One of the many perks of pet parenthood is dog walking. There’s nothing better than a sunny stroll alongside your four-legged friend to keep you both happy and healthy. Just like us, pups need exercise and a nutritious diet to keep obesity, among other issues, at bay. But as a loving owner, it’s natural to wonder how often you should walk your dog.
To support as many of you wonderful paw-rents as possible, we’ve created our ultimate dog walking guide to help you tailor the perfect walk for your pup!
We’ve illustrated how far each of the UK’s most popular dog breeds can walk around the UK’s capital cities’ iconic parks with four handy maps. Whether you leisurely lob a ball around London, chase after a cheeky canine in Cardiff, amble around Arthur’s Peak in Edinburgh or bound along after your beautiful big breed in Belfast, we’ve got you covered. Take inspiration for your next lunchbreak, your staycation or simply use as a reference point!
It’s wise to walk your pooch at least once per day - but twice is ideal regardless of breed or size. According to the Kennel Club, all dogs need at least 30 minutes of ‘formal exercise’ – which is more intense than purely playing in the garden, for example – like a decent walk or playing fetch in a field.
Some dogs will be able to walk much further and for far longer than others – this is completely natural – while others manage shorter distances, so each dog must be treated differently. Get to know your dog by slowly experimenting with strolls of different lengths to work out when they naturally tire and ensure they’re not overworked.
How often should I walk my puppy?
Puppies need less formal exercise than fully grown dogs. Though it may often seem they have bundles of excess energy, taking them for long walks at a young age risks doing more harm than good. In time, you will know your puppy best and a manageable amount of exercise for them.
A good rule of thumb for walking your puppy is to ensure they get five minutes of formal exercise per month in age (twice daily during training). For example, a two-month-old puppy needs 10 minutes of exercise two times a day. A three-month-old puppy would need 15 minutes (and so on).
Continue this trend until your puppy is fully grown. While dogs are considered adults at one year old, dogs can take between six and 24 months to fully develop, so this is an excellent way to measure your walks. Once trained, you’ll get a feel for whether your dog needs walking more or less than the general rule.
How often should I walk my senior dog?
Senior dogs are more prone to the development of conditions that can impact the distance they can walk.
Weight gain, a sensitive stomach, and mobility issues - arthritis is particularly prevalent - can all impact a dog’s ability to walk the same distances they could when younger. It’s also worth remembering that, like us, a dog’s metabolism slows with age. Their breed plays a role too, so read on to brush up.
Keep an eye out for any symptoms they begin to present that may compromise their walking abilities.
Should I feed my dog before or after taking them on a walk?
Our wonderful nutritionist Vicky Brierley has shared these paw-ls of wisdom: “All adult dogs are adapted for larger, infrequent meals (whether eating grain free wet or dry dog food) so should be fed at least twice daily, split evenly between morning and evening meals. In most cases, it’s advisable that dogs should wait at least one hour after feeding before being taken for a walk. A mixture of wet and dry dog food makes for an enriching diet, no matter the breed!”
WALKING FOR GOOD: MILES & MEALS
Now you know how you and your pup can best explore some of the country’s greatest green spaces, join our Miles and Meals Strava group and track your distance! For every mile walked, run or cycled, we donate a meal to deserving dogs in need across the country. We love our pups just as much as you love yours, so we’re passionate about giving back to dogs who aren’t so fortunate and need some extra loving. While out on your walks, don’t forget to snap some pictures for Instagram and tag them with #PositivePawprint for a chance to appear on our website.
TIME OF DAY
When is the best time to go on a dog walk?
Dogs can overheat quickly. Only walk your dog in temperatures between five and 19°C. Ensure there’s no risk of your canine companion getting too hot or cold when out walking as the repercussions on their health can be severe. Exercise with your dog first thing in the morning and again in the evening, so long as temperatures allow.
Senior dogs and brachycephalic (short flat-faced) breeds, like pugs and bulldogs, are far more susceptible to extreme heat and chill than others so flat-faced and OAP-ooch owners, take extra care!
Pups love to leisurely leave their scent and sniff along so let their heightened senses to run wild. Just keep an eye out for outdoor dangers; in cities, these could be vapes or discarded food. In grassy regions, insect bites and plant toxins. If you’re worried about what your curious canine has encountered, speak to your vet.
How often should I walk my Toy Poodle?
Glamorous and intelligent, Toy Poodles may be a small breed but have a moderate/high activity level and enjoy a fair amount of formal exercise. Toy poodles should be walked for at least 30 minutes per day, and a distance of up to 1.5 miles. Senior toy poodles are susceptible to skeletal issues like luxating patellas (a dislocation in the leg), hip dysplasia and intervertebral (or slipped) disc disease, which can impact the distance they can walk. Consult your vet if you think your pooch is suffering from any of these issues.
How often should I walk my Beagle?
Beagles are a medium-sized dog breed with moderate to high activity levels, needing at least one 40-minute walk – equivalent to a minimum of two miles every day – but often are going for longer. Known for being mischievous, active scenthounds that adore exploring, they love being around people. Hypothyroidism and intervertebral disc disease could impact senior beagles’ walking abilities.
How often should I walk my Pomeranian?
