How Much Exercise Does A Dog Need?

Photo of author
Published On

I Love Veterinary blog is reader-supported, and we may earn a commission from products purchased through links on this page, at no additional cost to you. Learn more About Us and our Product Review Process >

Canines and Exercise

Both humans and dogs must exercise regularly to maintain a healthy and active lifestyle. But how much exercise does a dog need? Although dogs are usually rather enthusiastic when playing or strolling, you may occasionally need to push your little dog to get some exercise. 

There are many different ways to exercise your dog, and in this article, you’ll find several suggestions that will be effective for your pet. Read on to understand more.

How to Exercise Your Dog

Walk, Jog, and Run

Walking or hiking with you is the simplest and easiest form of physical activity or hiking with you. How long should a dog walk be? You should initially keep walks brief, for around 20 minutes, and gradually extend their length. When your dog reaches a level of comfort with walking, you can introduce variety by jogging or sprinting alongside them. 

If they are not participating in any other form of physical activity, they should walk for a minimum of 45 to 60 minutes each day. Always be wary of how long to walk a dog to avoid fatigue and boredom.

Young lady running with dog

Follow Them For a Stroll

You could also give your dog the lead for a change, but instead of walking behind them, you could follow them around wherever they go. 

In addition to providing entertainment for your younger children, this will give you a welcome diversion from the monotony of your typical daily activities. To maintain their interest in the walk and keep them motivated, stop when your dogs want to.

Obedience in Training

Training your pets to follow your directions and engage in physical activity is the most effective strategy to assist them in accomplishing these goals. As a bit of lighthearted fun, you may require them to master the traditional handshake or bow. 

Teach them the command to bring you a ball, the command to sit down, and any other commands that may come in handy for indoor activities or outside sports. Aside from that, it is always beneficial to spend time with your puppies because playtime is the activity that they enjoy the most. 

Giving them a few pats on the back and some affection after each success can keep them happy and encourage them to keep at it.

Play a Game of Fetch

Playing the game of fetch with your child is another technique to help them break a sweat and get some physical activity in their day. Training your dog to participate in this sport, which it can play anywhere, is easy. 

Obtain a stick or a ball, throw the object, and tell your pet to bring it back. You may need to train your dog to do the same thing initially, but as it masters the ability and starts paying attention to your commands, the activity will become enjoyable for both of you. 

You can also play frisbee with them, analogous to how you play catch with them by teaching them to bring the frisbee to you.

Make Them Climb the Stairs

If you are looking for indoor exercise, the best sport you can play with them is to make them climb the stairs. There is no greater sport. You can either toss a ball or a stuffed toy up the staircase and ask your dogs to follow you as you climb it or throw a ball or a stuffed toy up the stairs and ask them to bring it back to you. 

Always show them admiration when they climb the stairs; if they want to keep you motivated, have them bring you something.

Dog climbing stairs

Nose Work Games

Nose games are everyday activities dog owners like doing with their canine companions to help their canines improve their sense of smell and develop it further. In addition to keeping kids physically busy, it piques their interest and boosts their brain capabilities. You may hide treats inside the small boxes and lead your pet, leaving a smell trail. 

When you cannot take your pets outside, you can create your own “go find it games” to play at home. When they successfully follow the trail and locate the boxes, you must congratulate them and provide them with a reward.

Take Them to Parks

The fact that dogs enjoy the company of other canine companions is one of the primary reasons why taking them to dog parks is such a good idea. Canines, like humans, like participating in social activities, and canines can also come up with their games and immediately begin playing them. 

In addition to enhancing their ability to connect socially with other dogs, this will also help them learn new games to play with other canines. You may also see them having a great time by letting your child play with a dog that belongs to a neighbor or friend. 

If there are no other dogs, cats, or animals in the park, the owners may bring balls and other toys for their dogs to play with.

Hide and Seek for Fun

Playing a game of hide and seek with your dog is another enjoyable way to exercise for both of you. Find a space in your home where you may conceal yourself and wait for the “Come” command before emerging from your hiding spot. In most cases, dogs will try to track down their masters by following the scent trail left behind by their natural odor. 

They will not only need to move around as a result of this but also have their brain’s cognitive capacities stimulated. Our animals can recognize our scent, which is how they learn to recognize us when we return home or are in the same room as them.

Swimming for the Water Puppies

You can take your dog with arthritis swimming in a swimming pool, a public pool, or anywhere else safe for canines to swim. Since many dogs like swimming, and since swimming is safe for dogs with arthritis, you can take your dog swimming anywhere safe for pups to swim. If this is your dog’s first time in the water, you should assist them. 

Swimming is a light exercise; therefore, it is simple for the dogs to do it, and they also enjoy the activity. 

