How much exercise do dogs need?

Your dog’s age, overall health, and breed determine her exercise sweet spot. Puppies and young adult dogs need more exercise, while older, sick, or injured dogs need extra downtime to rest and recover. When starting any exercise program with your dog, start gradually.

Sporting, working and herding breeds require the most exercise, 1 to 2 hours per day. Terriers, scent hounds and breeds known for their speed require 60 to 90 minutes of exercise to thrive.

Both toy and giant breeds are less active – they benefit from a light, hour-long walk or a gentle game of fetch. For brachycephalic breeds such as pugs, French bulldogs and Shih Tzus, 20 to 30 minutes of slow exercise is recommended because their smaller airways can interfere with physical activity.

Don’t neglect mental exercise

Black woman walking dog in park
Overweight, senior dogs, and brachycephalic dogs (such as pugs, bulldogs, and French bulldogs) are best exercised at a slower pace during the cooler parts of the day.Photography: SeventyFour, Getty Images

Physical activity can help dogs relax, but so can hunting games, food-distribution puzzles, and skill training. Incorporate your dog’s favorite things into your daily schedule.

How do I tell if my dog ​​needs more exercise?

If your dog gets overly excited on walks, gets restless around the house, barks and whines indoors, bows when you try to relax or tries to start playing, and is unable to relax at night, he may benefit from taking longer companion for walking or running.

What can help older dogs exercise?

If arthritis is slowing your senior dog down, especially if she is overweight, a weight loss diet can help. For older dogs, exercising two to three times a day is more comfortable than a single session of exercise over a long period of time. Your veterinarian may prescribe medications or pain relief supplements. Low-impact activities, such as swimming or using an underwater treadmill, can help older dogs stay in shape without discomfort.