Here’s how often you should walk your dog, according to a veterinarian

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All dog parents want to do right by their furry friends. One of the ultimate ways to give your dog the best care possible is to make sure they are as active as they need to be. The top way to get your dog moving? Going on a walk.

But how often should you actually be walking your dog? It’s a question all dog parents ask themselves at one point — and it turns out the answer is as unique as your fur child’s personality.

“How often you need to exercise or walk your dog will depend on their age, breed, size and if they have any existing health conditions,” Dr. Whitney Miller, chief veterinarian at Petco tells In The Know by Yahoo. “Your pet’s veterinarian can help determine if walking is an appropriate exercise for your dog, and how much they need to walk each day.”

While how often to walk your dog is very individual to your specific pup, there are some helpful guidelines to give you a general idea of your dog’s needs.

“The average adult dog needs about 20 to 45 minutes of moderate exercise twice a day, which can include a brisk walk,” Dr. Miller says. “However, active-breed dogs like border collies and Australian shepherds can need two to three hours of exercise and activity each day, and very small or aging dogs may get all the exercise they need just from walking around the house.”

Pro tip: If you want to track how much activity your dog gets in a day, fitness trackers for dogs actually exist. Smart collars with activity monitors, like the Fi Smart Dog Collar, can give you a breakdown of your dog’s daily exertion.

Fi Smart Dog Collar, $149

Credit: Amazon

The benefits of walking your dog regularly

Various types of exercise benefit your dog, from playing a simple game of fetch to an impromptu case of the zoomies. But walking has some unique benefits that make it a pet parent go-to.

“Going on a walk is good for your pet’s whole health,” Dr. Miller says. “They can experience positive benefits to physical health through exercise, mental health through training and social health through interactions with their environment and other people and pets.”

She adds, “Additionally, allowing your dog to stop and sniff their environment can be good enrichment for them. Sniffing is one of the main ways your dog experiences their environment and there can be lots to take in on a walk, even in a familiar area.”

Plus, going on a walk is a good way to incorporate training into your daily schedule, helping you establish or maintain an important connection with your pup.

“Going on a walk with your dog creates an opportunity for additional bonding with your pet as you work on training and good manners together,” Dr. Miller says. “Creating a good line of communication between you and your dog, ensuring they are checking in with you frequently and practicing positive reinforcement training can all help strengthen your connection.”

Not to mention it’s an excellent excuse to get you out of the house, too. 

How to keep up with the robust recommendations

But there are things that can get in the way of walking your dog as often as recommended. Maybe you have a busy schedule, or you can’t physically keep up with your dog’s vet-recommended routine. If that’s the case, don’t be discouraged. There are plenty of other options to keep your dog active.

“If you can’t find the time to go on a walk with your dog every day, other forms of exercise can be equally beneficial to your pet’s physical health,” Dr. Miller says. “Playing fetch at the dog park, in the backyard or even in the hallway for the recommended amount of exercise time can be enough to keep your dog active for the day. Swimming, agility training and other forms of exercise can also take the place of a walk for many pets.”

Dr. Miller recommends checking in with your vet to clear any new forms of exercise before including them in your dog’s regular routine. And if all else fails, a dog walker may be a good investment.

If you are looking for some top-rated pet accessories to make sure your pup is safe and secure on your walkies, check out these top-rated options below.

Wild One Dog Harness in Spruce, $47.99

Credit: Petco

Many pet rescues and vets recommend walking your dog with a harness (like this top-rated option by Wild One) rather than directly from a collar to keep pressure off your dog’s neck and throat. The American Kennel Club doesn’t report a preference but has a helpful guide on the pros and cons of collars and harnesses.

2. Reddy LED Dog Lead, $39.99

Credit: Petco

Make sure you and your pup are visible in any weather condition with this LED leash by Reddy. It’s USB rechargeable and has a strong clip to prevent any escapes.

3. Flexi Comfort Retractable Dog Leash, $22.64 (Orig. $29.99)

Credit: Petco

Retractable leashes can give your dog some freedom when walking in a park or less traveled area. This highly rated option has a thick tape-like leash instead of a thin string, giving you and your pet more security.

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