How Often Should You Walk Your Dog?
Can a dog be over-exercised or over-walked? What about puppies? This week, we take a look at the importance of walking your dog and how to keep your puppy safe when you’re strolling the streets.
Dogs of different ages and different breeds need to be exercised accordingly. It is extremely important, before purchasing any purebred or cross-breed, to examine the energy traits of the particular dog. Some breeds are extremely high energy and require a lot more exercise than a lot first-time owners might expect and will expect a good dose of exercise to keep them happy and out of trouble. And then at the other end of the spectrum you will find other dogs are much more partial to lazing about on a warm winter’s day. It all comes down to which breed you choose, but generally, bigger dogs require more exercise.
How Often Should I Walk My Dog?
All dogs, regardless of their age, breed or size should be walked regularly on-leash. Most dogs require at least one daily walk per day.
On-leash walking can help provide your pet with leadership and a sense of security – AKA my human’s got this! It also makes vet visits much easier and allows you and your dog to bond and work in harmony. Training and on-leash walking allow you and your dog to share the same language.
If you are having trouble walking your dog on-leash, consider enlisting the help from a professional dog handler or obedience training professional.
How Long Should I Walk My Dog?
This will depend on your dog’s age and breed.
Highly energetic dogs may require a good hour of exercise per day. This can be broken into two 30 minute sessions. As a general rule a 30minute brisk walk in the morning, followed by a good off-leash run in the evening.
For non-working/herding breeds – a decent 30min run or walk would be sufficient to keep your dog happy, alongside some daily training sessions.
For smaller breeds a good play session or short walk, daily, is enough to keep them energized and healthy.
Care must be taken with puppies and older dogs. A pup should not be over-exercised. Short play and training sessions are advised for all young dogs.
For our golden oldies – restricting long runs and any form of jumping is advised. Go easy and note after each walking session how your dog is feeling. Are they stiff the next day? Or do they seem sluggish? If so, reduce the walk until your pet is at a suitable walking pace and level.
If you suspect your dog is in pain after any exercise, or is having difficulty lying down or getting up, or is starting to lick their joints, seek veterinary advice.
When Can I Start Walking Your Puppy?
With the recent COVID pet boom, we’ve been getting a lot of people asking ‘when can I take my puppy for a walk?’. Puppies need to have a gradual introduction to the outside world. Before your pup has had all its vaccinations, it can’t go for walks on its own. If you carry your pup, supervise where it goes, and clean up any messes (a good idea even after that), then you can walk your pup when it’s about 6 weeks old (though some breeds take longer).
If your pup is too young to go for walks alone, consider a small puppy playpen that you can put up near your home. Because their little legs are so weak, puppies can easily hurt themselves and get badly injured if they run around in the yard or neighbourhood.
Before even thinking about walking a puppy, keep in mind that puppies need a lot of exercise, and not so much walking. Beginners who drive places every day can start walking their puppy at the age of 6 weeks, because the pup will soon be able to accompany you on a short car ride. For more information, check out our article on how much exercise puppies need.
A quick word about puppies that are not housebroke. When you first bring your pup home, it will probably be very scared of everything and everyone. It may even try to bite or snap at people or dogs it sees. This is normal behaviour for puppies and will pass quickly as the pup gets used to being around adults and other pets.
Can You Walk A Dog Too Much?
It is strongly advised, particularly for puppies, older dogs and giant breeds, not to over-exercise.
Do your homework and research on the exercise levels for each individual breed. Some breeds make the perfect jogging and adventure companions, while others do not.
Pups need extra care when exercising until they are fully grown to protect fast growing joints. Never over-exercise or over-walk your pet and learn the warning signs on when to stop.
A puppy needs a lot of sleep to grow into a well-rounded dog. If they become tired, pop them into a secure location like a crate or pen area so they can sleep undisturbed. It’s important with exercise to go with your pup’s pace. If they are looking tired, do not push them to keep walking or exercising.
Puppies should not be off-leash or walking in public spaces until after their last vaccination. For socialisation consider safer environments such as a puppy-preschool.
If your pet is showing signs of exhaustion stop immediately. It’s also a good idea to check the pavement before walking! If it is too hot for the back of your hand…it is too hot for your dog’s sensitive pads.
Giant breeds, such as Great Danes, should not be over-exerted, particularly during puppy-hood. It can cause damage to their large fast-growing joints that may lead to possible debilitating conditions later in life. Consult your breeder on the right amount of exercise for giant breeds.
Having pet insurance from puppy-hood may help with the costs if your pup or dog is injured.
What About Pet Insurance?
Over-exercising and over-walking may lead to joint problems, arthritis and other issues such as damaged pads and nails.
With pet insurance you could save up to 80% on eligible vet costs, depending on the type of cover, limits, exclusions and pre-existing conditions.
Routine Care Cover, is included in our Major Medical pet insurance plan for pet insurance for dogs and can assist towards the basic care essential to your pet’s everyday treatments and costs, with no excess. You should refer to the Product Disclosure Statement for further information.
When it comes to pet insurance there are some very important things to consider. One of the biggest things to consider are; pre-existing conditions. If any symptoms or signs of a condition occur in any form prior to you taking out your policy or during the applicable waiting period, then it will be considered to be a pre-existing condition and will not be covered by your policy.
For example; if your pet was treated for a joint condition before you took out your pet insurance policy, any joint issues would be considered ‘pre-existing’ meaning that for the duration of your policy you would not be able to claim for anything joint related.
Signing up to pet insurance during puppy-hood may minimise the number of conditions which are considered pre-existing conditions and help ensure your pet is protected.
Please note any advice is general only and has not taken into account your objectives, financial situation or needs and may not be right for you. Please read the PDS to decide if this product is right for you.