How do you keep your dog healthy?

From our newspapers to our newsfeeds, we are constantly reminded that daily exercise is essential. But keeping fit doesn’t just apply to humans: man’s best friend needs plenty of exercise, too.

Just like us, dogs need to stay active to prevent potential health problems arising in the future. But how much exercise does the average dog really do? We invited 100 people to trial PitPat: a leading activity monitor for dogs. Similar to a fitness tracking device, PitPat attaches to your canine’s collar and monitors activity throughout the day.

So, how did our pooches fare? Take a look below:

  • Our customer’s dogs enjoyed more exercise as the week went on. On Mondays, the dogs were least active, in contrast to Sunday, when they did the most exercise. The level of activity increased incrementally as the week went on.
  • As most owners worked weekdays, the dogs got most of their exercise on Saturdays and Sundays.
  • The most common time for a dog walk was between 9-10am, and again between 3.30-5pm. The most popular walking time for dog owners was at 10am.

How often should you walk your dog?

Dogs love a long walk: fresh air, lots of space and, with the chance of seeing other pups, going out for a wander can be an exciting prospect. But did you know that dogs need walks to help with their mental wellbeing, too?

Just like humans, some time out can help with taming anxiety and calming nerves. It’s thought that if a dog doesn’t get enough exercise, hyper-activity and obsessive-compulsive behaviours can become a regular occurrence. This can be distressing for both pet and owner.

We took to Facebook and Twitter to see how often your dogs went for walkies…

“I take them twice a day. They meet their friends, run, play fight, play ball, chase through the bushes. They go out in the park for about three to four hours, but also in the garden too”.
Margaret Bithell on Facebook

“Our Oscar loves his walkies: three times a day for at least two miles each time, weather permitting”.
Pam Burgess on Facebook
“Maizie gets three walks every day, including a swim and a full days outing most weekends”.
Karen Lee on Facebook

How do you socialise your dog?

Dogs have long been regarded as man’s best friend, but it is not only human affection they pine for: dogs love being around other canines, too.

Taking your dog to a public space is a good way to familiarise them with other dogs and humans. Most dogs will tell you they are happy by showing a few tell-tale signs: they exaggerate their movements, enjoy playing role reversal games with their respective pooch, and can play fight without being too rough.

If you think your dog is showing signs of agitation during play, such as slinking their tails downwards and pulling their lead towards home, try not to give up on them too early on: it is likely they are simply unfamiliar with the surroundings. If you persevere and get them used to being around other dogs, they’ll soon be making new friends!

“I’m a dog walker. Along with my own dogs, my clients’ dogs are stimulated by different environments! Remember to give them a bit of adventure, and take them to different places!!”
Arlene Carson on Facebook
“We took our Labradoodle to a doggie day care from the age of 12 weeks one day a week; he was able to play and socialise with other puppies. Best thing we ever did”.
Elaine Parry on Facebook

“We take him to doggie day care twice a week. This is great fun; a big field, any number of dogs varying in size from Yorkie to Great Dane, just running around and playing, having fun for anything up to 2 hours”.
Caroline Murphy on Facebook

Need tips on keeping your dog as cool as a cucumber? Our online community have some wise words…

When do you take your dog for a walk?

Many owners will have their own routine when it comes to walking times, but the reality is that it doesn’t matter when you do it, just as long your dog is getting enough exercise to sustain their weight.

If you are unsure whether your dog is getting enough exercise, a good rule of thumb is to make sure they are getting at least five minutes of exercise for every month of their age, i.e. if your dog is four months old, you should try to walk them for around 20 minutes each day. As your dog gets older, you can start to work out a walking schedule to suit their size and weight. As you spend more and more time with your pooch, a walking routine will come naturally, so don’t feel pressured to walk them only when everybody else does!

People walk their dogs at all times of the day, just take a look at our online community and their daily routines…

“My lot get a five mile walk every morning and a two mile walk every night, as well as a couple of hours a week of agility and mental exercises (just as important as physical exercise) like hide and seek and food puzzles”.
Michelle Jones on Facebook
“Always two regular walks a day for both of mine. At least two hours in morning (one hour off of their lead when they are fetching their balls), one hour late afternoon both on and off their leads (for exploring) and a few half hour road walks once or twice a week. Both love it!”
Brenda Baughan on Facebook
“I walk my dog 30 minutes in the afternoon and 30 minutes in the evening every day (Monday-Friday). On Saturday I took my dog for a 2-4 hour single walk, and did the same on Sunday”.
Aida Monica on Facebook

“Two hours of walks per day, access to a large garden for play and exploration, and five hours once a week at doggy playschool”.
Sylvia Williams on Facebook

What do you do to keep your dog healthy? Get in touch with us on Facebook or Twitter, and tell us your thoughts! If you are interested in seeing how active your dog is, take a look at the PitPat site for more information about their app.