Exercise Habits for Pets

How much exercise does a dog need every day?

Here’s the thing, life can sometimes get busy and schedules cramped, which can turn that question into “How much exercise does a dog need anyway?”

The short answer: about 30 minutes a day. However, exercising your dog for longer would be ideal. So here are some healthy exercise habits for pets.

Exercise Habits for Pets

What Kind of Exercise Habits for Pets are best?

Dogs and cats are full of energy, which needs to go somewhere to avoid behavioral problems. However, no two animals – even of the same breed – are precisely the same, so determining your pet’s unique exercise needs may require some trial and error. 

The amount of exercise dogs need each day depends on their breed and stage of development. Here are some guidelines to help you formulate your puppy’s ideal exercise schedule.

  • 2 to 3 months old: 10 to 30 minutes per day
  • 3 to 6 months old: 30 minutes to 1 hour per day
  • 6 months to 1 year old: 1 hour or more (depending on breed and overall health)
  • After the age of 1 year: 1 to 2 hours of exercise a day or more (depending on breed and overall health)

Your dog’s breed plays a large part in their natural energy levels and exercise needs. However, you’ll find that working breeds will need significantly more exercise and mental stimulation to keep healthy.

Dogs can engage in various exercises, including walking, jogging, swimming, and running alongside your bike. You can also enroll your pooch in many exciting dog sports, like agility training and canine freestyle. Do some research to find a sport that’s right for your dog and look for classes in your area. Let’s explore some more exercise habits for pets.

Ideally, it would help if you exercise your dog first thing in the morning before their first meal. If your dog prefers breakfast first, wait at least one hour before taking them on a walk or a run. Understandably, it’s a difficult time of day to give your dog that much time and attention, but it might be just what your pooch needs. Evenings are also a great time for some outdoor activity as it’ll be easier for your dog to keep cool. A short activity like tug-of-war before bed can also help increase the number of calorie-burning activities they engage in a day. 

In all activities, watch out for signs of exhaustion such as heavy panting, disorientation, or stopping to lie down. Heat exhaustion is also a cause of concern. Avoid outdoor activities on hot days, and ensure your pet has access to cool water at all times. 

Not Just Potty Breaks: The Importance of Exercise

Walking is generally the best exercise for your pet. It’s the most natural thing in the world for humans and animals alike. Every dog needs regular, consistent exercise regardless of age, breed, or size. 

And so do cats! Exercise is essential to keep every animal healthy, and your furry feline is no exception. Yes, your cat is probably content to just lay on the couch for most of the day, but getting her on a leash and taking her on a walk is great for her physical and mental health.

Tip from a vet: It is possible to overexercise your dog, especially in puppyhood, leading to long-term bone and joint health impacts. Please take into account that most dog breeds aren’t finished developing until they’re about 18 months of age, so it’s best to avoid impact exercises like climbing or jumping until then. On that note, don’t go for high-intensity activities or engage in long exercise sessions like jogging or hiking until your pup has matured.

Contact Hebron Veterinary Hospital 

Contact us at (860) 228-4324 or visit our contact page to learn more about healthy exercise habits for pets. Also, call us if it’s time for your pet’s regular wellness or preventative care visit.