We have worked with our carefully chosen partner PitPat to bring you this post.
Anyone who’s been woken up by an enthusiastic dog at the crack of dawn will know how much they love to walk. For plenty of pooches, that first morning wander is the highlight of the day, and it only takes the tiniest jingle of the lead to send them into overdrive.
For humans though, it can be a challenge to work out exactly how much exercise is right, particularly as it’s an ever-changing amount depending on the size of dog, the breed, and the age. So, for anyone wondering, “Can you walk a dog too much?”, here’s the StyleTails guide to fitness for your four-legged friend.
WHAT BREED DO YOU HAVE?
Dogs come in all shapes and sizes, and each one has its own set of exercise requirements. The famously laidback Shih Tzu might be happy with a lazy wander down the road, but you can guarantee your Border Collie is going to have more energy to burn. One way to make sure you’re getting it right is to get yourself a dog activity monitor which measures daily exercise and offers guidance for exactly how much activity your dog needs.
There are lots of options on the market, but we really like PitPat. This lightweight device is easy to use, very affordable at just £39, waterproof for those wet outings, and has battery life of a year. The free PitPat app calculates a tailored exercise goal for your dog, based on its age, breed and weight, to make sure your canine companion is getting the walks they need. It also lets you know the distance your dog has covered, and calories burned, so you can easily plan feeding and keep your dog in great shape. This handy chart from the PDSA is a useful tool for checking how much walking different breeds need each day.
HOW MUCH EXERCISE DOES A PUPPY NEED?
Young dogs might be raring to go, but it’s important to build up exercise gradually. Puppies’ joints are still developing, meaning too much walking can cause issues. Taking young pups on very long walks can also over-tire them, and at this age they need plenty of naps. Avoid too much chasing around after the ball at this age, as it can overstimulate their already excitable young brains, and instead opt for shorter, calmer walks.
WHAT ABOUT SENIOR DOGS?
Dogs do slow down as they get older, which means seniors will need more gentle exercise. Watch out for signs of joint issues, so you can work on reducing walks accordingly. In some cases, breaking up one long walk into several shorter ones can help, as can trying low impact exercise such as swimming.
WHAT KIND OF EXERCISE IS BEST?
While some pooches love nothing more than pelting about the park, it’s important to make sure you’re not overdoing it, and that they’re getting a range of activities as well as time to sleep. The PitPat dog activity monitor securely attaches to your dog’s collar to report back on exactly how much walking, running, playing and resting they’ve done each day, allowing you to organise their exercise accordingly. Its battery lasts for a year, meaning you won’t have to worry about running out of juice mid-walk.
Keeping tabs on your pooch’s activity levels when you’re not with them can sometimes be tricky. If you’ve been apart from your dog, whether they’ve been with a dog walker or staying with friends and family, the PitPat allows you to see what they’ve already done so you don’t overdo it.
WHAT’S THE WEATHER LIKE?
Dog walkers face a constant battle against the weather, either because they have a fair-weather pup that refuses to go out in the rain, or a flat-faced pooch that needs to stay out of the sun. The snow can also be challenging, particularly as the salt on the roads can damage dog’s paws. On days like these, shorter walks can be supplemented with games at home, using puzzle toys, interactive feeders, or snuffle rugs, which all engage dogs’ brains to tire them out.
ARE YOU BEING CONSISTENT?
If your dog is used to a gentle wander down the road during the week, it’s probably not ready for a mountain hike at the weekend. If you’re planning to introduce more extreme exercise into your dog’s routine, be sure to build up to it gradually – just like humans, pooches need to build muscle and endurance beforehand.
Want to gain control over your dog’s health and fitness? We have teamed up with PitPat to give our readers £10 off your very own PitPat. We think this cool little gadget also makes the perfect Christmas gift for the other dog lovers in your life! Use code STYLETAILS10. Valid until midnight on 1st November – get yours at www.pitpat.com.