Dog Exercise Needs: Guidelines for Structured Exercise and Signs of Deficiency

A dog running outside in a field.

When it comes to keeping your dog healthy, exercise is key. But how much exercise does your dog really need? In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the factors that determine a dog’s exercise needs, and provide some guidelines to help you make sure your furry friend is getting the right amount of physical activity.

Factors That Affect a Dog’s Exercise Needs

Just like humans, dogs have individual exercise requirements based on a number of different factors. Here are some of the most important things to consider:


Different dog breeds have different exercise needs. For example, a high-energy breed like a Border Collie will need much more exercise than a more laid-back breed like a Basset Hound. It’s important to research your dog’s breed to get a sense of how much physical activity they need.


Puppies and senior dogs have different exercise needs than adult dogs. Puppies need lots of playtime and short bursts of activity throughout the day, while senior dogs may require more rest and less strenuous exercise.


If your dog has health issues, their exercise needs may be different than those of a healthy dog. For example, a dog with arthritis may require gentle exercise to keep their joints mobile, while a dog with a heart condition may need to avoid intense physical activity altogether.


Where you live can also impact your dog’s exercise needs. If you have a large backyard for your dog to run around in, they may not need as much structured exercise. On the other hand, if you live in an apartment, you’ll need to make sure your dog gets enough activity through walks and playtime.

Guidelines for Exercising Your Dog

So, how much exercise does your dog actually need? Here are some general guidelines to keep in mind:


Most dogs will benefit from at least one 30-minute walk per day. However, high-energy breeds or dogs with a lot of excess energy may need more than one walk per day, or longer walks to tire them out.


In addition to walks, your dog should also have time to play every day. This could include games of fetch or tug-of-war, running around in the backyard, or even just chasing a toy around the house.

Structured Exercise

Structured exercise can include activities like agility training, obedience classes, or even just a game of frisbee in the park. These activities can be a great way to challenge your dog both mentally and physically.


Don’t forget that rest is an important part of a dog’s exercise routine too. Make sure your dog has plenty of downtime to relax and recover between activities.

Signs That Your Dog Needs More Exercise

If you’re not sure whether your dog is getting enough exercise, here are some signs to look out for:

  • Excess energy or hyperactivity
  • Destructive behavior
  • Weight gain or obesity
  • Boredom or restlessness
  • Aggression or other behavior issues

If you notice any of these signs, it may be time to increase your dog’s exercise routine.


Exercise is an essential part of keeping your dog healthy and happy. By taking into account your dog’s individual needs and following the guidelines outlined in this article, you can make sure your furry friend gets the right amount of physical activity every day.

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Donald Barret

About the Author: Donald Barret

Donald writes books about carriages, corsets, and smartwatches. His books have received starred reviews in Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, and Booklist. He is a New York Times and a USA Today Bestseller.