget to check out our other guide: How much exercise do dogs really need?
Always know where your dog is
Follow every step in real-time with unlimited range. Get alerts if they wander too far. Keep them happy & healthy with Wellness Monitoring. And let others – like walkers or sitters – keep an eye on your dog too.
Table of contents
- The importance of walking your dog
- How often should you walk your dog?
- How often do you walk your dog? Factors to consider
- How long should you walk your dog?
- 5 reasons why dogs need walks daily
- What happens if you don’t walk your dog?
- Walking your dog: leashed vs unleashed
- The #1 way to keep your dog safe on dog walks
- Other ways to keep your dog active & healthy
- Still unsure how often to walk your dog?
The importance of walking your dog
No matter their age, breed, or size – every dog needs regular physical activity1. Walking your dog daily helps keep your canine friend healthy, both physically and mentally. Dog walking can also reduce the number of behavioral problems you experience with your pup. And more than that, it adds to the happiness and quality of life of your dog.
But many dog parents want to know – how often should I walk my dog?
How often should you walk your dog?
When it comes to how often you should walk your dog, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. On average, vets recommend walking the dog 3 – 4 times per day for at least 15 minutes.
However vets also recommend considering several factors when deciding how often you walk your dog.
How often do you walk your dog? Factors to consider
Every dog is unique, and therefore has different physical activity needs. How often you should walk your dog depends on things like their:
- Health condition
Below you can read more about how each factor affects the exercise requirements of our furry friends.
Every dog belongs to a particular breed, each of which has specific activity needs and limitations. For example, for some small dogs, one walk a day might be enough. This generally isn’t the case however for high-energy dog breeds.
Read on to learn about some of the common breed groups and their activity needs below.
High-energy dog breeds
- Border Collie
- Australian Shepherd
- Irish Setter
- Rhodesian Ridgeback
- Labrador Retriever
- Siberian Husky
Outdoor adventures are the perfect way to bond with these breeds. Whether you go for a walk, hike or run, your canine buddy will make the trip twice as fun.
Aim for 30 minutes to 2 hours of exercise each day – or 2 to 3 daily walks.
Low energy dog breeds
On the other hand, some dogs are low energy breeds and need less exercise daily. These include:
- Bassett Hounds
- Yorkshire Terriers
- Great Danes
Sheep and cattle dogs
These dog groups have a higher need for activity:
- Sheepdogs, such as Sheltie Sheepland or Border Collie
- Cattle dogs, such as Bouvier des Flandres
Dogs belonging to this group need a minimum of 2.5 hours of intense activity per day. Translated into walks, this can easily mean at least 4 walks a day, 20-25 minutes each.
Since dogs belonging in this category are also very intelligent, don’t forget to challenge them mentally as well. Reserve at least 30 minutes every day for intelligence game sessions with them.
Small, lively, strong tempered and trainable – this is how one would describe Terrier dogs. This dog group may be small, but these four-legged friends also need a quite large amount of exercise.
Terriers need at least 1.5 hours of activity every day. Consider a friendly walking schedule of 3 walks per day, 20-25 min each.
Consider adding some mental activity games for this group as well. 20 minutes a day should be challenging enough to keep them fit.
Hunting dogs, Pinscher, Schnauzer and Greyhounds
Breeds belonging to this group, such as:
definitely need an activity challenge. For them, 1.5 hour of daily walks and exercising is the minimum requirement. Since these dog breeds are also pretty fond of running, feel free to start a running practice with them, as long as you do it step-by-step and considering the age of your dog as well.
3 walks a day of at least 30 minutes, plus cognitive activities are highly recommended for dogs belonging to this group.
Chihuahua and similar breeds are typically what we nowadays call companion dogs. As these dogs are not high-energy breeds, avoid challenging them with hours of intense activity. Instead, use smaller time periods for fun games and short daily walks to keep them physically fit.
Small companion dogs may only need about 30 minutes of exercise per day.
Another factor to consider when it comes to how often you should walk your dog is age. Puppies aren’t able to walk as long as older dogs. However, they may need more frequent potty breaks. So stick with short but frequent walks for puppies.
Younger dogs (under 5 years old) typically have a lot of energy, so they often need more exercise than adult and senior dogs.
Middle-aged and senior dogs may have health issues that slow them down. They might be eager to walk a lot, but not have the stamina to keep up. Keep all this in mind when considering how often to walk your dog.
Other factors regarding your dog’s living situation and lifestyle affect how often they need walked. Does your dog live in a small apartment with not much space to move around? Then they’ll need walked more often. Do you have a big backyard where your pup is free to roam around and explore all day? In that case, they would need fewer walks.
Also consider – are you a generally sporty person? Is your dog doing other physical activity with you regularly, like swimming, hiking or running? If so, they won’t need as many walks. On the other hand, if you’re more inactive, chances are your dog will be too – so it’s very important to walk daily.
Last but not least, you should consider your dog’s health when deciding how often to walk your dog. Dogs in great health may be able to enjoy long walks – up to two hours or more. On the other hand, dogs with health problems like obesity or diabetes will likely have challenges walking.
