Updated: Jun 21
The reason it’s good to be cautious when exercising a puppy is because a puppy’s growth plates don’t close until they are around 12 months old (it varies , depending on the breed), and some vets say puppies that experience heavier exercise are more likely to develop joint issues. It’s good to lean on the side of caution and not overdo it with a puppy’s exercise.
Although a lot can be said for calculating your puppy walks depending on their age and vaccination status, ultimately your determination of how much to walk a puppy will come down to their ability to physically handle exercise, which can be enormously affected by their breed.
Each puppy is unique!
Toy dog breeds simply can’t handle long walks due to their small size, need for frequent feedings, and tiny legs. On the other hand, toy breeds mature very quickly, so they can jump and even try agility training from a relatively young age. Giant dog breeds, on the other hand, like the can handle relatively long walks since it takes much less effort for them to cover more ground than a tiny breed. However, the larger the dog, the longer it takes for their bones and joints to fully mature. Even though it may look like your enormous six-month-old Mastiff can handle a day-long hike, you risk creating orthopedic problems in later life if you push them too far in puppyhood.
Heat tolerance is another factor to consider, with snub-nosed breeds unable to handle exercising in hot climates
When Should I Start Walking My Puppy And How Far?
There are two main factors to take into account when you are working out when is it safe to take your puppy outside. One factor is the specific exercise needs of your puppy, which will depend on your puppy’s age, breed, and some other factors. Also are your puppy’s vaccinations all done?. If you’re wondering when can I take my puppy outside, the generally accepted answer is that puppies shouldn’t venture out into the real world until at least two weeks after their final puppy vaccination.
Your vet will be able to give you a specific timeline for your puppy’s vaccination schedule so you can plan puppy preschool or play dates with other dog owners but, in general, the answer to the question, “When can puppies go outside?” is not until two weeks after their puppy vaccinations schedule is complete.
Always start with very short walks and build up over time. If your puppy sits or lies down during your walk, that’s a clear sign that your puppy needs to rest and the walk is over. Pick up your puppy, walk straight back home, and let them rest. They’re politely trying to tell you that they’ve reached their walking limit.
While all puppy walks should start short and gradually increase over time, in general, medium-sized dogs can handle longer distances than smaller dogs. Very large breeds may look like they can handle a long walk, but because of how slowly their joints and bones develop they can be at risk of orthopedic problems later in life if they have too much exercise in puppyhood.
How Often Should You Walk Your Puppy?
Your puppy will be going outside very regularly in the first few months, so each trip outside could be treated as a tiny walk. A short stroll around the garden or a walk to the end of the driveway and back each time you take your puppy out to go to the toilet is more than enough at this stage.
As your puppy gets older, you can keep most of the outdoor toilet sessions quicker and turn two or three of them into slightly longer walks.
If you’re wondering how much exercise should my puppy get, a general rule of thumb is to take your puppy’s age in months and then multiply it by five to work out how many minutes your puppy can walk for each session. This is based on an average of two walks per day. For example, a four-month-old puppy can be walked for 20 minutes, twice a day, while a seven-month-old puppy can be walked for 35 minutes, twice a day.
Of course, this is simply a starting point and does not take into account other vitally important factors like the size, breed, and temperament of your puppy.
At What Age Can I Walk My Puppy?
Your puppy’s first outdoor walks don’t so much come down to their age but where they are with their vaccination regime. Rather than wondering what age do puppies start walking, chat to your veterinarian about starting your puppy vaccination schedule as soon as possible so they can be fully vaccinated and ready to head outdoors.
If your puppy is otherwise fit and healthy and your vet is happy to administer their vaccinations on time, your puppy could be fully vaccinated and ready to head outdoors by 16 to 18 weeks of age.
Of course, just because your puppy is fully vaccinated and protected from illnesses like parvovirus doesn’t mean that they’re ready to go for day-long hikes. When your puppy is very young, “walks” will mainly consist of a short venture outside to go to the bathroom, with much more emphasis on indoor play than long exercise sessions.
If your puppy is not fully vaccinated, he has a greater risk of catching parvo or other diseases on walks.
The first couple of months is bonding time for you and your puppy. Work on recall and other commands.
Once you have mastered these and your puppy is fully vaccinated then it is time to go out and have some fun ☺️
When can puppies be around other dogs? This is a good question for your vet. Generally, it’s safe to introduce your puppy to adult dogs that are vaccinated. If you have friends with calm, friendly dogs it’s great to start socializing your puppy right away.
Always ask your vet first :-) It’s also a great idea to sign your puppy up for a puppy class most vets have these. This is a great way to work on training and socialization at the same time.
Genetics affect how far a puppy can walk. Genetics are a factor for predicting whether or not a pup will develop hip dysplasia/elbow dysplasia. It is more important to go through a good breeder that does genetic testing than it is to reduce a puppy’s exercise. Other factors include weight, overall health and diet. Overweight dogs and puppies will struggle more.
Here at Free Range Pooches we highly recommend Pet Insurance
Accidents happen, and vet bills can be expensive, we recommend PD Insurance to ensure your new puppy is safe no matter what happens.
All our puppies at Free Range Pooches go home with PD Insurance.