Exercise is one of the key things every dog owner should provide their dog with – especially active breeds like the lab. So, how much exercise do labs need to stay healthy and fit? Is there such a thing as too much exercise? Are there lab-specific exercises? And what about puppies and senior dogs?
All these questions are key if you want to take good care of your dog. So, let’s go over each of them below.
How Much Exercise Do Labs Need?
The magic number for raising a healthy, happy, and fit Labrador is 80 minutes a day. At least, that’s the number for the average adult lab. Some dogs are more energetic and need a bit more while others are content with about an hour. Obviously, you shouldn’t force your lab to run more than it wants and feels comfortable with.
How Often Should A Labrador Be Walked?
Two walks a day are ideal for most labs. Three can be great too if you can accommodate it but some playtime at home or in the yard can work as well. If the main two walks are extensive enough and include playtime in the dog park, your lab should be fine throughout the rest of the day.
How Much Exercise Does A Labrador Puppy Need?
Many people make the mistake of trying to exercise a puppy as if it’s an adult dog. This is as wrong as trying to exercise a pre-teen as an adult – they are too young for that. Simply put, a puppy’s body isn’t fully developed yet and excessive exercise can be quite harmful.
Instead, puppies under three months of age basically don’t need to go outside. After that, you can start with two short walks a day. Tailor the exact duration of each walk based on your puppy’s preferences. Increase it gradually over time until you reach 80-90 minutes a day around your dog’s 1-year birthday.
For a more personalized tip, consult with your vet. He or she should know your pup’s individual needs.
Learn more about: What Size Collar For Lab Puppy Should You Get And When?
How Much Should You Exercise A Senior Lab?
Older dogs tend to have less energy than young and middle-aged dogs. Additionally, seniors often have some health issues such as joint pain or outright Hip and Elbow Dysplasia. So, such dogs obviously needless and better-measured exercise per day.
The exact duration and type of exercise will once again depend on your dog’s individual needs. So – consult with your vet about exactly how much and what exercise your particular senior lab needs.
Safety Concerns and Tips With Labrador Exercise
Over-exerting a lab, even a healthy adult one, can have quite a few unpleasant consequences for the dog. Both exhaustion and injury are very likely when you suddenly start asking more from your dog than usual. This is a very common problem when people take their dogs on rare hikes.
How Much Exercise Do Labs Need Compared To Other Breeds?
Labrador Retrievers, together with Golden Retrievers, are definitely up there when it comes to high-energy dog breeds that need a lot of time outdoors and in the dog park. Australian shepherds, Boxers, Huskies, Weimaraners, many Pointers and Setters, Rhodesian Ridgebacks, and some other breeds are arguably even more energetic. But, even compared to them, labs need almost equal amounts of energy.
In other words, if you’re picking your next dog based on how much time you’re going to need to spend outdoors with them, count labs as one of the most energetic dogs out there.
American Lab Vs English Lab Exercise Needs
We mentioned that every lab is different and not all dogs have the same exercise needs. This is especially true when you look at the difference between American and English Labrador Retrievers. The latter are typically shorter, stockier, and calmer than their American cousins. So, while English labs still need 1-2 hours of exercise a day, they will usually be more content with just a walking pace around the park or a light jog.
Do Labs Need A Yard Or Can They Live In An Apartment?
Most labs will definitely be happy to have a yard to play in for a few hours every afternoon. If it’s spacious enough it can be the perfect supplement to their exercise needs. Of course, having a yard doesn’t negate the need for two 45-minute walks a day – it just adds to them.
At the same time, having a yard isn’t really a necessity. If you give your lab ample time outdoors and some playtime in a spacious living room, you can get by without a yard too. But it does help.
As an additional note – if you do have a yard, make sure it is well-fenced. And the emphasis is on “well” – labs can easily jump up to 5 feet (1.5 meters) so they are quite the escape artists.
Types Of Exercise Suitable For Labs
Labs aren’t a breed that will feel good with just a walk around the block. Some light jogging to and from the dog park is a good start but you’ll need to plan for some off-leash activities in the park itself too. These can include playing fetch (these are Retriever dogs after all), playing with balls, or really any other playtime with toys.
Swimming is also an excellent exercise for labs, especially if they’ve started exhibiting some joint issues. Labs are a “water dog” breed after all – they were literally bred for swimming.
So, How Much Exercise Do Labs Need Overall and Can You Accommodate That?
About 80 to 120 minutes of outdoor exercise are great for most adult labs. This includes the trips to and from the dog park but it’s best if you don’t spend the whole time just walking. Different dogs have different needs and preferences so work with your dog to find out what it likes and needs. All in all, the lab isn’t a dog for people who prefer to spend their days indoors. You’d better be a fan of jogging or at least thinking of picking it up if you’re getting a lab.