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How Much Does My Dog Need to Be Walked?
Taking your dog on a walk can be beneficial for both you and your dog. Most pet owners can certain use the exercise. And the dog will enjoy spending time with the owner while walking, exploring new areas and getting some exercise on top of it all.
If after a while you find that your dog doesn’t seem to be enjoying its walks as much as it used to, a few different issues could be at fault. Perhaps the dog has been frightened by another dog on your normal walking path, or maybe the dog is suffering from a physical ailment.
It’s also possible that the dog may be resisting its walking time because you’ve been walking too far, leaving the dog exhausted and in pain. While this problem isn’t common, understanding just how far you should walk your dog is important. After all, your dog cannot verbally alert you when it’s tired or in pain and needs to stop walking.
Signs of Walking Too Far
As you’re walking the dog, it’s important to pay attention to its behavior and mood. Although each dog will behave a bit differently, you can watch for the following five common signs that you’re walking your dog too far.
- Excessive panting. Although most dogs will pant after several minutes of exercise, use the observations of your dog from previous walking excursions to figure out if its panting this time is excessive.
- Slowing down. A dog that is tiring often will show its low energy level by slowing down on the walk. If you find that you’re having to try to rush the dog along or if you’re having to tug on the leash, it may be time to wrap up the walk and head toward home.
- Limping. During the walk, some dogs will experience joint pain or pain in the paw pads, especially if you’re walking on hot pavement. The dog may begin limping when this occurs, which is an immediate sign that you should be wrapping up the walk.
- Body language. A worn-down dog may walk with its tail pointing low or with a drooped head. Keep an eye on the body language of your dog, especially if your pet usually is wagging its tail with its head held high during the early part of the walk.
- Lack of exploration. If your dog typically wants to smell trees or explore off-path areas during the early part of the walk, but it gives up on exploration after a while, the dog may be tiring.
Deciding When Enough Is Enough
While there is no specific rule about how far a dog should walk, you should expect a healthy dog to walk for around 30 minutes continuously. Older dogs and puppies may do better with shorter walks. More active breeds may enjoy longer and higher tempo walks. Smaller breeds may not be able to walk the same distance as larger breeds, but it’s better to consider the amount of time the dog is walking, rather than the distance it’s covering, when trying to determine how far is safe to walk your dog.
The weather should play a role as well. On a hot day, shorten the walk by as much as 30% to 40%, especially if no water is available. On a cool day, perhaps the dog can walk a little extra.
If you’re just starting a walking program with your dog, be sure to start with shorter time periods and slowly increase the time to help your dog to build stamina. Keep the walk as a fun time with a lot of praise for the dog, and it should go smoothly, no matter how long your dog feels comfortable walking.
This article was written by guest blogger Amber Kingsley for New York Dog Nanny. If you enjoyed this article, please share it. Have something you’d like to bark about to the dog community? Send us an email about being a guest blogger to firstname.lastname@example.org.