Every dog needs exercise, but not all dogs need the same amount of exercise. Breed, age, size, and health all play a role. For more about high-energy breeds, check The Right Amount of Exercise for Fido’s Breed, Part One. Let’s take a look at the lifestyle and exercise levels every doggo needs, according to their age.
From puppies with the zoomies, to adult dogs who “squirrel!” to senior dogs who still make their way around the block in their own time, every dog needs regular exercise. Age plays a significant role. Not only does the amount of exercise matter, but the type of exercise. For some, the timing of exercise is also critical for a healthy canine companion.
Puppy love. It can often seem like puppies regulate their own exercise regimen. They have endless stores of energy that show up in bursts of running, exploring, chewing on things, and generally looking for trouble. The thing is, puppies also need lots of rest periods. Long walks or strenuous hikes just aren’t good for growing bodies. Puppies need us to let them rest when they need naps and quiet time. Then capitalize on their natural rhythms, by playing when they are awake and ready. Playtime outdoors is always a great choice if the weather is right and there’s a safe, enclosed area. Socializing is imperative for young dogs, so be sure their vaccinations are up to date and get them to the dog park or doggy daycare as often as possible. This is also a great time to use fun training games to teach our little fur baby manners, tricks, and get them accustomed to life with the family.
Adult canine companions. Of course, the breed matters, but the exercise needs for adults versus puppies will also vary by breed. In general, the best base level for all adult doggos is 30 minutes to two hours of activity. That doesn’t mean slowly walking around the block for 20-minutes and rounding up to 30- minutes. For those of us who like to cut corners because we have kids, a full-time job, and a million other life things that come before our pup’s need for movement, it might be worth considering doggy daycare for a few days a week. We can also think about hiring a dog walker. If we have kiddos in the neighborhood that we trust, we can ask them to help out, as long as they know how to walk a dog and are big enough to handle our canine companion if he suddenly breaks into a full-out run to get that squirrel who was mocking him. For many of us, walking with our dog can be a great way to get exercise for ourselves as well. It’s also a great way to relax and enjoy the moment, the way our dogs do. Plus, exercise doesn’t always mean going outside for walks. We play games, have fun training sessions, and even enjoy a little indoor fetch if the ball and wagging tails won’t break anything.
Senior doggos. Watching our dogs grow older, turn gray, and begin to experience joint pain, or other senior-related maladies can be a tough road. Most of them still love walks, hikes, fetch, and more, but they can’t play and run like they used to. Even though their mobility may begin to decline, they still need exercise, and there’s a lot we can do for them. Being sure we are consistent about exercise every single day is just as important as ever. It keeps their muscles strong and their joints lubricated. Missing days can lead to more stiffness that can make it seem like they need less exercise. They may need to be monitored more carefully, but most senior dogs do still need consistent exercise to keep them strong and healthy. Many guardians will break up exercise into two short walks a day instead of one long one. That option can relieve some of the pain, keep them mobile, and minimize risks of injury. Swimming is a fantastic option for those who love the water, especially if the water is warm. Not all dogs naturally know how to swim, so introduce Fido to water early on, or take some time to share closely supervised water experiences with him, so he doesn’t overexert his senior body trying to learn how to swim. On days when he just can’t get outside, keep in mind there are loads of games out there that are designed to keep Fido’s mind happy and engaged. They’re also a great way to spend time together and continue bonding. Bonding is still vital for senior dogs since they are often not taken out as much and can be overlooked when it comes to getting the attention they are used to.
Not everyone remembers to take into account the effects of quality nutrition for dogs and their health as they age. Dogs who have access to the right vitamins and nutrients throughout their life, are stronger, live longer, and and are less prone to disease. EcoEats is one of the best ways to get the right nutrients to our pups. The best part is that it’s perfect for all life stages because it’s as close to a whole food diet as you can get without big grocery bills, the food prep, and the mess. Try EcoEats for a healthier pup.
Remember that breed, discussed in Part One is a significant factor, but age is also incredibly important. Age will help Fido’s fur-family decide what types of activities he needs, how much exercise each day, and when to play indoor games or choosing a long hike. Age and breed aren’t everything. Watch for the next installment in this series where we discuss size, health, and lifestyle. For surprising answers to the role of size and exercise, check out Part Three in this series.
Further Reading :
- “How To Provide Your Senior Dog With Proper Exercise” American Kennel Club (AKC)
- “How Much Exercise Does My Puppy Need?” Animal Planet
- “Exercising Your Dog 101” PetMD