How Much Exercise Does a Dog Need?

As a dog parent, you do everything possible to keep your pet healthy and strong. A big part of keeping your furry friend healthy is making sure he gets ample exercise regularly. 

It’s sometimes difficult to know how much exercise a dog needs and what kind. With this guide, I hope to give you all the information you need so you can ensure your dog moves his body enough and stays healthy and strong for life. 

How to Make Dog Exercise a Priority When You Live a Busy Life

Finding time to exercise is difficult for your busy schedule. How can you possibly find time to fit in exercise for your dog too? Before I delve too deeply into how much exercise your dog needs, I want to help you learn how to squeeze in this time for your pet. 

The following are some of the key ways you can ensure your dog gets exercise, even if your schedule is way too busy. 

Dog Walker

Woman walking dog.

Hiring a dog walker is one of the easiest ways to make sure your dog gets exercise. Dog walkers can come out once or even more during the day, according to your dog’s needs. A 20-30 minute walk is just what the vet ordered for your precious pooch. 

Dog Toys

Dog toys are another investment that can help your dog get the exercise he needs regularly. Some dog toys are meant to help your dog get exercise in a fun way, such as ball launchers. 

Dog Daycare

If you work long hours, putting your dog in daycare may be the perfect solution. Not only will he enjoy the socialization, but you can also rest assured he will receive the exercise time he needs daily. 

Exercise Together

As humans, we need exercise just as much as dogs. Why not combine his needs and your own and work out together? Enjoy a swim, walk, or tumble time. You may find exercise a lot more fun when working out with your dog. 

Woman and dog running by beach.

Dog Exercise Time Based on Age

Many vets base the amount of exercise a dog needs on his age. From puppy to adult, a dog’s exercise needs change as he grows older. With this information, you will be informed about your dog’s needs so you can ensure you are scheduling him enough time daily.


Puppies seem to have a lot of energy but they also tire easily. Most vets recommend a pup gets exercise twice a day. You should start out with five minutes per month of age. For instance, a dog that is eight weeks old will only need ten minutes of exercise twice a day. 

Once your pup is fully grown, you can begin increasing his exercise time. Good exercises for puppies include swimming, short walks, playtime with toys, and fetch. 


Although adult dogs do not require as much care as puppies, they still need plenty of exercises each day. Your adult dog needs exercise twice a day. He should get between 30 minutes to 2 hours a day. 

Take your dog for a fun hike. Schedule play dates with other dogs. Play a fun game of fetch. Do something your dog and you both enjoy. Your dog should get enough exercise to make him want to sleep at the end of the day. 


As dog’s age, just like people, they tend to slow down dramatically. Your senior dog still needs exercise, but the time should be reduced. You should go at a much slower pace on walks, especially if your senior dog has joint problems. 

Swimming is one of the best and most effective ways to exercise an elderly dog. While in the water, your dog is weightless and will not experience any pain in his joints. 

Make sure your dog always wears a flotation device when in the water. You will be surprised at how much exercise your aging dog will get when he is in the pool. 

Dog Exercise Time Based on Breed

Just like all people are different, so are dogs. Dog breeds are different and need varying lengths and types of exercise. You should research your dog’s breed and talk with your vet to learn more about how often he needs exercise. 

Small Breeds

Small breeds include Chihuahuas, Yorkshire Terriers, and Poodles. Generally, smaller breeds are much less active than larger breeds and require less exercise each day. 

Giant Breeds

Giant breeds include Newfoundlands, Mastiffs, and Great Danes. Despite their massive size, you may be surprised to learn these giant breeds are generally more lethargic. Although their activity levels are lower, they still need daily exercise. 

Active Breeds

Active breeds include Scent Hounds, Terriers, and Shepherds. These dogs need a lot of activity because of their high energy levels. You can expect these breeds to need between 60-90 minutes of exercise a day. 

Flat-Nosed Breeds

Flat-nosed breeds include Bulldogs, Shih Tzus, and Pugs. This breed, because of the anatomy of their noses, finds it more difficult to breathe. Because of their breathing difficulties, these dogs need to exercise at a slower pace than some other breeds. 

Active Dogs Live Longer, Healthier Lives

How much exercise your dog needs will depend on many factors, including his age, breed, and health. 

Active dogs are healthy dogs and are more likely to live long lives. You should start exercising your pup as soon as he is around two months old. Exercise needs to continue throughout your dog’s life, even when he becomes a senior. 

Even if you live in a small apartment, there is no reason you can’t provide your dog with exercise opportunities. There are plenty of options for dog exercise. Consider the following tips. 

Prevent You and Your Dog From Getting Bored

Dog pulling a rope.

Walking your dog is one of the easiest and most beneficial exercises for your pet, but a walk can sometimes get boring, especially if you walk the same route each time. Thankfully, there are ways you can switch things up and prevent boredom for you and your dog. 

Take your dog to a dog park, the local park, the beach, or even the forest. Changing the location and length of the walk frequently will keep you and your dog interested in exercise. The following tips should also help dispel boredom.

  • Offer fun treats along the way. 
  • Use interactive toys that pique your dog’s interest.
  • Play tug of war with your dog regularly. 
  • Make it a playdate. 
  • Combine training with exercise. 

Off-Leash Fun In Safe Areas

Whether in the backyard or in a public off-leash play area, allowing your dog to roam freely will often pique his interest and make him want to exercise more. 

I highly recommend getting an invisible dog fence for your backyard. With an invisible dog fence, you can ensure your dog gets plenty of exercises just from running around and playing in your yard. 

Three Non-Walk Ways to Exercise Your Dog

While walking your dog is one of the easiest ways to exercise him, there are times a walk is not possible, such as when the weather is bad. The following offers three ideas to help you exercise your dog even if you can’t walk him. 

1. Get a Treadmill

While you can’t just put your dog on any treadmill, this exercise machine is highly beneficial for you both. The treadmill should have safety features, higher sides, and speed control. 

It takes a little training to get your dog accustomed to walking on the treadmill. Exercising a dog on a treadmill allows you to ensure he can get exercise, even when it’s too cold, rainy, or snowy. 

2. Use the Stairs

If you have stairs inside your home, these will offer an ideal way for you to exercise your dog. Steps add additional challenges for both you and your dog. You can get your exercise together!

Run up the stairs with your dog. When you get to the top, throw down his favorite toy, and he will scramble to catch it. This is a fun way to get exercise in, no matter the weather outside. 

3. Make an Obstacle Course

You can use items around your home to create a fun and exciting obstacle course for your dog. He will enjoy the experience so much, he won’t even realize he is exercising. Use couch cushions, chairs, hula hoops, pool noodles, and more. Think outside of the box!

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