Every dog owner has a duty of care to make sure that their dog
gets at least one walk every day. Unlike most activities dog
walking is something that the whole family can enjoy and better
still, it doesn't cost anything at all.
Puppies need much less exercise than fully-grown dogs. If you
over-exercise a growing puppy you can overtire it and damage its
developing joints, causing early arthritis. A good rule of thumb is
a ratio of five minutes exercise per month of age (up to twice a
day) until the puppy is fully grown, i.e. 15 minutes when three
months old, 20 minutes when four months old etc. Once they are
fully grown, they can go out for much longer.
It is important that puppies and dogs go out for exercise every
day in a safe and secure area, or they may become frustrated. Time
spent in the garden (however large) is no substitute for exploring
new environments and socialising with other dogs. (Make sure your
puppy is trained to recall so that you are confident that he will
return to you when called).
You should never exercise your puppy on a full stomach as this can
contribute to bloat.
Who is it suitable for?
All dogs and dog owners can and should get walking. The
government recommends that we get at least 30 minutes of exercise
each day and this is something that everybody can achieve, and go
beyond, on a daily dog walk. Dogs' exercise needs vary according to
the breed that you have but every dog should have at least one walk
a day, often two. Use our Breed Information
Centre to find out more about the exercise needs of your
How good is it for me and my dog?
Although dog walking is not a high intensity work out it is
great for cardiovascular development, strengthening of muscles and
bones and lowering blood pressure. And there are many social
benefits as well because people who go walking with their dogs are
often believed to be friendly and approachable by others. For your
dog, walking is essential for its long term health and fitness -
keeping the muscles strong and supple and ensuring that it doesn't
get overweight. With one third of our pets estimated to be
overweight as a result of their owners' sedentary lifestyles,
walking is an essential part of being a responsible dog owner.
What do I need to remember?
- If you're planning on making a day of it when you set out for a
walk then remember to check out the Kennel Club's Open for Dogs
website first, which will show you the kind of pubs, hotels and
other pit stops that are dog friendly.
- Take a pedometer out with you so that you can measure the
number of steps that you walk throughout the day.
- Always take poo bags with you so that you can dispose safely
and cleanly of your dog's mess. This helps to ensure that places
remain friendly towards dogs and dog walkers and that dog bans
aren't imposed, spoiling the enjoyment of open places for other dog
- Whilst walking your dog, it is important that you are aware of
the Countryside Code to keep your pet safe, protect the environment
and show that you are a responsible dog owner. You are obliged by
law to ensure your dog wears a collar and an identification tag
stating your name and address (Control of Dogs Order 1992). You can
purchase tags and have them engraved online here. In
addition, cleaning up after your dog is one of the key areas of
responsibilities for dog owners, especially when in public spaces.
You can face a considerable fine if you do not.
- If you lose your dog or find a stray dog on a walk here's
information on what to do.
Places to walk your dogs
Below is just a small selection of resources which can provide
suggested walks you and your dog can enjoy.
Commission - Help and advice on walking your pet in British
- Woodland Trust - Find woodlands managed by the
Trust to walk your dog in
- British Waterways - Information on how you and
your dog can discover Britain's 4,000 miles of rivers, lakes and
- The Ridgeway - This national trail follows a
route through the countryside used since prehistoric times.
- Your Dog
Magazine - Each month, Your Dog features walks by UK county
that you and your four legged companion can go on. Every walk
featured is assessed for its degree of difficulty, dog friendliness
and the amount off off-lead walking en-route.
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