You should also be aware that not all dogs enjoy swimming, so if your dog does not enjoy swimming, it is best to choose another form of exercise for the two of you to undertake together. When it comes to your pets, you should never make them do anything against their will.

Dog swimming in the pool

Agility Classes for Super-Active Dogs

Do you know there are also yoga classes for dogs, and you refer to them as dog classes? Your dog may get a good workout at one of the available dog centers or agility lessons. You can now sign up your pet to participate in these programs and assist them in maintaining a healthy lifestyle while simultaneously engaging in physical activity with them.

How Much Exercise Does a Dog Need?

How much exercise does a dog need daily? The amount of daily exercise your dog needs depends on its breed, age, health, fitness, and personality. At times you may need to consult the how much exercise does my dog need calculator. This will help you understand how to exercise your dog. When deciding how to exercise your dog, ask yourself these questions:

What Breed are They?

The breed of your dog has a significant impact on its baseline activity levels. For example, how much exercise does a golden doodle puppy need? This will vary from other dog breeds. It will largely depend on your dog’s breed. 

Some require one to two hours of exercise per day, some require more than two hours, and others – most commonly working breeds – require substantially more than that, in addition to cerebral stimulation throughout the day. Some dogs have these requirements. 

Flat-faced breeds such as Pugs, Bulldogs, and Shih Tzus need just as much exercise as any other dog, but they frequently struggle to breathe due to the shape of their face – for more information, read our advice on breathing problems in flat-faced breeds. Flat-faced breeds such as pugs, bulldogs, and Shih Tzus need as much exercise as any other dog.

Visiting our sites dedicated to the various breeds will give you an idea of how much each breed requires physical activity.

How Old Are They?

It is essential to provide joint protection for your growing dog by gradually exposing them to activity while they are still young. How much exercise does a dog need every day largely depends on the age of your dog. As an adult, they need to maintain a healthy level of physical activity and fitness. 

If your dog is getting on in years, they require less physical activity than it did in the past. Learn how to exercise your elderly dog properly.

Do They Suffer From any Health Conditions?

If your dog is ill or injured, it won’t require as much activity as it usually would because rest is an essential component of the healing process. Find alternative ways to keep them amused so they don’t develop boredom and frustration and give them as much rest as your veterinarian recommends.

How Fit are They?

Suppose you want your dog to start participating in more activities with you or join you in a new pastime like running or cycling. In that case, you’ll need to improve their fitness level gradually, so they don’t sustain injuries or get sick.

What Do They Enjoy Doing?

Every dog, just like every person, has its distinct personality and set of likes and dislikes. You must make sure your dog appreciates the activity you are asking them to participate in, and if they do not, you should alter their routine accordingly.

What Happens When Dogs Don’t Exercise?

If your dog isn’t getting enough physical activity, it may put on too much weight, become bored or frustrated, or release pent-up energy. Keep in mind that individual dogs have different needs. This happens when your dog doesn’t get enough exercise:

Weight Gain

Gaining weight is one of the earliest indicators that your pet needs more activity. If you’ve seen that your dog has put on some weight recently, it’s time to step up its exercise routine and get it moving more. 

However, you should also ensure you are not overfeeding your dog. You must consider both your activity level and the number of calories you consume when trying to put on extra weight. An ordinarily active pet can be overweight even if the owner does not monitor the overall number of calories consumed daily.

Discuss a diet and exercise routine with your pet’s vet to facilitate the process of weight loss for your companion. Bring a diet log and record of everything your pet eats with it when you visit the veterinarian. Discuss topics such as chews, table scraps, table food, and treats.

Destructive Behaviour

If your pet starts trashing things around the house or behaving naughty, it may be a sign that it needs more exercise and to go outside more often. The inability of your pet to communicate with you means that if they do not have a constructive outlet for their energy, such as walking, running, agility training, or swimming, they may misbehave.

Certain actions, such as chewing on shoes or furniture, eliminating in the home, getting into the trash, destroying goods in the household, or displaying an elevated level of hostility toward people or other pets, are indicators that you need to monitor closely. Increasing physical activity is a wonderful place to start when it comes to reducing these undesirable behaviors. 

Remember that your pet’s unwanted behavior might result from something other than the fact that it needs more exercise. A more fundamental issue, like dread or worry about being alone, is to a fault. Talk to your veterinarian about finding out what the underlying problem is.

Becoming Withdrawn

Some animals will become withdrawn when they aren’t getting enough mental or physical stimulation. This can happen to both cats and dogs. They won’t interact with you in any way. Perhaps they will curl up into a ball and lie down in the secluded area for the night. 

Your dog may be unhappy if it no longer races to the door in anticipation of a walk or acts bored when you enter the room. Another sign of depression in your dog is if it no longer plays with other animals. 

Anxiety and physical pain are two other factors that may contribute to withdrawal. Make an appointment with your veterinarian if you notice that your dog is exhibiting withdrawal symptoms. 

