How Often Should You Walk Your Dog?

beagle puppy on a leash walking on grassYour dog needs to be walked every day, multiple times, to get enough exercise and to go potty. At a minimum, your dog should be walked for at least 15 minutes twice a day. You will likely need to walk your dog more than that to keep them happy and healthy. 3 -5 walks a day is usually an optimal range. Several factors go into how often you should walk your dog, like size, age, energy level, overall health, and more.

Size

Smaller dogs often have smaller bladders, which means they will need to be taken out more often. Smaller dog breeds also often get tired more easily, so they are better suited to short walks 3-5 times a day or more, if needed.

This is often plenty to help them get enough exercise. Larger dogs may not need to go potty as often as smaller dogs, but they need multiple walks for the exercise to maintain a healthy weight and muscle tone.

Age

Age plays a factor in how often your dog needs to go out as well. Young puppies and older dogs will need to go to the bathroom more often. For the first few months, your puppy will need to go out several times a day. As your dog enters senior status, they may also need to go out several times a day to potty.

Both puppies and senior dogs may have short bursts of activity, but likely need to be monitored to avoid overexertion. Puppies are still developing and senior dogs may be dealing with arthritis or other health issues that slow them down.

Energy Level

Because walks are important for exercise and the physical health of your dog, energy level can make a big difference in how often you should walk your dog. A low energy dog will likely be happy with a couple of walks a day and plenty of time to relax. A high energy dog will need a lot more activity.

15 minutes, twice a day, will not be enough for moderate or high energy dog breeds. They will need longer walks, more often, in addition to other activities. As the saying goes, a tired dog is a happy dog. A dog that is bored or does not get enough attention or exercise often chews, digs, or exhibits other destructive behaviors.

Overall Health

The overall health of your dog also affects how often you will need to walk them. Healthy dogs with a balanced or low residue diet will generally be fine with a few walks a day. If your dog is working through a health issue, they may need to go out more often or, if advised by the vet, may need to stay inside or have their movement limited.

How often your dog needs to go out can also be an indication that something is wrong. If they are drastically straying from their normal range, it’s a likely sign that something is wrong and you should take your dog to the vet.

Walking routines will vary from dog to dog and owner to owner. Finding the right balance for you and your dog will ensure they get plenty of exercise and stay happy and healthy.