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How Much Exercise Does a Dog Need? Vet-Approved Facts & FAQ

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By Nicole Cosgrove

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Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Lauren Demos

DVM (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Dogs are known to be active animals that love to play and run around. Exercise is essential for a dog’s physical and mental well-being, just like it is for humans. As a pet owner, it is crucial to know how much exercise your furry friend needs to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

But just how much exercise does a dog need? While there are several factors to consider such as age, breed, fitness level, and even health conditions, dogs will generally need 30 minutes to 2 hours of exercise a day.

In this article, we will discuss the appropriate amount of exercise for dogs while also providing tips on how to exercise dogs both indoors and outdoors with the proper safety precautions to keep our dog fit and healthy!

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How Much Exercise Do Puppies Need?

Puppies are naturally energetic and playful, which means they require a lot of exercise. However, their exercise routine should be adjusted based on their age, size, and breed.

As a general rule, puppies should have at least 30 minutes to 1 hour of exercise daily. This can be done through short walks, playtime, and interactive games such as fetch. It is crucial to avoid over-exercising puppies as their bones and joints are still developing and are susceptible to injury.

During this period, it is also best to begin socializing your puppy to strangers, other pets, and other environments to get them properly stimulated and exposed as they grow older!

akita shiba inu puppy mixed breed dog walking on the grass
Image Credit: Katinka Bakos, Shutterstock

How Much Exercise Do Adult Dogs Need?

Adult dogs are generally stronger and more active than puppies and require a consistent exercise routine to stay healthy. The amount of exercise needed for an adult dog depends on several factors such as breed, size, and energy level. During this stage, their bodies are typically fully developed which allows them to do more activities that they couldn’t during puppyhood!

As a general rule, adult dogs should have at least 30 minutes to 2 hours of exercise daily. This can be done through activities such as walking, jogging, swimming, or playing fetch. It is essential to adjust the exercise routine according to your dog’s energy level and age.

Should your dog have any health conditions, it is important to take this into consideration when exercising your dog. Remember to consult with your veterinarian regarding the necessary precautions to take for your dog’s health!

How Much Exercise Do Senior Dogs Need?

Senior dogs tend to have lower energy levels and may require less exercise than younger dogs. However, exercise is still crucial for their physical and mental well-being.

The amount of exercise a senior dog needs depends on their overall health condition, breed, and energy level. As a general rule, senior dogs should have at least 20 to 30 minutes of exercise daily, which can be done through short walks or low-impact activities such as swimming.

It is essential to consult with a veterinarian to determine the appropriate exercise routine for your senior dog.

cocker spaniel playing with jack russell terrier dog at the beach
Image Credit: Larina Marina, Shutterstock

Do Some Dog Breeds Need More Exercise Than Others?

Yes, some dog breeds require more exercise than others. High-energy breeds such as Border Collies, Huskies, and Australian Shepherds require more exercise than low-energy breeds such as Bulldogs or Pugs.

Working and sporting breeds such as Retrievers and Pointers require more exercise as they were bred to be active and athletic.

It is crucial to research your dog’s breed and consult with a veterinarian to determine the appropriate exercise routine for your furry friend!

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How Can I Exercise My Dog Outdoors?

Dogs are curious creatures that enjoy the stimulation and exploration that comes with being outdoors. Outdoor exercises are an excellent way for dogs to burn off energy and explore their surroundings! Some outdoor exercise activities for dogs include:

Walking or Jogging

Taking your dog on a brisk walk or jog is an excellent way to get them moving and burn off energy. It is essential to use a leash and ensure your dog is trained to walk or jog beside you.

Walks in a dog park are also a great way to get exercise while socializing with other dogs. This provides a place for your dog to run around and play with other dogs. So, if you have access to a dog park, try to take your dog to the park for a few hours!

dalmatian dog on a leash walking with the owner
Image Credit: absolutimages, Shutterstock


If your dog loves the water, swimming is a great and refreshing way for your dog to get some exercise. Swimming is a low-impact exercise that is perfect for dogs with joint issues. It is crucial to ensure your dog is comfortable in the water and supervise them at all times.


