How Much Exercise Does a Dog Need?

While most people know that dogs need to be walked, your pet needs more than a walk in the park for a potty break. Daily physical activity is an important part of your dog’s daily life for a variety of reasons. It provides mental stimulation, social contact, stress relief, and exercise, all of which positively impact their behavior and overall health, including helping reduce the risk of obesity, cardiovascular disease, and arthritis.

Even better? Dogs are naturally active and chances are they won’t need much encouragement to get outside and explore the world. 

But just how much exercise does a dog need? 

Experts recommend that dogs get at least 30 - 45 minutes of exercise daily. Aim for up to two hours if your dog is healthy and extra active. Some dogs may require even longer workout durations. While you should always check with your vet for specific guidance, here are some things to keep in mind when it comes to your dog and exercise.

Puppies are like toddlers. They’re a bundle of energy but their bodies are still growing, so it’s important to not overdo the workouts. Shorter exercise spurts and play sessions are recommended over longer ones. And while larger dog breeds like Great Danes may seemingly be able to tolerate more exercise, at the puppy stage long walks can be too tough on their developing bones.

Adult dogs
Every dog needs exercise, but some breeds have higher exercise requirements than others. Border collies, Belgian Malinois, Jack Russell terriers, and Siberian huskies are super high-energy dog breeds, while basset hounds may enjoy flopping on the couch more than fetching in the park. 

Brachycephalic (flat-faced) dogs, such as bulldogs and pugs, are prone to overheating. To avoid heat exhaustion, respiratory problems, or overexertion, shorter, easier exercise and play sessions are generally recommended for these dog breeds. 

If you’re looking to add a new pup to your home, consider if the breed’s typical energy levels will be a good fit for your lifestyle.

Dogs with special needs
You’ll want to also consider your dog’s health when determining how much and what types of exercise they’ll need. If your dog has a cardiovascular or respiratory condition, orthopedic issues such as hip dysplasia or arthritis, or another health problem, reach out to your vet or professional dog trainer for guidance. They can suggest suitable workout routines to help your dog maintain good muscle mass and quality of life so they can stay happy and healthy.

How many walks does a dog need a day?

Dogs should get at least two walks a day – and more can be even better. A study showed that dogs that had greater levels of exercise had less aggression, fear, and separation anxiety,but again, talk to your vet or trainer for guidance on what is appropriate for your pet.
Not sure if your dog is getting enough exercise? Some common signs of an under-exercised dog are constant barking, restlessness, and trying to initiate play. If your dog seems overly excited when the door opens, barks excessively, or starts to get into things they shouldn’t, they could be communicating to you that they want-–and need–more activity as well as require basic obedience training. It’s important to remember the solution to eliminating these unwanted behaviors is not just exercising your dog. The combination of exercise, high-quality nutrition, and basic obedience training are all part of ensuring your dog is a well-behaved canine member.

Getting your dog moving

While walking is the primary form of exercise for most dogs, variety is, as they say, the spice of life. Just like you’d probably tire from doing the same workouts day after day, so does your pup. Try incorporating some of these engaging, boredom-busting, physical and mental activities into your dog’s exercise regimen. 

  • Fetch
  • Agility training
  • Frisbee
  • Dog parks 
  • Dog play dates
  • Electric treadmill training

What about letting your dog run around the backyard? Opening the back door and giving your dog free rein of your fenced-in yard is fine as a complement to walks. They’ll burn off calories and energy but the excitement may burn off quickly, too. Dogs are instinctively curious. They can get easily bored and frustrated in the enclosed space of the yard.

Take a walk on the wild side, inside
Outdoor workouts are essential for your dog’s health and wellness, but let’s face it, there are some days where the weather or your own schedule or health is not compatible with a neighborhood stroll. Or maybe you’ve already taken your dog out on multiple walks. Indoor workouts can help you keep up with your active dog’s exercise needs.
Get your dog’s brain and body muscles moving with games like hide and seek or an obstacle course set up in your den. And consider the many benefits of having a dog treadmill, right in your own home for easy access, anytime. 

A dog treadmill, such as the Dog Runner electric dog treadmill from Maximum Canine, allows you to continue your dog’s workouts indoors. Meet your pet’s exercise requirements while balancing them with your own schedule and lifestyle. The easy-to-use Dog Runner will help your dog burn calories and energy while building their endurance and confidence in a comfortable and controlled setting. Whether you want to supplement your dog’s workouts or want a great alternative for those times when you can’t go outside, the Dog Runner is a great option.

Use a pre-set exercise program or have a dog fitness expert design a program based on your pup’s size, breed, and physical requirements. Learn more about how Dog Runner treadmills can help ensure your best friend is getting the optimal amount of exercise to support their health and wellness.


The information provided on this site is for educational purposes only and does not substitute for professional medical advice from a qualified veterinarian. Always seek the advice of your pet's vet or a qualified veterinarian with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition, diet, or treatment before undertaking a new dietary or health care regimen for your pet, and never disregard professional veterinary advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.