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How many walks a day for a puppy?

Getting a new puppy is an exciting time! Those big eyes, fuzzy fur, and puppy breath are enough to make any dog lover’s heart melt. As a new puppy parent, you want to make sure your furry friend gets everything they need to grow into a happy, healthy dog. One of the most important things for a puppy is exercise and walks. But how many walks a day does a puppy need?

How much exercise does a puppy need?

Puppies have a lot of energy and need plenty of exercise and stimulation. A good rule of thumb is 5 minutes of exercise per month of age, twice a day. So, for example, a 3 month old puppy needs about 15 minutes of exercise twice a day for a total of 30 minutes per day.

This exercise should be a combination of walks and active playtime. Puppies shouldn’t go for long walks, as their growing bones and joints can’t handle too much forced exercise on leash. Free play in a safe area is best to get your puppy running around and burning off some of that puppy energy.

Exercise Guidelines by Age

Puppy Age Total Exercise Time Per Day
2 months 10 minutes
3 months 30 minutes
4 months 40 minutes
5 months 50 minutes
6 months 1 hour

These are general guidelines, but every puppy is different. If your puppy seems overtired or is panting excessively, it’s best to scale back and provide more rest time. Puppies need lots of sleep, about 18-20 hours per day, in addition to exercise and playtime.

How many walks per day?

Most puppies do well with two walks per day, one in the morning and one in the evening. The length of the walks should follow the 5 minute rule. For example, for a 3 month old puppy aim for two 15 minute walks per day. This gets them outdoors exploring and relieves energy and boredom.

In addition to the two daily walks, be sure to provide plenty of playtime, training sessions, and socialization to fully meet your puppy’s needs each day. Interactive toys like food puzzles and chew toys can also help keep your puppy engaged and stimulated between walks.

Walk Guidelines by Age

Puppy Age Length of Each Walk
2 months 5 minutes
3 months 10-15 minutes
4 months 15-20 minutes
5 months 20-25 minutes
6 months 25-30 minutes

Stick to softer surfaces like grass or dirt trails when walking your puppy. Pavement and concrete can be hard on developing joints. Bring along treats and toys to make walks fun rather than just functional. Keep walks positive and reward good leash manners to help train proper walking behavior.

When can puppies start going for walks?

Most veterinarians recommend waiting until a puppy is fully vaccinated before going for walks or visiting public areas. This helps prevent exposure to dangerous diseases before the puppy’s immune system is ready.

Puppies get their first round of vaccines at 6-8 weeks old, with boosters every 2-4 weeks until 16 weeks old. Check with your veterinarian, but most puppies can start going on brief walks outdoors after their second round of shots at 10-12 weeks old as long as the area is not high-traffic.

During the early weeks before walks, focus on indoor play and leash training in your home or yard to start building good habits. The socialization period for puppies is also very important starting at 8 weeks old. Be sure to safely expose your puppy to new sights, sounds, smells, people, and other dogs during this time even if you can’t go for proper walks yet.

Safety Tips for Puppy Walks

  • Use a front attaching harness for better control and to discourage pulling.
  • Bring tasty treats to reward good leash manners.
  • Start with 5 minute walks and slowly build up based on age.
  • Stop for frequent breaks to sniff, explore, and be a puppy!
  • Always stay positive and make it fun. Don’t drag an unwilling puppy.
  • Carry puppy when tired. Watch for panting or lagging behind.
  • Avoid high traffic areas before vaccines are complete.
  • Stick to softer surfaces like grass to protect joints.

The first few weeks that you can start taking your puppy on walks are a big milestone. Keep walks relaxed, positive and focused on socialization. This will help build good leash habits as your puppy grows up into a well-adjusted adult dog.

How to help a puppy get enough exercise

Puppies have a strong need to play, explore and be active. Getting the right amount of exercise each day helps puppies develop muscle, coordination, and good behavior habits. Here are some tips for helping your puppy get enough healthy exercise:

Provide interactive toys

Food puzzles, treat dispensing toys, chew toys and plush toys with squeakers are great for keeping your puppy entertained and stimulated. Rotate through different toys to keep things interesting.

Create a puppy play area

Set up a safe, enclosed area in your home or yard for free play. Include tunnels, ramps, balls and other toys for your puppy to climb on and chase.

Socialize with other puppies

Interacting with other puppies encourages active play and teaches social skills. Arrange play dates or join a positive puppy kindergarten class.

Schedule training sessions

Focused training like practicing commands or playing hide and seek engages your puppy’s mind and body.