As mentioned earlier, dogs are curious animals that get excellent amounts of stimulation outdoors. Hiking is an excellent way for dogs to explore new environments and get a good workout. It is essential to ensure the trail is safe for dogs and bring plenty of water and snacks for both you and your furry friend.

male hiker with siberian husky dog
Image Credit: Osadcha Olga, Shutterstock

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How Can I Exercise My Dog Indoors?

While outdoor workouts may not always be feasible for everyone all the time, there are still ways that your dog can get exercise indoors. Indoor exercises are a great way to keep your dog active during bad weather or when you don’t have access to outdoor spaces.

Interactive Games

Interactive games such as hide-and-seek, tug-of-war, and fetch can keep your dog active and engaged indoors. It is crucial to ensure that the games are played in a safe and spacious area to avoid injury.


The treadmill is an exercise equipment that allows humans to run or walk indoors, but did you know dogs can use it too? Treadmills can be used to give your dog a good workout indoors.

For many dogs, treadmills are unnatural and may take some getting used to. It is crucial to supervise your dog and ensure they are comfortable with the treadmill before using it.

dog exercising on treadmill
Image Credit: Fabian Ponce Garcia, Shutterstock

Agility Training

Agility training involves teaching your dog to navigate through an obstacle course, which can be done indoors or outdoors. It is an excellent way to improve your dog’s physical and mental agility.

You can easily set up indoor obstacle courses in a spacious area of your house to give your dog a place to get a workout in!

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Exercise Safety: Things to Consider!

Exercise is essential for every dog’s health, but safety precautions should always be taken. As responsible dog parents, there are many things to consider when exercising your dog. Here are a few safety precautions to keep in mind!

Weather & Temperature

One thing you want to consider when exercising your dog outdoors is the weather. If you live in an area with changes in seasons, then you might want to avoid letting your dog out when it is too cold or too hot to prevent any health complications.

In addition, many dogs are susceptible to heatstroke, especially during hot weather. It is crucial to exercise your dog during cooler times of the day and provide plenty of water and shade.

Sable Aussiedoodle Winter Snow
Image Credit: Peggy McClure, Shutterstock


While we want to keep our dog fit through exercise, it is important to understand our dog’s individual limitations and when exercise is considered too much. Overexertion can lead to injury or fatigue. It is essential to adjust the exercise routine according to your dog’s age, breed, and energy level.

Leash & Collar Safety

Ensure that your dog’s leash and collar are in good condition and properly fitted to avoid injury or escape. This can help prevent your dog from going to places with dangerous terrain, as well as preventing any unwanted interactions with people or other animals outdoors.

dog on a leash hiking with owner
Image Credit: N K, Shutterstock

Terrain Safety

In conjunction with leash and collar safety, it is important that you take your dogs to routes and environments that are safe for both you and your dog. When exercising outdoors, ensure that the terrain is safe for your dog to avoid injury or accidents.

Proper Hygiene, Grooming, & Hydration

After outdoor walks, you want to inspect and clean their paws and coats for any dirt or sharp objects. You also want to make sure they have no injuries from the walk. Remember, dogs use their paws for everything, so be sure to keep their nails properly trimmed to prevent any pain and discomfort.

Lastly, exercise can easily get your dog thirsty. It is important to provide them with water to keep them hydrated and refreshed!

bichon frise dog getting a bath
Image Credit: Studio Peace, Shutterstock

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Final Thoughts

Exercise is crucial for a dog’s physical and mental well-being, but the amount of exercise required varies depending on several factors such as age, breed, and health condition.

As a pet owner, it is essential to determine the appropriate exercise routine for your furry friend and keep safety in mind during exercise. Whether it is indoor or outdoor exercise, interactive games, or walking, the key is to keep your dog active and engaged!

Featured Image Credit: Nata Bene, Shutterstock

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