How Often Do You Walk Your Dog?

Dogs need walking sessions for their exercise, potty breaks, and socialization. The question is, how often do you walk your dog? Let’s take a look into how many times you should walk your pet, along with importance, factors, and tips on taking out your canine friend for walks.

How Often Do You Walk Your Dog?

Ideally, you should take your dog on a walk 3 to 4 times a day, lasting 15 minutes each session. You can schedule walks before breakfast, at midday, and before dinner. However, you can modify this depending on your pet’s breed, size, eating habits, physical condition, and even your time.

With that said, let’s go deeper into how many times you should walk your pooch, along with factors to consider when creating an exciting walk routine that can give several health benefits to your pet.

Man walking his dog in a park

Importance of Walking Your Dog

Walking your dog 3 to 4 times a day has several benefits, especially for behavior, health, and overall well-being.

  • Improved behavior: Dogs have a lot of downtime at home, which means they may have pent-up energy that they need to release eventually. Taking out pets to walk every day can prevent them from being restless, uncooperative, and demanding attention.
  • Weight control: Even dogs need an exercise regimen to keep their weight in check. This is why having at least 3 walks per day can help them burn calories and maintain a healthy weight. 
  • Joint health: Keeping dogs in motion prevents stiff joints, ensuring their bones are strong enough to prevent bone problems like arthritis.
  • Digestive and urinary health: Physical movement also encourages good blood flow, which helps dogs digest food quickly. In effect, dogs who have regular walks won’t have problems with pooping.
  • Socialization: Walks serve as another learning experience for dogs. Letting your pet see other dogs or people allows it to feel comfortable with the outside environment. As a result, your pet can learn how not to be hyperactive or defensive around others.  

Frequency of Walks According to a Dog’s Breed and Size 

Small breeds like Terrier, Chihuahua, Poodle, Pug, and Bulldog have cheerful personalities, yet they are less active in general. Hence, avoid challenging and intense walks. Instead, go for 15-minute casual walks in the neighborhood twice or thrice a day.

Medium-sized pooches such as Basset Hound, Australian Cattle Dog, Chow-Chow, Whippet, and Boxer can withstand 40 to 80 minutes of walking a day, which you can divide into 3 to 5 sessions. You can also try nature hikes if you have a working, sporting, or hunting dog.

Meanwhile, you can combine walking and running for bigger breeds with high-energy levels, including Australian Shepherd, Border Collie, Labrador Retriever, Weimaraner, and Siberian Husky. Such breeds can tolerate 30 to 120 minutes of walking, which you can split into 4 sessions.

Walking Considerations Due to Medical Conditions 

As an owner, it’s crucial to take note of your pet’s physical limitations, especially if there are medical conditions. This is why it’s vital to take your dog to regular veterinary checkups to determine potential problems.

For example, short-nosed breeds like Bulldogs and Boston Terriers have respiratory risks. Meanwhile, tiny dogs with less fur can suffer from body overheat and breathing problems.

In such cases, you may need to reduce your walking time and add mental games to prevent your dog from feeling too tired.

Woman walking her dog on a street

Creating a Walk Routine for Your Dog

Dogs thrive in routine, so try to stick to a walking pattern that would work for both of you. For example, start with a short morning walk before breakfast. If your time permits, you can also bring your dog out midday and then a long walk before dinner.

Even people get health benefits from walking dogs. Aside from forming a stronger bond, about 34% of people achieve a higher physical activity rate than non-dog owners by spending at least 150 minutes of weekly walks.

Thus, if it’s impossible for your schedule to follow the suggested 3 to 4 walks per day, you can also set a morning and evening walk, lasting for 30 minutes each.

Tips on Walking Your Dog

About 55% of dogs in America are either obese or overweight. Dogs can also suffer from medical consequences if they don’t take 3 to 4 walks per day. So, these are walking tips you can try to prevent your pet from experiencing such conditions.

  • Vary your walking patterns: Create interesting routines by changing pace. Walk at a normal rate for 60 seconds, speed-walk for 30 seconds, then walk normally again. You can also stimulate your dog’s energy by throwing balls or playing fetch.
  • Use a leash or harness: Putting a leash or harness on your pet ensures safety for both of you. In this way, you can walk side by side, and your dog will learn to wait for permission if it wants to go potty.
  • Consider the season: Dogs may feel agitated in certain weather conditions. Allow your pet to take time getting used to wearing high-visibility jackets during winter or boots for the summer months.
  • Bring important items: You can use a collar and tag if your pet doesn’t have a microchip. Additionally, always bring a bottle of water and waste bags.

Related Questions

Let me go over some related questions about how often you should walk your dog.

Why Doesn’t My Dog Like Walking?

Not all dogs enjoy walking, especially if they have varying activity needs and poor physical conditions. It’s also possible that your dog doesn’t like walking due to obstacles on the road, anxiety around strangers, or even the weather.

How Often Should My Dog Urinate?

On average, adult dogs should pee at least 3 to 5 times a day. Small and younger breeds usually need to urinate more frequently than older and larger dogs. This is why you can set daily walks as potty times as well.

Conclusion

It’s ideal to take your dog on 15-minute walks at least 3 to 4 times a day. Adjust this according to your pooch’s breed, age, size, activity level, medical condition, eating habits, and schedule. What’s essential is that daily walks can boost your pet’s health and bond with you.

Categories Dog

Doctor Joe Alcorn received his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from Colorado State University in 1981, and founded Care Animal Hospital in 1991 in Temecula, California. He is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association.