How Much Exercise Does A Dog Need Every Day? [Answered]

There’s no pet parenting without exercise, and as a pet parent, you should know the amount of exercise your dog needs.

Dogs can’t do without exercise, but it doesn’t mean they all have the same exercise level.

Various factors can contribute to the exact level of exercise that will be of benefit to a dog. But, how much exercise does a dog need per day?

The average amount of exercise for every dog is between 20 minutes to 2 hours every day, and several factors will determine where your pup falls in the spectrum. 

Some of the factors that would determine your dog’s level of exercise include age, breed, energy level, size, health, and rate of activity.

This article provides in-depth information you’ll need, including the benefits of exercising your dog.

How Much Exercise Does a Dog Need Every Day?

Boykin Spaniel Male Dog Walking on Grass

Just as humans don’t follow the same exercise routine, it varies for dogs.

You’d need to figure out your pet’s individual exercise needs without comparing it to other dogs, including dogs of the same breed with it.

Two German Shepherds may not need the same amount of exercise.

Consider all the factors listed below and more.

  • How healthy is your dog?
  • Is it a worker or a companion?
  • A toy breed or a giant?
  • What’s the energy level?
  • Is it overweight?

Answering these starter questions will put you on the right path. You could also meet a canine fitness expert or a veterinarian to help.

Many pet parents find that their dog’s exercise level falls between 20 minutes and 2 hours every day, making this the right interval that people can work with.

As a general rule, big worker dogs will need at least 1 hour of exercise. Small dogs and low energetic big companion dogs may be satisfied with 20 to 30 minutes.

Puppies and seniors will need less than adults, while overweight dogs should get more time.

Also, know that not every exercise is appropriate for every dog breed. The breed’s strengths and weaknesses matter, as well as age and size.

Pugs and other brachycephalic breeds will get exhausted if they should run, but a Greyhound will love the challenge.

Ideally, you should start small at the puppy stage, then increase as the dog grows. You’ll need to be observant to know how the exercise should increase.

How Much Exercise Does a Puppy Need?

Cavapoo Puppy Zooming Around

Puppies often experience what many call zoomies, and the craziness that follows might be both unexpected and overwhelming for you.

There are many ways you can handle zoomies, and one surefire antidote to it is exercise.

Do not put off your puppy’s exercise, waiting for it to become an adult first. Just like training, exercise should be done early. 

Puppies are still growing, so they shouldn’t be exercised the same way an adult would.

They need shorter bursts of exercise, not one long period so their delicate bones won’t get damaged.

Puppies may get ready for outdoor walks between 3 and 6 months, depending on when their vaccinations get complete. 

Before the walk period reaches, you can begin with playtime and some short indoor walks.

Dive Deeper: How To Calm A Puppy Down: 7 Steps From Dog Experts

How Much Exercise Does a Senior Dog Need?

Dogs at their golden ages will lose the vigor and enthusiasm that once characterized their existence, but they need exercise.

There’s no set guideline for how long you should exercise your senior dog, and you would be the judge of that.

When in doubt—like if you adopted a senior dog and are not sure how to proceed—consult a veterinarian. 

Many senior dogs develop joint issues and other health complications, all of which will affect the dog’s exercise requirements.

With seniors, you have to be observant. Avoid strenuous exercises even if the dog is fully healthy. You can limit it to walks.

How Do I Know When My Dog Needs More Exercise?

You’d need a lot of observation and some experiments to know if your dog should get more exercise.

Different changes can lead to an adjustment in exercise, some of which are:

  • Age
  • Obesity (or a reduction in weight)
  • An illness or injury
  • Changes in lifestyle 

Whatever the case, it could just be that you’re not giving your dog the right amount of exercise.

Knowing the general guideline for your breed is beneficial, but still, consider what your pet wants.

There are signs your dog might portray if it isn’t getting enough exercise.

It could be restless in a crate, barking excessively, being overly active at night, or causing a ruckus. Exercise can help reduce these behaviors, as we’ll soon see. 

Benefits of Exercising Your Dog

Exercise is a doggy need, and the benefits abound. Even you as a pet parent will gain from exercising your dog. Here are some of the major benefits:

Bonding moment

Exercise provides a good bonding moment for you and your pet, which is the main reason you’d want a pet in the first place.