Talk to your vet to determine the physical health of your dog and to get recommendations for your daily dog walks.
How long should you walk your dog?
We learned that how often you should walk your dog depends on the factors above. Similarly, how long you should walk your dog also depends on factors such as breed, age and health.
As a general rule, medium-sized dogs should be walked at least 30 minutes a day. Keep in mind, this might not apply to all dogs.
Every dog is an individual. Follow these tips to determine how long your daily dog walks should be:
- Ask your vet for recommendations on how often and how long you should walk your dog.
- Start with short walks and gradually increase the length of the walks with time.
- Keep an eye on your dog while walking – they may want to walk more, less, or call it quits for the day.
- See how active your dog is and compare their activity level with similar pets using a Tractive GPS Dog Tracker.
Adjust your daily walks based on these tips and what your dog seems to need. You know your dog best. If your dog has a health issue or condition that makes physical exercise difficult or painful, keep walks shorter. If your dog is in tip-top shape and one of the high energy breeds above, they can probably enjoy walking for longer.
5 reasons why dogs need walks daily
Need more motivation to get outside with your dog? Here are five reasons why dogs need walks daily.
- Dog walks are good for your dog’s health.
- Dog walks provide mental stimulation and enrichment.
- Dog walks are a great opportunity to socialize your dog.
- Dog walks can reduce unwanted behaviors.
- Dog walks build your dog’s confidence.
But the benefits are not just for your dog! Spending time outside while you walk your dog, in fact, can boost your fitness and overall sense of well-being. Daily walks can lower blood pressure, strengthen your bones and slash your diabetes risk. So… what are you waiting for? Grab your Tractive GPS tracker and go for your next outdoor adventure together right now!
What happens if you don’t walk your dog?
Not walking your dog can have serious consequences for your furry friend. Dogs that aren’t walked regularly and don’t get enough exercise may suffer from:
- Weight-related health issues, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and even cancer2
- Behavioral issues, such as barking, hyperactivity, chewing or running away
When dogs don’t get a chance to walk regularly, their energy builds up but has no place to be released, which causes many undesired behaviors.
Since walking your dog comes with tons of benefits for you and your dog – this essential activity shouldn’t be skipped! Even when it can be difficult sometimes, it’s essential to make sure your dog gets enough fresh air, potty breaks, physical activity and mental stimulation.
If you can’t walk your dog regularly, find a friend or dog walker who can do it for you.
Tips for walking your dog
- Don’t forget to bring water if you’re going on a longer walk.
- Attach a GPS dog tracker to your dog’s collar – that way you can find them if they run away.
- Get the right gear – consider dog booties, a dog jacket, or reflective gear as necessary.
- Read more tips for walking your dog in the dark
Walking your dog: leashed vs unleashed
When walking your dog – should they be leashed or unleashed? Many times the answer is clear – local leash laws may require you to have your dog on a leash. However in some places and situations, walking your dog off leash may be possible.
Keep in mind: Never walk your dog off leash if there’s a risk of them running away. If your dog does run away, don’t punish them. It’s important that your dog does not associate their return with any feeling of guilt or anger. Also, make sure to teach your dog the basic safety commands. Not only are they easy to teach, but they can also prevent dangerous situations for you and your furry friend.
The #1 way to keep your dog safe on dog walks
If your active dog has a tendency to run off; invest in a GPS dog tracker so you can always keep track of your furry friend.
The Tractive GPS Dog Tracker lets you track and find your dog anytime. Plus, you can see how active dogs like yours are, and get a healthy picture of how much exercise to aim for. Once you set your daily goal, it’s easy to stay on track.
Tractive also lets you learn your dog’s sleep routines, see if they’re getting enough (quality) sleep and see if something’s up. For example, if they’re sleeping a lot more than usual, it could be a sign it’s time to talk to your vet.
Other ways to keep your dog active & healthy
If you’re bored by the dog walking routine, you can try adding some dog sports into the mix. Activities that challenge your dog both physically and mentally include:
- Agility training
- Running with dogs
- Biking (check the conditions for biking with your dog here)
- Rally obedience
- Dog tricks
- Intelligence games
Even though your dog might belong to a group of high-energy dogs, they still have their own temperament and could be a true couch potato. For example, these dogs are the best runners; while others could struggle at even a slow (walking) pace. Try to understand the needs of your pup and consult a vet for a detailed and tailored walking schedule for your furry friend.
Still unsure how often to walk your dog?
In case you’re still uncertain of how often to walk your dog, it’s a good idea to visit to your vet. They will be happy to provide you with helpful tips and walking advice for your dog’s specific circumstances.
Walking the dog is a big part of any dog parent’s life. We owe it to our four-legged friends to help them get enough physical activity, fresh air, sunlight, enrichment, and socialization. Chances are, your dog loves taking walks with you!
How often and how long your dog needs walked depends on several factors – such as age, health, and breed. If you’re unsure, ask your vet for specific guidance on how often to walk your dog.
So, do you enjoy your daily dog walks? How often do you walk your dog?