How Often Should I Walk My Dog?

John Boyd

There is no set number of times you should walk your dog each day. It all depends on what your pet needs. Exercise is essential for keeping dogs physically and mentally healthy. It doesn’t matter how big or small your dog is, how old or how young; he needs daily exercise.

In case you’ve ever wondered, “how often should I walk my dog?” Here’s how often you should do it.

The Benefits Of Walking For Dogs

Let’s talk about why walks are so important. There’s no doubt your dog needs to poop and pee outside. But walks aren’t just for potty breaks!

Taking your dog for a walk keeps them healthy in several ways:

Your dog will burn extra calories and stay healthy if they exercise regularly.

When you’ve sat for a long time, do your legs get stiff? It’s the same with your dog’s joints; keeping them moving helps keep them healthy.

Every dog owner knows that when they go for a walk, they poop! Regular walks keep them healthy. Besides being beneficial to their health, peeing around the neighborhood serves as a means for dogs to communicate by smell.

Have you noticed anything about the above benefits of dog walks? It’s not just your dog who benefits! Walking your dog can help you lose weight, too (although you don’t have to pee on everything).

How Often Should You Walk Your Dog?

A dog generally benefits from 30 minutes to two hours of physical activity each day (source). The average weekly amount of walking is between 3.5 and 14 hours. It’s common for people to walk twice or three times a day. It can vary from dog to dog, and from day to day, how many and how long walks they take.

It’s hard to figure out how often to walk your dog beyond general bathroom needs. Get started with a gentle 30-minute walk. Start walking longer, or add a second walk during the day.

You can spice up your walk with other energy-burning activities when time is short or your dog’s energy is high. You can play fetch with your dog, play with another dog, or go for a quick run. Visit for more tips.

Dog walks vs. Potty Breaks

Perhaps you’re wondering if running around the yard for a potty break is good enough for your dog. Obviously, it depends on your dog. Most dogs like long walks because they get to see more of the world.

It’s also helpful for your dog’s mental health to take long walks. Some dogs get anxious or destructive when they don’t get enough exercise. Walking with your dog one-on-one can help deter attention-seeking behaviors like whining or barking. It’s also a meaningful way to bond with your pet.

Don’t forget to have fun walking your dog! It’s a fundamental part of dog companionship and one of the best things you can do for your dog.

Different Dogs Have Different Walking Needs

Consider your dog’s age, activity level, health, and breed when deciding how often to walk him. Dogs that are younger and have more energy benefit from more walks. Senior dogs with mobility issues, on the other hand, do fine with fewer walks.

The following breeds of dogs may benefit from more frequent walks:

  • Terriers
  • Border Collies and other herding breeds
  • Australian Shepherds
  • Labrador and Golden Retrievers

In contrast, less-active breeds may get by with just one or two walks a day:

  • Great Danes
  • Newfoundlands
  • Mastiffs
  • Greyhounds
  • Bulldogs

You’ll find that young dogs of any breed need more exercise than seniors. A dog with an injury or illness may not be able to walk as far. Make sure your dog gets an appropriate exercise plan from your vet.

The Best Time To Walk Your Dog

Are you wondering if walking your dog first thing in the morning is a good idea? What’s the last thing before bed? Before meals? Of course, there’s the age-old question: how soon after he eats should I walk my dog for optimum poop opportunities? Like I always say, it depends! Keeping your dog on a schedule is the most important thing. Routine is important to dogs.

An ideal dog walking schedule, according to veterinarian Michael W. Fox, is:

  • Before breakfast, take a short walk
  • Midday, another walk or potty break
  • Before dinner, go for a long walk or run
  • Just before bed, take another walk or potty break

A healthy dog can follow this routine for eating, exercising, and evacuating. Obviously, not every family can stick to this schedule! For most dogs, a long walk and a few short or potty breaks is fine.

Is there a definitive answer to the question, “How often should I walk my dog?” It would be best to walk your dog at least once a day, but preferably twice, excluding potty breaks.

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