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Walking the Dog: How Far Should You Go?

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family with dog

Jessie, the fabulously fit canine: Hi, there! Happy Friday! The weather has cooled down into the 80s where I live and it is nice to finally get outside for a walk that doesn’t feel like a sauna! As I go for walks, I see humans of all types out walking and running, too. While they can presumably go on for a far greater distance than many dogs, it does beg the question: How far should one walk a dog? Blocks? Miles? Feet? (If your dog is like our Yorkie-Poo friend Bolt, just getting to the end of the driveway is a trek!)

Well, some dogs do well with a two-block walk. Others can go two miles. The best rule of thumb is this: the shorter the legs of the dog, the less distance he can go. Obviously, smaller dogs will not be able to walk as far as larger dogs.

Additionally, take into consideration the breed. Short-legged dogs, such as bulldogs and dachshunds, probably won’t be able to walk as far as dogs with longer-legged builds.

Then consider the environment in which you will be walking your dog. Hot weather can cause over-heating in dogs plus it can heat up cement to the point where it hurts your dog’s paws. Dogs are able to go farther on dirt trails than on sidewalks or asphalt, as the rough concrete can hurt the pads of their feet.

You must also take into account the age of your dog and his or her overall health. If your dog is not used to exercise, gradually ease into it. Don’t just start off with a two-mile walk. Help him or her to build up endurance. If your dog suffers from arthritis, heart disease or any other health issues, those could affect for how long he or she can comfortably walk. Please discuss this matter with your dog’s veterinarian first.

The best thing to do is observe how your dog responds on your walks and take note of when he or she begins to pant heavily and acts tired. Plus, this is a great way to judge your dog’s health. For example, if he or she used to go for two miles but suddenly acts fatigued after two blocks, there may be an underlying health issue you will want to discuss with the veterinarian.

Happy trails! Thanks to for this helpful information! Now…where’s my leash???


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