How Much Exercise Does My Dog Need?
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Calling all dog parents! Let’s start with some burning questions: Are you a newbie owner? Is your pooch packing on a few extra pounds? Are they bored? Or treating your loafers like chew toys?
One word: EXERCISE. It’s vital for a healthy, non-problem-child pooch. (And it can be good for your BMI, too!)
Your dog’s breed and age are the two factors that determine how much exercise they need. Check out these tips to be sure your pooch is getting the right amount of physical activity every day.
Start with Your Dog’s Breed Group
Your dog’s breed group helps determine their exercise needs.
Sporting group dogs are energetic, natural athletes who should get approximately 90 minutes of high-intensity exercise. They enjoy long, brisk walks, hikes in the woods, swimming and playing fetch.
Examples: Retrievers, pointers, setters and spaniels
Blue-collar pooches in the working group are happiest when they have a job to do. They need about one to two hours of fun, pant-inducing activity every day. Take them for long walks or hikes, or create a homemade agility course in your backyard.
Examples: Boxers, Alaskan malamutes, Rottweilers and Siberian huskies
Sixty to 90 minutes of vigorous exercise and play daily? That’s what most high-IQ, high-energy herding group dogs need. You can’t go wrong with activities that challenge them physically and mentally, like long power walks and fun games like fetch, chase and Frisbee.
Examples: Shepherds, collies and sheepdogs
Sight hound dogs need roughly 30 minutes of regular exercise, and scent hound dogs should get about one hour of intense exercise. Take sight hounds on walks or have them do a couple of sprint workouts each week. Scent hounds need longer periods of vigorous activity and love hiking, jogging or playing tracking games in the woods. (Shocking, we know.)
Examples: Afghan hounds, greyhounds, whippets, beagles, bloodhounds and basset hounds
Short-legged terrier group breeds need about 30 minutes of exercise every day, while their longer-legged counterparts need one hour or more. Ideal exercises include fast-paced walks, hikes in the forest and chasing their favorite squeaky ball in the backyard or park.
Examples: Jack Russell terriers, West Highland white terriers (Westies), Yorkshire terriers (Yorkies) and schnauzers
Most petite pups in the toy group are lap dogs, but they should still get approximately 30 to 60 minutes of moderate exercise — they tend to get too husky when they don’t get proper workouts. Plus, toy dogs can really get their hearts pumping in a small area, so consider complementing your daily walks with indoor dog exercise.
Examples: Chihuahuas, Pomeranians and Maltese
here are a ton of different breeds in the nonsporting group, so start with 30 minutes of daily exercise and adjust. Each breed’s exercise needs are unique, and short-nosed dogs, like bulldogs and Shih Tzus, should only have short periods of moderate activity.
Examples: Dalmatians, bulldogs, chow chows and poodles
If you’re the proud parent of a mutt who’s mushed your heart, just follow the exercise suggestions for the most dominant breed or two. (Or ask your vet!)
Factor in Your Dog’s Age
When figuring out how to exercise with your dog, consider your dog’s age. Each stage has unique exercise requirements.
Puppy Exercise Needs
Puppies are balls of energy that do best with short bursts of exercise. (Think zoomies in the backyard.) The best activities are short, easy walks, a few play sessions throughout the day and, of course, obedience training. Avoid long walks and running because they can be too hard on your pup’s growing bones and joints.
Adult Dog Exercise Needs
Healthy adult dogs can do just about anything! Whether it’s walking, running, hiking, swimming, or playing tug-of-war or fetch, they’ll be getting the exercise they need to stay healthy and happy — plus they’ll enjoy spending time with you.
Senior Dog Exercise Needs
Although your senior dog might move at a slightly slower pace than before, they still need exercise and playtime. You may want to shorten walks and fetch time, though, and do other low-impact activities like learning new tricks.
Fuel Your Dog Every Day
Finally, make sure your dog is properly fueled for their next workout. Feed them high-quality, nutritionally balanced IAMS™ food that’s tailored for their unique size and life stage.
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- adp_description_block377Nutrition for Large- and Giant-Breed Adult Dogs
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Healthy joints and proper weight are especially important for dogs that grow to be more than 50 pounds. But not all large- and giant-breed adult dogs have the same nutritional needs. Is your dog getting proper exercise? Is she about to have puppies? Special conditions can dramatically affect your dog’s nutritional demands. Giving her a food specially formulated for her large size, life stage and activity level is the easiest way to make sure she’s getting the nutrients she needs.
Choosing a Food for Overall Health
To address the special needs of your large- or giant-breed dog, look for these features:
- Less fat to help maintain an ideal body condition for less joint stress
- Vitamin-rich fish oils for healthy skin, shiny coat and overall health
- Essential vitamins and minerals to help support the immune system and help maintain good health
- High-quality animal-based protein sources to help maintain muscle tone
- A moderately fermentable fiber source, such as beet pulp, to maintain intestinal health, enhance your dog's ability to absorb nutrients, and reduce backyard cleanup
- A carbohydrate blend to help sustain energy by maintaining normal blood sugar levels
These components are key to good nutrition. Look for them in treats, wet dog food, or dry dog food, such as IAMS™ ProActive Health™ Adult Large Breed.
Maintaining Healthy Joints and Cartilage
Joint health is a big concern for owners of large- and giant-breed dogs. A large- or giant-breed formula that contains high-quality protein can help nourish healthy joints. Vitamins and minerals help promote the production of cartilage. Also, keeping your dog at a healthy weight will help minimize joint stress.
Guarding Against Weight Gain
Dogs with lower activity levels and dogs that have been neutered or spayed are all prone to weight gain. Controlling your dog’s weight is an important step toward protecting against the health effects of excess weight, such as diabetes or joint health problems. If you use a weight-management food, look for these characteristics:
- A reduced fat level that still offers essential nutrients for skin and coat health
- L-carnitine, a key nutrient that helps burn fat and maintain muscle mass during weight loss
- Special carbohydrate blends that help maintain energy while managing weight
- Vitamin-rich fish oils for overall health
Providing Nutrition During Pregnancy
Pregnant dogs have substantial nutrition requirements. Starting in the seventh week of her pregnancy, a mother dog will need to increase her energy intake up to 50% by the time she gives birth and increase it even more when she starts nursing her puppies. Because she may lose her appetite at times, it's important that she eats a nutrient-dense food. A complete, balanced puppy formula can give her the extra nutrients she needs. But avoid puppy food created for large and giant breeds; these formulas contain specially adjusted levels of energy and minerals that may not be sufficient for a pregnant or nursing dog.
Switching to a Mature Diet
Dogs who grow to be more than 50 pounds are considered mature or senior at age 5 or 6, which is earlier than small-breed dogs. So, it’s critical to make a proactive transition to a specially formulated mature diet, such as IAMS™ ProActive Health™ Mature Adult Large Breed, to help keep your dog healthy and active as she ages.
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