Is it Cruel Not to Walk Your Dog? The Pro’s and Con’s

Although most dogs love going on walks, it is not cruel to not walk your dog. However, it is cruel if you keep your dog locked inside all day. Dogs need to get out and run around. Ideally, a dog would spend thirty minutes to two hours outside each day. 

Part of dog ownership means taking responsibility for both the health and the happiness of your pet. Dogs need exercise to stimulate both their muscles and their mind. For some dogs, it’s also the only chance they have to get out and go to the bathroom. This means that most dogs require a few walks per day to meet their basic needs.

It would be ideal to take your dog out at least three times per day, but they don’t need to be long walks, especially if you have a small dog. The only time it would not be required to take your dog on a walk every day is if they have free access to the backyard. But even if they do have access to the backyard, there are a lot of benefits to taking your dog on a walk.

Why Your Dog Needs Walks

Dogs need exercise, and walks are one of the best forms of exercise. Your dog will be happier and healthier if they get sufficient exercise.

Here are a few of the benefits to daily walks and exercise.

Better Behavior

If your dog is well stimulated and gets its energy out on long walks, it will likely behave better at home.

A dog that gets regular exercise will bark less at home. They are also less likely to chew on things or dig where they aren’t supposed to.

Bored and unstimulated dogs tend to act out. By ensuring that your dog gets sufficient exercise, they will be less likely to act out during the day.

Keeps Them Healthy/Pain-Free

Many dogs have issues with their joints, especially as they get older. Obesity will worsen joint issues. Regular exercise significantly decreases the chances of obesity in the first place. This will result in less joint pain as they age.

Regular exercise also keeps the heart and lungs healthy. Cardiovascular problems are common in dogs. Regular exercise helps keep the heart ticking properly.

Builds Trust

This is one of the biggest benefits of taking your dog on a walk. When you walk with your dog, you are building trust with them. They will feel safer with you, and you will get to experience more of their personality.

You’ll notice that certain parts of a dog’s personality only come out when they are exploring the world around them. The more time you spend with your dog, the more they will trust you.

Provides Mental Stimulation

Mental stimulation is just as important as physical stimulation. One of the best ways to stimulate your dog’s mind is to take them on walks.

Most dogs are either locked inside all day or spend most of their day in the backyard. When you take them on a walk, it’s new and exciting for them. Even if it’s a route you regularly go on, it’s still one of the most exciting and mentally stimulating parts of their day.

The other benefit is that your dog is likely to encounter other dogs on a walk. Dogs are social animals, so letting your dog interact with other dogs is an important part of their development.

You should let your dog play with other dogs when possible. This can include going to the park during off-leash hours or just setting up doggie play dates with other dogs.

How Much Exercise Does a Dog Need?

We have established that exercise is very important for your dog, whether it be walks or runs. But how much exercise does your dog really need? This depends on the breed, the size, and the energy level of your dog.

As a general rule, a tired dog is a happy dog. Some dogs need long walks and off-leash time where they can run around at will. Other dogs require short, more frequent walks and some playtime in the house.

Large Dogs

Larger dogs typically need longer walks than smaller dogs, but even within the size groups, there is a lot of variation.

If your dog has a lot of energy, it might need more exercise than a similarly sized, calmer dog. Aim for one to two hours of exercise spread throughout the day. This can include two 20 minute walks and then 20-30 minutes of playtime inside.

Small Dogs

Smaller dogs don’t require as much exercise as larger dogs. Shorter, more frequent walks are perfect for small dogs. However, many small dogs are under-exercised because their owners assume they need less than they do. It is important to read the signs of an understimulated dog.

Smaller dogs need between thirty minutes to two hours of exercise a day. This is probably best broken up into shorter walks, as well as playtime inside the house.

Puppies

Age is also an important factor in how much exercise a dog needs. Puppies need to go out more often than adult dogs, but it’s important to not take your dog outside unless they have all their vaccinations.

Your pup might get tired very quickly, in which case you should cut down on the amount of exercise. Puppies are more likely to want short bursts of intense exercise or play, followed by lots of rest. Variation is also important.

Most puppies are not well suited for very long walks or intense runs. They also need to get used to walking on concrete before you take them on longer walks.

Senior Dogs

Senior dogs also have different needs compared to adult dogs. Many old dogs have discomfort from joint pain, especially around the hips.

A good rule of thumb for senior dogs is short, frequent walks. The important thing is to pay attention to your dog’s comfort levels and make sure they are not in pain.

Remember, walks with senior dogs are likely to be much slower. They usually need more rest than younger dogs, so don’t push them too hard. Gentle playtime indoors may also be a good option to get some exercise in.

Outdoor Time is Important

Your dog must get sufficient outdoor exercise. Regular exercise benefits your dog in numerous ways. It does not always have to be a walk, you can mix it up with a hike or a run, but dogs need to get outside.

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