“I have a big garden so I don’t need to walk my dog” Have you ever heard that somewhere? So have we! However, daily walks are important to ensure your dog’s health and well-being. For example, would you like to stay locked up all day at home? The answer will surely be no. What is the ideal length of walks? How often should a dog be walked? We tell you all about it!
Why is walking important for dogs?
As we now know, having a large garden does not mean you don’t have to walk your dog every day. But why is walking so important?
It stimulates him physically: your dog needs regular physical activity to exercise himself but also to avoid any problem with his joints or being overweight.
It stimulates him mentally: indeed, the walk meets his olfactory needs (link). Your dog has a great need to use his nose, to sniff, to smell new smells… it’s even a vital need for him. This is why it is also important to regularly change the location of walks so that the dog smells new smells!
It meets his social needs: More than ever, we can imagine the effects of isolation on mental health. It’s the same for your dog! He needs to see other dogs and / or people to be fully fulfilled.
How many times a day should you take your dog out?
There is no set rule, because to tell the truth it also depends on your schedule. However, it should be borne in mind that when the dog is alone at home, he spends a good part of the day sleeping or being bored (and therefore sometimes he does something stupid)
Ideally, your dog should go outside at least three times a day. In the morning before going to work, at noon and in the evening before bedtime. At this frequency, your dog’s day is more rhythmic since he goes out about every four hours and this allows him to break the boredom. If you have the opportunity to take it out more, that’s even better!
The duration of daily activities depends on the size and age of the dog
In general, small dogs have less need to exert themselves than large dogs. Remember that a Pug will need less physical activity than a Shiba or a Labrador for example.
However, let’s not make a generalisation because it varies greatly from one breed to another, for example, the Jack Russell is a small dog that needs a lot of physical activity. Do not hesitate to contact your veterinarian to find out the ideal duration of daily activity.
We will remember all the same that the bare minimum is at least thirty minutes a day. Some breeds even need two hours of daily walks. Learn about these needs before adopting a dog.
Pay attention to the needs of your dog according to his age
A large dog is considered “old” around 5 years old, unlike small dogs which are considered “old” around 10 years old. It is therefore important to take this factor into account when taking your furry friend out. Indeed, an older dog will generally need shorter walks than a younger dog.
Also note that puppies are tired more quickly and that it will be necessary to take care to spare them in order to avoid any problem afterwards.
Good to know
To find out the ideal duration of physical activity for your puppy: multiply his age in months by 5. For example, if your puppy is 3 months old, he will need 15 minutes of activity a day. At four months, he will need 20 minutes of activity. At 5 months, 25 minutes, etc.
What happens when a dog doesn’t exercise enough?
When your dog does not get enough exercise, he is bored and very often becomes overweight (link) and has behavioural problems. He barks for no reason, eats your shoes, makes holes in the garden, runs away, etc. He will tend to do anything and everything to occupy his time and get your attention.
Is opening the garden gate enough?
The answer is definitely no. Even if we all agree that it is better (as far as possible) to let your dog spend his day outside, leaving him in the garden is not enough for him to exert himself and meet his social needs. The daily walk therefore remains an imperative to help your dog feel completely fulfilled and happy.
What about you? How much time do you spend on going for walks? We look forward to reading your comments.