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How Important Is It to Take Your Dog for a Walk Every Day?

Margaret Lipman
By
Published Mar 02, 2024
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If you’re a dog owner, you’ll probably recognize these scenarios. You’re in a hurry, it’s raining, or you just don't feel like it. But it’s time for your dog to be walked, so you quickly take them out, let them do their business, and then hurry them back inside. Or, if you have a backyard, you simply open the back door.

When your dog misses out on a proper walk, they’re skipping more than exercise. Of course, ensuring that your canine companion gets enough physical activity is incredibly important, as it helps them maintain a healthy weight and muscle tone. Having the chance to get outside and release some energy is essential, especially for certain breeds and younger dogs.

But beyond exercise and bathroom breaks, taking your dog for a walk is important for their behavior, emotional well-being, and relationship with you. Dogs typically thrive on consistency, which equates to having a routine for when they are walked. During walks, dogs have the opportunity to explore the world around them, something they won’t get if you open the door and let them sit in your backyard. Unless you actively play with them, they’re not likely to be interested in exploring the yard on their own and thus won’t get much exercise or mental stimulation out of the experience.

Giving dogs the chance to sniff new things on a regular basis has been linked to lower stress and anxiety levels and fewer stress-related behaviors (such as being aggressive or destructive, barking excessively, or becoming agitated when a person or another dog walks by), as well as generally healthier dogs. A walk is also a great opportunity for you and your dog to work on training, skills, and behaviors, and to benefit from social interactions, both human and canine.

Time for walkies!

  • So, how often should you walk your dog? From an exercise standpoint, most dogs need at least 30 minutes of physical activity per day, though some will require much more depending on their breed, age, and health. One walk a day, of around 20 minutes or more, is widely recommended, though some dogs will thrive on additional walks. An adult dog should have the opportunity to relieve themselves around three to five times per day.

  • A Michigan State University study found that around one-third of dog owners don’t walk their dogs on a regular basis. If you can’t give your dog a lengthy walk on certain days, try to prioritize playing with them for around half an hour so they can benefit from the exercise and interaction.

  • Dogs that want to spend their walks sniffing rather than walking can be frustrating to their owners, but this is one of the key ways they experience the world. After all, dogs have up to 300 million olfactory receptors compared to our 6 million, so we can’t even begin to comprehend the importance of smell to them.

  • For humans, regular dog walks can benefit cardiovascular health, reduce blood pressure, build muscle and bone strength, decrease stress levels, and even lessen symptoms of depression and anxiety.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Margaret Lipman
By Margaret Lipman
With years of experience as an educator, Margaret Lipman produces thoughtful and informative content across a wide range of topics. Her articles cover essential areas such as finance, parenting, health and wellness, nutrition, educational strategies. Margaret's writing is guided by her passion for enriching the lives of her readers through practical advice and well-researched information.
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Margaret Lipman
Margaret Lipman
With years of experience as an educator, Margaret Lipman produces thoughtful and informative content across a wide range...
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