How Much Exercise Does a Dog Need?


Read time: 6 mins

15 May 2023

For your four-legged family member to have a proverbial dog's life, they need top-quality food, lots of fresh water and plenty of entertaining company. A hug or two? Wouldn't say no. Exercise? Can't get by without it. 

If they don't get an appropriate physical workout each day, dogs can develop all sorts of issues – from obesity to destructive frustration. But dogs don't all come in identical packages. Some have day-long stamina (ah, yes, we see you Spaniels), while others (particularly dinky toy breeds) are best off with a couple of genteel trots to the lamp-post and back. 

If you’re not sure how much exercise your dog needs every day, ask your vet for advice. As well as helping with an activity regime, they'll also recommend you keep your pup’s energy levels up with nutritionally complete food. 

Here at Butternut Box we can help you there, but before it comes to mealtime, here are a few pooch performance tips.

How Often Should You Walk Your Dog?

The frequency of how often you should walk your dog depends on a number of different factors, such as breed, age, size, health and overall energy levels.

All dogs should have a minimum of one 30 minute walk per day. For some dogs, such as Border Collies, this won’t be nearly enough and will need to be accompanied by additional walks and mental stimulation. 

The Kennel Club has a really useful tool they call the Breed Information Centre that will help. It has loads of pup-to-date knowledge about different dog breeds, so it’s a great place to begin. Once you have a ruff idea, you can start looking for local walks. 

The dog-lovers of the UK have amassed a huge collection of suggested wanders of various lengths for you to choose from, just like these in London. Discovering new routes is a pawfect way to keep your furry friend tired out and mentally engaged.

Can You Over-Exercise a Dog?

So, you feel confident about how often you should take your dog out, but now you might be wondering how far you should take them. Again, this all depends on the age and breed of your pooch. If you want to increase your dog’s exercise levels, do so gradually.

Over-exercising your dog can be just as bad as under-exercising your dog, as it can result in exhaustion. If you suspect that your dog may be suffering from exhaustion, allow them to rest and be sure to contact a vet if symptoms persist.

Dogs should always have access to fresh, cold water. If you’re taking your dog out for the day, plan accordingly and pack plenty of bottles of water along with a bowl to put it in. 

Signs and Symptoms of Over-Exercised Dogs

• Excessive panting

• Lethargy

• Limping

•Difficulty breathing / wheezing

• Disorientation

• Excessive thirst

• Vomiting

• Diarrhoea

Exercise for Puppies and Senior Dogs

Remember that your furry friend’s age is a factor, too. What they need will change as they grow up. 

For example, a toddling pup may seem really energetic, but they only need five minutes of exercise for every month of their age. 

Over-exercising them can lead to developmental problems like early arthritis. A dog in the prime of life will need much more time out and OAPs (Old Age Pooches) thrive on a slow-and-steady stroll. Doing some research before you get your pooch will help to set your expectations and ensure that the two of you are on the same page of the exercise book.

Alternatives to Physical Exercise for Dogs

If long walks aren’t your dog’s thing, there are other ways to test their stamina. They might have a medical condition, such as arthritis, that prevents them from doing exercise or you may simply want to mix things up a bit.

Outdoors sports like flyball and agility are fun, fast ways to play and all sorts of breeds love the challenge. 

Mental Exercises for Dogs

Activities like scent work, for example, are good for gently exercising the body while getting the brain whirring. Some other examples of enrichment games include: 

Puzzle toys

Investing in puzzle toys or enrichment feeders is a sure way to get your dog working hard for high reward. Some of our favourites are snuffle mats and Hide N’ Slides. 

Hide and seek scent games

Now, this doesn’t mean asking your dog to count to ten whilst you run and hide. Although, we would love to see that in action. Instead this is based on you hiding treats and toys around the house for your dog to find. Start with easy-to-find hiding spots, such as under a chair and then increase the difficulty, wrapped inside a balled-up sock is bound to have them baffled. 

Teaching them new tricks

Regular training sessions will help keep your dog’s brain ticking to its full potential. You’d be surprised how many more tricks there are aside from sit, paw and roll. We’ve even seen some dogs tuck themselves into bed. Keep the sessions short but frequent to avoid boredom. 

DIY obstacle course

Create a mini obstacle course in your home or garden using things like chairs, brooms, hula hoops and watering cans.

Whatever you decide on, remember that your dog will tell you in their own (not always subtle) way if something isn't quite right. So pay close attention (as if we could stop you) and you’ll find it hard to go wrong.

Dog Breeds That Don’t Need Much Exercise

Like humans, some dogs are lazy, happily snoring away the hours and hoping no one gets the lead out. These four-legged family members will probably need a little motivation to get them up and about.

Take the Shih Tzu, for example. These little legs are much more suited to a brisk march than an endurance run.

Other dogs breeds known to be resident soafer-loafers include:

• Basset Hounds

• Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

• English Bulldog

• Chow Chow

• French Bulldog

• Pekingese

• Maltese

• Shiba Inu

• Pomeranian

• Boston Terrier

• Pug

• Bichon Frise

• Dachshund

• Lhasa Apso

• Chihuahua

However, it is important to note that even if dogs are genetically-predisposed to needing less exercise, it should still be part of their everyday routine. It is highly important in order to keep dogs fit and healthy, even if it is just a 20 minute stroll around the park. Plus, a chin-wag with other pooches is much needed for your dog’s mental and social stimulation. 

Dog Breeds That Need a Lot of Exercise

If you miss out on walks, high-energy dogs will make their disapproval known by pacing, staring and maybe even getting into a spot of naughty chewing. 

Some breeds, like Border Collies, need a good long run around (while they herd imaginary sheep – or just other dogs). 

Other dogs breeds with super-charged energy levels include:

• Australian Shepherd

• Siberian Husky

• Vizsla

• Weimaraner

• Jack Russell Terrier

• Belgian Malinois

• Dalmatian

• Boxer

• Labrador & Golden Retriever

• Springer & Cocker Spaniel

• Portuguese Water Dog

• Irish Setter

• Staffordshire Bull Terrier

• Poodle

• German Shepherd

Feeding Butternut Box Helps to Support a Healthy Lifestyle

Just like their customised exercise plan, dogs require a diet that will give them all the fuel that they need to thrive. By including ingredients such as human-grade meat, vegetables and protein-packed quinoa, our meals have everything that your dog needs to fuel exercise and help them recover afterwards. 

We know not all dogs are the same, which is why we perfectly portion our meals based on the information you give us about their breed, age, weight and activity level.

Click the Build Your Box button below to get an exact price and plan.