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How much playtime does my dog need?

 by bora on 28 Jan 2021 |
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Playtime benefits our dogs mental and physically, but how much is enough? Here are some guidelines to help prioritize play with your pet.

Between busy work schedules and spending time with your human family, it can be easy to let quality time with Fido fall to the wayside. Depending on his age and breed, your dog has specific exercise and activity needs that are important to prioritize, however, for his mental and physical wellbeing. In turn, a calm and happy pet will contribute to your overall quality of life, too.

Many factors come into play when determining how much playtime your canine companion truly needs and age is one of the most important. Puppies need plenty of quality time as they master basic motor skills, obedience and other crucial components of growing into an adult. A good rule of thumb is to offer your young pup at least five minutes of exercise for each month of age until he is fully grown, and do this twice a day. If your pet is four months old, for example, try to take him on two twenty-minute jaunts a day.

As dogs mature, they require less attention, but have much more stamina for sustained activity from hiking and walking to playing games of fetch at the dog park. While you should work to meet your individual dog’s playtime and exercise needs, must adult dogs dog do well with 30 minutes to two hours of exercise spread across a day. These can be a range of activities from trips to the dog park to agility training, walking or playing fetch in the back yard. These activities do not just stimulate your dog both physically and mentally, but also improve the bond you share and can help a range of behavioral problems by keeping Fido from becoming overly bored or energetic.

As he enters his senior years, your pet will lead a slower pace of life. Though aging dogs’ activities levels may change, however, they still need plenty of quality time with their human family. Continue to spend at least 30 minutes a day actively engaging with your pet in gentler playtime, based around his specific physical abilities and needs. Many older pet parents take their dogs swimming, which allows Fido to engage in activity without putting pressure on sensitive joints.

Dogs’ exercise needs also vary by breed, with many smaller pets requiring lower activity levels then their mid- to large- size peers. Likewise, giant breed such as Newfoundlands tend to require slightly less activity, as do short-nosed dogs such as bulldogs and pugs, which are prone to labored breathing and require less-active lifestyles.

Playing with your pet not only improves his quality of life, but helps get you up and moving. Watch your individual dog to make sure you are meeting his unique exercise needs. If he is restless, overweight, or engaging in destructive behaviors, chances are both you and your companion will benefit from increased time engaged in play or training.

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