It goes without saying that all dogs need some time outdoors every day. At the bare minimum, they need a chance to do their business. Outdoor time is also an opportunity for dogs to sniff, explore, exercise, and enjoy themselves.
But even if you live in a home with a fenced yard and can just open the door and let your dog out, going on regular walks with your dog is still important. If you’re wondering “Just how long should I walk my dog for?” then read on to find out why walking with your dog is so beneficial and how many minutes your dog walk should be.
Why should you walk your dog?
For starters, walking gives dogs the same health benefits seen in humans: it keeps weight in check, improves circulation and cardiovascular health, protects the joints and eases joint pain, and more. It’s simple but effective exercise that helps keep your dog young and vital.
Walking (and other forms of exercise) are also important for your dog’s mental health and mood. Dogs that are cooped up and don’t have the chance to move or play can become depressed, moody, anxious, and bored. Boredom, in particular, can lead to misbehavior like destructive digging or chewing, excessive whining and barking, accidents in the house, and other undesirable behaviors. Daily walks are an easy way to help combat boredom and you’re your dog’s behavior in check.
Walking gives your dog plenty of mental exercise, too. While it may seem like a simple walk to us, our dogs are learning a lot about the environment and the world as they sniff and smell everything they come across.
Finally, walks with your dog are an excellent way to strengthen the dog-owner bond. Letting your dog run around and explore the yard may give them the exercise and mental stimulation they need, but nothing replaces a walk. Walking together is quality time for the two of you that your dog loves. And when you instill good walking behaviors in your dog, it helps reinforce your role as the leader.
Finding the right dog leash & harness
Part of a successful walk with your dog is having the right equipment. Whether you’re looking for nylon, chain, rope, NFL/NBA/NCAA/MLB, personalized dog leashes, or something else, you can find just the right leash (or collar or harness) to suit you and your dog on Hot Dog Collars.
The EZ grip dog leash is especially easy to use. The 5-foot-long polyester braid leash is designed with a padded handle to improve grip and be more comfortable on longer walks.
What if you’re walking more than one dog at a time? No problem! Use a coupler dog leash to attach two or three dogs on a single leash. This not only makes it easier for you, with just one leash to control, but keeps the dogs from getting tangled in long leashes and walking off in different directions.
Different dogs require different amounts of walking and exercise
Dogs need somewhere between 30 minutes and 2 hours of exercise a day. This time can include both walks and unstructured playtime like running with other dogs in the dog park or playing fetch with you in the backyard.
If you were hoping for a more straightforward answer, unfortunately you won’t find one since how much exercise does a dog need and the ideal length of time to walk your dog depend on things like breed, age, and health.
Working breeds that were bred for a high-activity lifestyle need more exercise and longer walks, while lap dogs that were bred for companionship need less. Some breeds that are famously low-energy like English Bulldogs can thrive on just 20-45 minutes of exercise. Huskies, on the other hand, were bred to work and have great stamina, and benefit from two hours of exercise a day.
Age and health have a big impact on your dog’s exercise needs, too. Puppies can get tired out, so skip the long walks and keep them to about 10-minutes each, with plenty of other opportunities for exercise and play. Likewise, older dogs with health conditions that affect their joints like arthritis benefit a lot from the exercise but too much can actually make their condition worse. Try 20-minute walks but keep an eye out for unusual signs of discomfort from your dog, which are a signal to slow down the pace or cut the walk short.
Find the ideal length of time to walk your dog that fits your schedule and addresses your dog’s exercise needs. If your dog slows down towards the middle or end of the walk, that’s a sign that the walk is a little too long; if they’re still bouncing off the walls when you get home, that’s a sign they have more energy to burn and could walk longer.
How long should I walk my dog?
If you’re not regularly walking your dog now, it’s an easy and fun habit to start. A 20-minute walk once or twice a day is a good rule of thumb for healthy adult dogs. At the very least, aim for one 10-minute walk with your dog a day (preferably in the morning), and increase the number of walks in a day, the length of each walk, or both, as long as your dog seems to be enjoying it. You’ll know they’re up for a walk when you jangle the leash and they come running! It’s a great opportunity to give your dog the exercise they need and to strengthen your bond, too.