Taking your dog for a walk is fun right? Of course it is! You get to breathe in fresh air, spend time with your furry buddy, and get in some exercise while exploring new areas.
But all this fun outside can take a toll on your dog, and you may find that they don’t seem to enjoy their walks as much as they used to. There are a number of possible reasons for this, perhaps your dog is afraid or threatened by another dog on the normal route, or it may be a physical ailment.
It may also be that you’ve been walking too far for too long, leaving you dog exhausted and weak. Knowing how far you should walk you dog is imperative. Remember, your dog can’t tell you “Human, I’m tired. Can we go home?”
Signs of Walking Too Far
Make sure to pay attention to your dog’s behaviour and mood. Although each dog has it’s own personality, you can watch for five common signs that you’ve gone the distance with your dog.
- Excessive panting. Yes, a walk is exercise and most dogs will start panting after just a few minutes, but monitor when your dog seems to be panting more than normal, basing it from previous excursions.
- Slowing down. A tired dog will often display low energy by slowing down. If you find you are walking ahead of your dog and urging them along, it is most likely a sign that you should have have turned your nose towards home a good while back.
- If ever you notice your dog limping, even slightly, immediately turn back for home. This often signals joint pain or sore spots in the paw pads.
- Body language. Dogs may not be able to talk, but they are expressive! A tail pointing low or a low drooped head are indicators to stop the walk and head home. There will be a clear difference from a wagging tail and curious nose at the beginning of the walk.
- Lack of exploration. Just like the last point, dogs are curious and want to explore EVERYTHING! They will tug and pull (albeit bad walking etiquette) just to get closer to that scent! If they start to give up on the thrill of the hunt, it probably means they’re tired.
Deciding When to Call It Quits
There is no rule about how far a dog should walk, but a healthy dog can walk for approximately 30 minutes continuously. Older dogs and puppies are better suited for shorter walks. The more active breeds may enjoy longer walks or even short runs.
Smaller breeds may not be able to walk the distance as bigger breeds. Remember, the time is more important than the distance when determining how far is safe to walk your dog.
Be aware of the weather. Hot days equal shorter walks by about 30% to 50%, especially if there is limited access to water. And on very cool days, you can walk a little longer.
If you are just starting a walking routine with your dog, be sure to start with shorter times and distances, slowly increasing over time and allow you dog to build stamina to the added intensity. Keep the walk fun with lots of praise for you dog, and everything will go smoothly.
At Bow-Wow we pride ourselves on offering the Best Dog Walking service in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire and the Cotswolds… come and meet us, see where your dogs will play and enjoy themselves when they’re with us. Also, read our Guide to Choosing the Right Dog Boarding.