The Importance of Exercise for Dogs

exercise for dogs – dog need exercise

The importance of exercise for dogs is crucial to your pet’s health, but we don’t always take the time to give them the workout they deserve. Thankfully, no matter how small your home is or how busy your schedule is, there’s always time to find a moment to exercise.

Why does a dog need exercise?

Just like humans, dogs need exercise to maintain heart health, to keep busy, to develop their brains, and to burn calories. So, as canine caretakers, it’s our job to create a routine that includes daily exercise for our dogs. When dogs don’t get enough exercise, they may:

  • Gain weight
  • Become depressed
  • Have hyperactive moments
  • Suffer from lack of endurance
  • Exhibit destructive behavior

As you can see, ignoring the need for daily exercise can have negative impacts on your dog’s health.

How much exercise does a dog need?

All dog breeds need exercise. Exercise for dogs is one of the main components of dog care. However, some dog breeds need more training than others. For instance, breeds with high energy, such as a Border Collie, will require more exercise than say, a Bulldog. In general, a healthy dog should get 30 minutes to 2 hours of exercise per day. This includes their daily walks if they are brisk.

Senior dogs also need exercise, but their endurance may not be what it once was. Eventually, her runs may become walks, and she may be limited to a few turns before she becomes winded. When it comes to exercising your senior dog, talk to your veterinarian. They’ll help you decide what’s best for your pet.

The important thing to remember is to meet your dog where they are. If your dog suffers from a medical condition, it will impact their ability to exercise. According to the American Kennel Club, “Your dog’s health is also important. If your adult dog has a medical condition, such as hip dysplasia or heart or respiratory issues, talk with your vet about an appropriate exercise routine that will help him stay healthy without causing him discomfort.”

What exercise for dogs can you do at home?

Whether you want to play indoors or outdoors, there are plenty of exercises and activities for dogs you can do to get your dog’s heart pumping that’s more exciting than their daily walk:


This go-to exercise for dogs is a fantastic activity. Work on your throwing arm while your dog runs to locate the ball. The best part about playing fetch? You can do it almost anywhere: inside, at the dog park, in a forest clearing, or your yard. Wherever you have space to move, you can play fetch.


Nothing like tapping into the great outdoors for exercise opportunities. Exercise for dogs outside is easy when you have access to some green space. Chicago is full of dog-friendly forest preserves. Find ones with hiking trails so that you and your pup can get some fresh air and navigate the rugged terrain. Forest preserves are open year-round. So, if you are comfortable hiking in the winter, and you prepare your dog for the temperatures, this is a year-round activity.


Obedience might not seem like an exercise, but it is. Training your dog to follow a series of commands offers the kind of mental stimulation some dogs thrive one. You can work in some fun tricks such as “playing dead” or twirling that require more bodywork and thus increase their heart rates up.  You may consider putting your dog through a dog obedience course to get some physical and mental exercise.

If your dog excels in obedience training and you wish to offer a more challenging routine, agility training might be right up their alley! Agility training can be done in a larger facility, like the one at K9U, or done at home from a course of your own making. All you need are some hula-hoops, boxes, and broom handles, and you’ve got yourself a homemade agility course.


Using stairs in your home or a flight outside is an excellent way to get your and your dog’s heart pumping. This short exercise only needs to be repeated a couple of times to give your dog a good workout. Just remember that if your dog struggles with joint issues, this might be the wrong workout for them.

Create Memories While Keeping your Dog in Top Physical and Mental Shape with Regular Exercise 

Starting an exercise routine with your dog doesn’t have to be hard. In fact, it’s a great way for both of you to get a workout. Remember, you can work exercise into your day in short bursts, either by playing fetch indoors or running up the stairs instead of taking the elevator. At the end of the day, it’s about making an exercise plan that works for you and your pet.

Sign up for our newsletter to stay connected and learn more about our services.