Lively and curious, Pomeranians are small with a low activity level, so are happy with shorter walks of around 20 minutes (twice daily) and a maximum of two miles. As a puppy, they may need less walking than usual - anywhere between two and five minutes per month in age will suit, based on the individual dog’s needs. In later life, these canines may suffer from luxating patellas and elbow dysplasia, which could lead to needing shorter walks.
How often should I walk my West Highland White Terrier?
Small but mighty, Westies are active dogs with high activity levels and the confidence to walk as far as humans. They should be walked up to three miles per day, with one or two walks totalling an hour being suitable. These terriers can be affected by ‘Westie Lung’ - a breed-prominent disease which causes the lungs to become thickened, inflamed and scarred. It impacts breathing abilities and so the amount of exercise they can tolerate.
How often should I walk my Whippet?
Whippets are an incredibly active dog breed, loving a long run (and a longer nap!). Medium-sized with a moderate to high activity level, whippets need at least an hour’s formal exercise daily – ideally in the form of two 30-minute walks – walking up to three miles. Eye problems and mitral valve disease (of the heart) could impact senior whippets’ walking abilities.
How often should I walk my Golden Retriever?
Golden Retrievers are famously large, loveable and energetic dogs. With a moderate to high activity level, these blonde beauties can easily manage at least an hour of exercise every day, walking up to three miles. Though a generally healthy and reliable breed, hip and elbow dysplasia can affect them in later life, impacting the distance they are able to walk.
How often should I walk my Miniature Schnauzer?
Miniature Schnauzers are a small breed but boast big personalities. They have a moderate activity level, so are suited to either a routine of three or four short walks throughout the day or one hour-long walk up to three miles in distance. Potentially affected by intervertebral disc disease in later life, Miniature Schnauzers are also susceptible to atopy, a hereditary skin disease in dogs caused by airborne allergens.
How often should I walk my Border Terrier?
Small to medium in size, border terriers have moderate activity levels and tend to be lively and adaptable. Happy with a life of work, rest or play around the house, these lively breeds welcome two 30-minute walks up to a maximum of three miles per day. Less susceptible than other breeds to many health issues in later life, Border Terriers could encounter luxating patellas – a knee issue likely to impact walking abilities.
How often should I walk my Cocker Spaniel?
Intelligent, cheerful and eager to please, Cocker Spaniels are lovable family fur babies. This medium-sized breed has moderate activity levels, enjoying at least one hour of exercise and three-mile walks daily. Seniors can suffer from arthritis and hip dysplasia, which could affect their ability to walk far.
How often should I walk my Staffordshire Bull Terrier?
Medium-sized dogs with moderate activity levels, Staffies are intelligent, courageous dogs who love affection once they tire out. The breed benefits from at least one walk daily, going anywhere between 2.5 and four miles per day. Certain cancers can affect Staffies in later life alongside hip dysplasia, leading to limited mobility.
How often should I walk my Border Collie?
Intelligent, active and easily bored, Border Collies are medium-sized with moderate to high energy levels. They benefit from 90 minutes of formal exercise per day and are able to walk anywhere up to 4.5 miles. While hip dysplasia can affect seniors, the breed can also suffer from sensory neuropathy – a progressive disease that causes the deterioration of the sensory nerves and can be diagnosed by your vet.
How often should I walk my Boxer?
Once a high-energy working dog, boxers have become sweet-natured family pet with a high activity level needing 30-45 minute walks twice per day. As a medium/large-sized breed, boxers can walk between three and 4.5 miles at once. Puppies are recommended to get 20 minutes of formal exercise each day, while older Boxers may also benefit from shorter strolls as they can suffer from brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome, which is a respiratory condition, and hip dysplasia in later life.
How often should I walk my German Shepherd?
German Shepherds are famously loyal family companions that are clever and active. This medium/large breed has high activity levels and is capable of running alongside humans or even cyclists. They can walk between two and 4.5 miles daily, ideally in two 30-45 minute sessions. Hip and elbow dysplasia or Canine Degenerative Myelopathy (progressive hind limb paralysis) can impact senior German Shepherds' walking abilities.
How often should I walk my Labrador Retriever?
Devoted, friendly, hard-working dogs made for the water, Labrador Retrievers are a loveable large breed with moderate to high activity levels. They enjoy at least two hours of formal exercise per day and can walk up to six miles. It’s important to ensure your Labrador enjoys a nutritious diet as they can suffer from obesity alongside hip and elbow dysplasia in later life.
How often should I walk my Springer Spaniel?
Springer Spaniels are full of stamina and love exercise, with moderate to high energy levels. A medium-sized breed, these pooches need two hours of exercise each day and can walk for around six miles. As with many other older dog breeds, this stunning variety of Spaniel is susceptible to elbow and hip dysplasia, so look out for warning signs like stiffness and difficulty standing up.
How often should I walk my Hungarian Vizsla?
Hungarian Vizslas are a medium-sized breed with moderate to high activity levels. Regal, affectionate and active, these dogs need space to stretch their legs – and can walk a colossal six miles per day, ideally in two hour-long walks. Potentially affected by hip dysplasia in later life, Vizslas remain highly energetic animals and love their human companions.
Lap up the quality time and fresh air with your barking best friend, assured that they’re strolling safely. If you’re as passionate as us about making a #PositivePawprint, don’t forget to join our Miles and Meals Strava group, so we can donate food to dogs in need for every mile you run, walk, cycle, or swim with your four-legged friends.