The laughter, adrenaline rush, and moments experienced while playing or jogging are all ample opportunities for the emotional connection between you and your dog to increase.

This would even impact your attitude and give you a more positive outlook on life. 


A dog that exercises regularly will remain fit, as opposed to one that lacks adequate activities.

A fit dog can carry out its responsibilities (if it is a worker) or be more eager to spend time with family (if it is a companion).

Fitness is often contrasted with obesity, which we’ll be looking at next.

Maintaining weight

Obesity is a common phenomenon in the United States, and over 50% of dogs are considered overweight.

While it might seem harmless (and even cute) for your dog to be overweight, the health issues that result from this are problematic.

Obesity can lead to joint problems, diabetes, cancer, hypertension, and even heart disease.

Once you discover that your dog is gaining excess weight, control its diet and give it more exercise. 

Reducing anxiety

Regular exercise is an effective cure for anxiety, as the endorphins it triggers can contribute to happiness and reduce stress.

By contrast, a lack of exercise can amp up a dog’s stress and anxiety level. This is why you could get back home and see your dog destroying properties.

If you want your furniture intact, exercise your pooch. This is especially important if you recently moved to a new area. 

Mental stimulation 

Exercise isn’t limited to physical activities alone. Dogs can be mentally exercised too, and they need to be challenged.

An understimulated dog will get bored easily and may resort to destructive behaviors to keep itself busy.

Mental exercises are also a form of training, which helps shape a dog’s behavior.

A dog that’s regularly challenged has fewer chances of developing undesirable behaviors. 

Benefits of Walking Your Dog

A form of exercise many dog owners employ is walking. It is common to see passersby trudging along with their Poodles, Dutch or German Shepherds beside them.

Walking is not the only form of exercise suitable for a dog, but there’s a reason it’s popular. Not only is it the easiest to achieve, but it also has its benefits.

Walking allows your dog to socialize. While outdoors, your dog gets the opportunity to visit new places, interact with strangers, and play with other dogs.

When done properly, walking can help reduce the natural wariness in some breeds. 

Another benefit of walking is weight reduction. Walking helps burn calories, and as we know that’s a good thing.

Add to this the positive impact on the dog’s cardiovascular health and you’ve got enough incentive to pick up the leash and step outside!

Walking is also good for mental stimulation as exposure to new sights, places, and people challenges a dog’s intellect. 

Other Exercises Your Dog May Need

Besides walking, other forms of exercise are very beneficial for your dog. These exercises help build endurance, strength, and balance.

Remember that not every exercise is appropriate for all dogs. Some dogs are content with a simple walk and some playtime, while others need something more intense.

Active adult dogs shouldn’t be limited to one form of exercise as that could get them bored and unmotivated. Besides walking, add other forms of activities like:

  • Jogging
  • Swimming (for dogs that can swim)
  • Tug of war 
  • Fetch
  • Frisbee toss
  • Hiking

The dog’s breed and original purpose can also give you an indication of what exercise type will fit it.

Sled dogs like the Siberian husky will enjoy races, while retrievers like the Labrador will thrive in games like fetch and swimming. 

Additional Tips…

  • The recommended number of walks you can have in a day is 3 times, though that is the minimum. Some dog breeds may require more than that. 
  • On days that you can’t go out, you can opt for indoor exercises. Hallway fetch is a good form of exercise, and you can invest in a treadmill. 
  • Mental exercise is just as important as physical exercise, and you should add enough of those activities. Hide and seek, nose games and training are examples of mental exercises. 

Final Thoughts 

Dogs need regular exercise, and the rate depends on numerous factors.

The benefits exercise has on both you and your pet are enough incentive to ensure you don’t miss a day.

The disadvantages of lacking exercise far surpass the advantages of doing it, so be sure to make it a priority.

Take your dog out on walks, and add other activities, physical as well as mental.

Next Up…

Authored By

Robert Miller

Robert Miller is a dog behaviorist and professional dog trainer. With more than eight years of hands-on experience in the field, Robert relishes sharing his vast knowledge to help prospective pet parents choose the right dog breeds that suit their lifestyle and provide dog owners with the information they need to ensure they raise a well-behaved canine companion. ...