The veterinarian will be able to discover the reason for the behavior and provide assistance in bringing your pet back to its usual self. Hypothyroidism is to blame for certain dogs’ introverted behavior with their weight increase. Blood tests, on the other hand, make a diagnosis of this ailment relatively straightforward. This is a positive development.


On the other hand, if your dog does not receive enough exercise, it may behave in an excessively hyperactive manner when you take it outside. Because they are not familiar with it, they tend to be more hyperactive and difficult to control while going on walks. 

Suppose your dog gets overly enthusiastic whenever you take out his leash or when you are about to step out the door. This could indicate that it is restless and needs more physical activity. If this is the case, give it more opportunities to run around and play. Excessive pulling on the leash could indicate that your dog needs more exercise. 

Rewarding your dog when it walks nicely beside you and pays attention to you are both great ways to enhance your dog’s leash etiquette.

Stiffness or Lack of Endurance

If it has been a while since your dog has participated in regular exercise, it may develop stiff muscles and a lack of stamina. Pay close attention to your dog’s behavior, particularly if these symptoms continue and do not go away independently. 

There are a variety of ways that a dog will show signs that it is in discomfort. Immobility, unwillingness to move up and down stairs, and difficulty sleeping are some of the possible symptoms of dementia.

Please work with your veterinarian to identify the underlying cause of your dog’s reluctance to exercise and devise a strategy to get your dog back to his previous activity level as quickly as possible. Your veterinarian may prescribe that your pet get plenty of rest, take pain medication, or reduce their overall body mass.

Barking and Whining

When they aren’t getting enough to do, certain breeds of dogs will start to howl and bark. It attempts to capture your attention through the use of excessive noise a lot of the time. There is a good possibility that your dog is itching to go outside if he is also making circling motions with his body, clutching his leash, or racing toward the door.

The Importance of Daily Walks

It Gives Your Pup Much-Needed Socialization

Dogs must begin socialization at a young age. Dogs with adequate socialization by the age of 16 weeks tend to suffer from less anxiety and are less prone to engage in behavior motivated by fear. 

A puppy taken out on walks regularly is much more likely to feel at ease in its environment and have greater happiness. You should take your dog out for a walk every day so that it can hone its social skills.

Relieves Your Dog’s Stress and Anxiety

It’s common knowledge that dogs can get anxious about things. This problem becomes worse when you confine your dog indoors without access to any form of mental or physical stimulation. 

Take your dog on an exciting new journey daily to stave off destructive inclinations and prevent your dog from becoming bored. They can explore their surroundings and release their pent-up energy, which will help relieve stress if you take them on a long walk about the neighborhood.

It Provides the Perfect Opportunity for Training

Training your dog is essential, and there is no better opportunity than when you are out for a walk with them to work on some new abilities. Walks with your dog are an excellent opportunity to evaluate how well your pet has learned a new behavior because there are so many different sights, sounds, and odors to contend with. 

Walks are an excellent tool for training, and you may use everything from teaching your dog basic instructions like “sit” to ensuring that it responds when called.

It Offers a Healthy Dose of Mental Stimulation for Your Dog

Dog walking is a fantastic physical exercise; nevertheless, exploring vast fields and climbing hills delivers mental and favorable benefits. Your four-legged pal thrives on the attention and cares they receive from you, but it’s crucial to your pup’s happiness and health that they get a good workout for their brain. 

Engaging your canine best friend in activities such as following a scent, barking at wildlife, and crossing a rugged trail keeps their minds active and stimulated.

Prevents Obesity, Joint Problems, and Other Diseases

Puppies can best maintain their physical fitness by going on frequent walks. Walks are beneficial for preventing obesity in dogs and maintaining the health of their joints. 

Your dog should get enough exercise regularly to reduce his risk of acquiring common joint diseases such as arthritis and hip dysplasia. In addition to being beneficial for the cardiovascular system, regular walking has even reduced the risk of developing major diseases like cardiovascular disease.

Creates a Bond

Spending time walking with your dog and appreciating the natural beauty of the outdoors is a terrific way to strengthen the bond between you and your pet. Walking your dog offers you the chance to spend quality time with your pet in an unfamiliar setting, which will help you develop cherished memories for yourself and your mongrel. 

In addition, exposing yourself and your dog to new environments will assist you in better comprehending their “personality.”

Dog and owner bond

Reduces Your Own Risk of Disease

Dog walking doesn’t just benefit fur babies, but us too! Walking your dog can help lower your blood pressure and cholesterol and reduce the likelihood of acquiring type 2 diabetes. People who have pets have a lower risk of being fat compared to people who do not have pets. 

Studies have indicated that people who have dogs go to the doctor fewer times per year and are less likely to require cardiac medication or sleep aids than individuals who do not have pets.

