Health Issues

How Often Should I Walk My Small Dog?

shutterstock_449598010Owning a pooch is a serious responsibility. It requires full commitment since after all you are literally taking care of another precious life. That’s why, if you want to keep your little furbaby stay happy and healthy, you have to pay attention to one of the many things that’s important for their overall well-being – regular exercise.


Three Key Factors to Consider


You can determine how often you should be walking your pooch by the following:


  1. Breed and temperament. Some dogs naturally have lots of energy, making plenty of walks mandatory to get them on an even keel. Others, however, are normally content to simply relax and loll around, needing only short walks from time to time. Generally speaking, if you want a small dog with low energy level, then avoid the terriers or the working dog breeds.
  2. Age and size. Puppies and older dogs generally have less control as compared to one in his prime, and toy breeds have smaller urinary and digestive systems. Dogs like them have to be walked more frequently, probably as often as six times each day.
  3. Where you live and local weather conditions. Check your backyard situation. If you live in the suburbs then your little pooch may be able to use the enclosure for exercise and can be let out as often as needed. However, in the case of a city dog, his ability to get out is basically down to his dog parent’s choice. Also, if the weather outside is not conducive for dog walking (i.e. if it’s raining or snowing, too cold or too hot) then expect that your walks may have to be cut short.


Small Dogs and their Energy Levels


  • High-activity dogs. These dogs don’t enjoy sitting around the house all day. A good amount of physical and mental stimulation is required to keep them happy. There are lots of terriers in this group which were originally bred to hunt prey, and are known to be very energetic and extremely curious creatures. If you are a highly active pet owner, then a small breed like Basenji or Petit Basset would be suitable for you.
  • Moderate to High-activity dogs. Members of this group (like the Bichon Frise, Miniature Pinscher, Miniature Dachshund, Miniature Poodle, Scottish Terrier, and Silky Terrier) do not strictly require high-energy activities, but they do need to let off some steam at least every other day. They were generally bred to be companion dogs but note that they naturally desire more physical and mental stimulation than most lapdogs so.
  • Low to Moderate-activity dogs. Small breeds in this category will be fine with just one or two short walks each day and plenty of playtime indoors. Some breeds you might even have to coax out of the chair just to get them out for a walk as they are more than happy to simply laze around the home all day long. Also, a few of them were even bred purely for show like the Boston Terrier. Other breeds that make up this list include the Pug, Shih Tzu, Japanese Chin, and several others.


It would be a great idea to first observe the little pooch you plan on buying or adopting to find out what their energy level is and if it would actually match your own lifestyle. If the one you are thinking of getting only sleeps in the corner most of the time, then you will likely get away with those regular walks you might not have sufficient time to spend on. However, if you see the little furball you fell in love with jumping up and down on his siblings, then it would be best prepare yourself to become the next skilled marathoner.



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