Provide chew time

Chewing takes effort and relieves teething discomfort. Supervise with appropriate chews like bully sticks.

Incorporate breaks on walks

Let your puppy sniff, explore the environment and be a puppy on walks. Don’t force too much structured leash walking.

Raising an active, stimulated puppy takes work, but pays off with a more settled adult dog. Be creative in finding ways to exercise your puppy each day.

At what age can puppies go on long walks?

Puppies should not go on long, strenuous walks until they reach skeletal maturity. This helps prevent injury to developing joints and bones.

Large and giant breed puppies are still growing significantly until 12-18 months old. Smaller breeds tend to reach maturity between 6-12 months of age. Check with your veterinarian about the growth needs of your puppy’s specific breed.

Once your puppy has received final vaccines around 16 weeks old, you can gradually increase leash walking duration. But keep walks relaxed, with frequent breaks, and avoid hilly terrain or jogging until maturity.

Other lower impact activities like swimming, playing fetch, or hiking on soft trails can help exercise adult dogs without putting too much repetitive pressure on joints. Always watch your puppy for signs of fatigue like lagging behind, panting excessively or slowing down.

While long walks aren’t recommended for immature puppies, they should still get adequate exercise adjusted for their age. Two daily walks of 10-20 minutes, plus playtime, is sufficient for most puppies under 6 months old.

Signs Your Puppy is Ready for Longer Walks

  • Finishes shorter walks without getting tired
  • Easily keeps up with the pace of the walk
  • Does not lag behind or get distracted during walks
  • Breed appropriate age for skeletal maturity
  • Approval from your veterinarian

The amount of exercise a puppy can handle increases as they grow. Build up walks gradually, focus on positive training, and be patient. Allowing proper growth will lead to a healthy, happy walking companion for years to come.

Puppy walking safety tips

Puppy walking requires extra planning and precaution to keep your furry friend safe. Here are some important tips for walking your puppy:

Proper Identification

Have your puppy microchipped and wear a collar with ID tags containing your name, address and phone number. Being able to properly identify your puppy will help get them home if they ever get lost.

Use a Front Attach Harness

Harnesses give you better control than collars alone. Front attaching harnesses help steer your puppy away from unwanted behaviors like lunging or pulling.

Carry Water

Puppies can get dehydrated quickly. Bring water and a collapsible bowl with you, especially on warm days or long outings.

Watch for Overheating

Avoid walking during peak sun, heat, or humidity which can be dangerous for puppies. Bring shade and water on hikes or outings.

Mind the Surface

Walk puppies on grass or dirt trails, not hard pavement. Softer surfaces are easier on developing joints.

Be Aware of Hazards

Keep your puppy away from areas that could be contaminated with chemicals, pesticides or animal waste. Steer clear of dog parks until fully vaccinated.

Pick Up After Your Pup

Always bring waste bags. Properly dispose of your puppy’s waste so areas stay clean for all.

Bring First Aid Supplies

A basic first aid kit tailored for dogs allows you to treat minor wounds. Ask your vet for recommended items.

It’s also important to practice good leash habits like not letting your puppy walk in front and rewarding loose leash walking. Keep walks positive and set your puppy up for leash walking success as an adult dog.

How much walking is too much for a puppy?

It’s important not to over-exercise your puppy, as too much walking can cause joint and muscle damage. Watch for signs of fatigue and moder

Signs of Overwalking in Puppies

  • Lagging behind on walks
  • Laying down or stopping during walks
  • Panting excessively
  • Limping or soreness after walks
  • Hesitant to move around
  • Reluctant to go on walks
  • Red paw pads or limping the next day

Puppies may still get the “zoomies” and burst of manic energy even when overwalked. Look for overall reluctance to walk or play as the best indicator of overexertion.

If your puppy seems overtired from too much walking, give them a day or two of rest. Scale back walks distances and increase rest breaks. Walking on softer surfaces like grass can help reduce injury risk as well.

Every puppy is different, so closely observe your pup’s signals. It’s much better to undershoot exercise needs rather than overdo walks early on. You can gradually increase distances as your puppy ages and develops.

Conclusion

Getting the right amount of walks each day is important for your puppy’s growth and development. While exact amounts vary on age and breed, aim for two daily walks of 5-20 minutes in most puppies under 6 months old. Break walks up with training, playing and rest. Avoid long hikes or runs until your puppy has reached maturity, around 12-18 months for larger breeds. Let your puppy set the pace and watch for signs of fatigue. With a proper walking schedule tailored to your puppy, you’ll raise a healthy, happy companion.