Improves Your Mental Health

Walking your dog can enhance your mental health, easing symptoms of melancholy and stress and even helping people with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Dog walking is a great way to boost your mood as the exercise release serotonin and dopamine, making pet owners less prone to experience feelings of isolation.

Indoor Dog Exercises for Rainy Days


Ask your dog to retrieve a soft toy you’ve thrown for them. When that happens, take a piece of the toy and begin shaking it to remove the child’s mouth from it. Naturally, they may struggle, but ultimately you can relax your hold and let them escape. 

You must stop the game and try it again if they touch your hand with their teeth when they are too close. Warn them not to do this. They will quickly learn this crucial principle.

Keep in mind that this game:

  • Will motivate kids to have fun
  • Your dog will have more fun if you let them win more frequently than not.
  • If your dog is hesitant, playing games like tug-of-war with them will boost their confidence and offer them a wonderful workout!

Find the Treats

While your dog is watching you, scatter some treats like sliced carrots around the space. Help it locate the snacks by telling them to “Find the treats.” Throw up your hands and declare, “That’s all,” or “All gone,” once they discover and consume all. 

Once they have figured out the signs, they will quickly catch on, so hide treats when they are not around. Call them into the room, tell them to signal, “Find the treats,” and ask them to go on the hunt. When the game is over, signal with hand motions and the phrase, “That’s all.” The dog will adore it!

Teach Your Dog the Names of Their Toys

When you play tug of war, toss and retrieve, or any other game with your dog’s toys, name each one and repeat the names often to help them remember them. You may pair this lesson with the following game to further reinforce students understanding of the names:

Find Your Toys

Ask them to find certain toys in a large pile on the floor belonging to your dog. For instance, instruct your dog to “Fetch Blue Bear,” and when they do, reward them with a treat and lots of praise. If not, get Blue Bear and show it to them firsthand. Then return and place it on the stack while requesting “Fetch Blue Bear” once more. 

Continue doing this until they pick up Blue Bear and hand it to you. When they do, congratulate them and give them their reward. Then, while it watches you, bury Blue Bear beneath the other toys and command, “Fetch Blue Bear” once more. Help them learn to find the appropriate toy and bring it to you. 

Avoid getting distracted by a tug-of-war match while you are playing this activity, even though they might try it a few times. When you start a new game, you can eventually ask your dog to fetch a certain toy by name so that they don’t forget the name. 

This works for games like tug, toss and fetch, and other games. They will learn a lot of names since you should switch up their toys occasionally to prevent boredom—some dogs learn names more quickly than others. 

Put Your Toys Away

Both you and your dog will adore this game! Informing children that it is time to place their toys in the toy box will help them to learn what to do (or wherever you keep them). Then say, “Pick up ducky,” as you pick up a toy, and as you walk over to the toy box, say, “Drop ducky,” as you place the toy inside. 

Your dog will show a lot of interest. Once you’ve repeated this a few times, touch a toy on the ground and say, “Pick up (name),” after which you’ll bring the child to the toy box and say, “Drop (name).” Once they learn, you will be able to point to a toy and say, “Pick up (name),” followed by, “Drop (name) in the toy box,” while they are still learning. 

While learning the game, remember to have a small gift ready for them when they have placed the item in the toy box. Give your dog a special gift once they have mastered the game and can pick up and put away all of their toys while you sit back and observe.

Hide and Seek

Your dog must understand the command “Stay” to play this game. If not, you’ll need a helper to hold your pet while you hide in a different room. When you call them, they can be set free. Make a great deal out of them and praise them, or so they understand, you engage in playful interaction with them. 

If necessary, keep calling until they locate you. Work on the command “stay” as well. This is one of the most helpful commands your dog can learn, enabling the two of you to play hide and seek without assistance.

Chasing Bubbles

This is a terrific game to play when your dog wants to get some exercise and you’re not feeling well. As you relax in your easy chair or on your bed, use a child’s simple bubble solution and bubble maker to blast bubbles for your dog to pursue. 

Your dog will comprehend once you’ve performed this game with them a couple of times, which involves blowing bubbles, chasing after them, and breaking them with your hand. Like young children, bubbles enthrall the majority of dogs! Your dog can safely use a bubble solution that is safe for children.

Final Verdict

As a dog owner, you are now well-informed on how to care for your dog in the best way possible. This will include ways to exercise your dog. Besides, you will require all the resources you need for assistance. 

This may include a dog breed exercise chart to understand your dog’s exercise needs. This article provides you with all the basics and all that you need. However, if there is anything you need help understanding about your dog, feel free to consult your dog’s veterinarian for assistance.

Sharing is caring!

Photo of author


Project dedicated to support and help to improve Veterinary Medicine. Sharing information and raising discussions in the veterinary community.