How Much Exercise Does a Dog Need Every Day?

Based on factors like breed and age, how much exercise does your dog need every day? How can you best exercise your dog?

Author: Taylor Ritz

Between finding the best food, visiting the best veterinarian, and caring for our dogs like they are our children, it’s clear that we want what’s best for them. To live a happy and healthy life, we know our dogs need to exercise just like we do, but how much exercise do they actually need?

Factors That Determine Exercise Levels

There are many different factors that determine how much exercise your individual dog needs, so, unfortunately, the answer is really simple. Here are just a few:


Puppies, adult dogs, and senior-aged dogs all have very different exercise needs.

Puppies are growing into their bodies and bladders, as such, they need frequent but short play and potty sessions throughout the day. A good rule is that for each month of age, your puppy needs five minutes of exercise twice daily. So if your puppy is 3 months old, they need up to 15 minutes of play (3 months x 5 minutes = 15 minutes), twice a day, for a total exercise time of 30 minutes a day.

Once a dog is fully-grown, at around 2 or 3 years of age, their play sessions can become much longer. Adult dogs typically require between 30 minutes and 2 hours of daily exercise.

Seniors may develop health issues, such as arthritis, that make exercising difficult. Senior dogs often enjoy a short, leisurely walk for around 30 minutes each day.

Catering exercise to your dog’s age is vital, and if you aren’t sure how much exercise your dog should be getting, consult a veterinarian.


Between 30 minutes and 2 hours of daily exercise is a pretty large span. How do you know where your dog feels? One indication of how much exercise your dog may need depends on their breed (or their mixture of breeds). In general, smaller breeds do not need as much exercise as larger breeds and more active breeds need more exercise than the “lazier” breeds. 

Here are a few examples:

Smaller, toy breeds such as Chihuahuas, Miniature Poodles, and Yorkshire Terriers tend to be less active and will likely only need about 30 minutes of exercise each day.

Giant breeds, despite their size and strength, are known to be less energetic as well. These breeds include Great Danes, Mastiffs, and Newfoundlands.


Flat-nosed breeds such as Bulldogs, Pugs, and Shih Tzus, have poor breathing and respiration, so heavy and long bouts of exercise can be problematic. They also will benefit from shorter daily exercise: perhaps between 30 minutes and 1 hour each day.

Active breeds such as Collies, Shepherds, Terriers, Hounds, and Retrievers were bred to be working dogs. As a result, they require between 60 and 120 minutes of daily exercise. This is not only to maintain their physical health but their mental health as well. It’s worth noting that Working breeds who are not given adequate exercise often develop severe behavioral issues.

Other Factors Affecting Exercise

There are numerous factors that may contribute to how much exercise your pooch requires each day. Another important factor is health issues. Dogs with physical maladies such as arthritis or hip dysplasia will need much calmer, short bouts of exercise than a dog who is completely healthy.

As always, if you have any questions regarding your dog’s health, consult your veterinarian.


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