How Much Exercise Does Your Pet Need?

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Whether you already own a dog or you're thinking of becoming a pet parent, considering how much exercise your furry friend will need is always something to be aware of.

Similar to people, the answer varies from dog to dog, with the amount of exercise necessary based on age, health, and breed.

Dogs at any age need regular exercise to grow strong, stay healthy and live long happy lives. Not only will your pup see great benefits from regular exercise, but so will you.

In fact, one study showed people who own dogs exercise 30 minutes more each week than people without dogs. 

If you want to ensure your dog is getting all the exercise he needs, follow the general guidelines below. 

If You Have a Puppy 

If you've just adopted a puppy, you're probably still getting used to all of his new sounds, quirks, and habits. You might even laugh when he catches a case of the zoomies, racing through the house like a mad dog before collapsing on his bed just as quickly as he began.

Puppies are known for having a lot of energy — even more than an adult dog. But one big difference is they wear out more quickly, needing frequent naps throughout the day. Because of this, puppies need several short exercise sessions each day, around five to 10 minutes each. 

Some great high-energy activities you can do with your puppy include: 

  • Walking
  • Jogging 
  • Swimming 
  • Playing Fetch 
  • Agility Training 

If you're unsure of the right exercise routine, talk to your vet about what is appropriate for your puppy.

Remember, as your puppy grows, you will begin to understand his body language better and know when he's ready for a nap or play time with a squeaky toy.

If You Have an Adult Dog 

When it comes to a healthy adult dog, the most significant indication of their activity level is breed. 

In general, active breeds need 60 to 90 minutes of exercise each day. This could include high-intensity activities like running, hiking or agility training.

You should look for activities that will stimulate your dog both physically and mentally. Dogs tend to thrive when working hard alongside their pet parent. 

Some of the most active dog breeds include: 

  • Corgis 
  • Dalmatians 
  • Siberian Huskies 
  • Border Collies 
  • Irish Setters 

Adult dogs who are a less active breed only require 30 to 60 minutes of exercise each day. This includes toy breeds like Yorkies and chihuahuas, but also giant breeds like Great Danes and Mastiffs.

A day's worth of activity could mean a slow walk around the neighborhood or even a light game of fetch in the backyard.

Your dog's health is important, so be sure to speak to your vet about any questions or concerns you may have. If your dog has a medical condition, such as arthritis or respiratory issues, ask about appropriate exercise activities to keep your dog both comfortable and healthy. 

If You Have a Senior Dog 

No matter the breed, keep in mind that a senior dog may not be able to run or fetch like he once did. You might even have to cut your walk routine down to just a few blocks. But regular exercise is just as important for senior dogs as it is for puppies. 

In general, a senior dog needs 30 to 60 minutes of exercise each day. Since long bouts of activities can be hard, try breaking the exercise down into two or more sessions throughout the day. 

Some low-impact exercises your senior dog will love include: 

  • Walking 
  • Swimming 
  • Scent Training 
  • Hide-and-Seek 
  • Hidden Treat Puzzles 

Remember always to observe your senior dog's behavior when exercising. As the owner, you know your dog's body language best and can judge when he's tired or uncomfortable. 

Start Your Dog Exercise Routine 

No matter your dog's age, breed or ability, exercise is essential. Without it, dogs can become bored and unhealthy. 

One of the most common issues to arise when dogs aren't getting enough exercise is destructive behavior, like chewing shoes or going to the bathroom inside.

Inactive dogs are also prone to losing muscle mass and gaining weight. This can lead to further complications like arthritis, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.

If you don't have an exercise routine in place, set one in motion with your furry friend. Start slowly and then work your way up to longer walks around town or a hike through the woods.

Don't forget that mental stimulation — games and obedience training — is just as important as physical exercise.

Make it a family affair and get everyone involved. Or on the days you don't have time to give your dog the exercise he needs, hire a local dog sitter to take him for a mid-day walk.

Once you begin implementing daily exercise into you and your pup's routine, you'll start to see all the great benefits. 

Keep Your Pet Active and Safe Year-Round

Exercise can mean injuries, and injuries can mean vet bills.  Looking for the safest way to exercise with your pet?  Consider taking out a pet insurance policy. 

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Nothing in this article should be construed as financial, legal or veterinary advice. Please consult your own advisors for questions relating to your and your pet’s specific circumstances.

1 Pet Insurance offered by MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is underwritten by Independence American Insurance Company (“IAIC”), a Delaware insurance company, headquartered at 485 Madison Avenue, NY, NY 10022, and Metropolitan General Insurance Company (“MetGen”), a Rhode Island insurance company, headquartered at 700 Quaker Lane, Warwick, RI 02886, in those states where MetGen’s policies are available. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is the policy administrator authorized by IAIC and MetGen to offer and administer pet insurance policies. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC was previously known as PetFirst Healthcare, LLC and in some states continues to operate under that name pending approval of its application for a name change. The entity may operate under an alternate, assumed, and/or fictitious name in certain jurisdictions as approved, including MetLife Pet Insurance Services LLC (New York and Minnesota), MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions Agency LLC (Illinois), and such other alternate, assumed, or fictitious names approved by certain jurisdictions.
 
2 Provided all terms of the policy are met. Application is subject to underwriting review and approval. Like most insurance policies, insurance policies issued by IAIC and MetGen contain certain deductibles, co-insurance, exclusions, exceptions, reductions, limitations, and terms for keeping them in force. For costs, complete details of coverage and exclusions, and a listing of approved states, please contact MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC.