How much exercise does my puppy need?

Kids running and playing with puppy dog outside_

Most puppies are little balls of energy who love to play and run about, but even so, they  need regular exercise to stay physically healthy. And if the numerous health benefits aren’t enough motivation, exercising your puppy also gives her the opportunity to socialise with other puppies, older dogs and friendly people, which is so important for her behavioural development. 

So, how much exercise does a puppy need?

Puppy care and health Bow Wow MeowThere are a number of factors to consider when answering this question, including her age, stage of development, health, size and breed, making each puppy’s exercise needs slightly different.


Puppy’s age and stage of development

Providing your puppy with the appropriate amount of exercise for her age and stage of development – not too little and, just as crucially,  not too much – is very important. Young puppies have different exercise requirements from older puppies, and while they may seem to have more energy than older dogs, puppies of all ages do not need  as much exercise as adult dogs.  

A beautiful shot of our 13 week old golden Cavapoo puppy


Puppy’s breed

Another factor to take into account is your puppy’s breed. Some breeds are notoriously more active than others; think Border Collies or Siberian Huskies! Then there are breeds such as Bulldogs who may struggle with exercise.  Ideally, your own and your pup’s activity levels match up well, and you aren’t a coach-potato with a super-charged dynamo or a fitness freak with a lazy lump!


Puppy’s breed size

Breed size is another important consideration when it comes to exercise. Toy and small breeds with short little legs need to take many more steps than larger dogs just to walk around the block, so may tire after just a short distance.


Pembroke welsh corgi puppy playing in the yard


And, while large and giant breed puppies may look like they are capable of a far longer walk or even a run, it’s not recommended. Studies have shown a correlation between excessive exercise and orthopaedic disorders in large-breeds, and experts recommend waiting until large breed pups reach physical maturity at around 18 to 24 months before ramping up their exercise programs.


Happy bobtail puppy running in summer


In conclusion…

As a general guideline, it’s advisable to start off taking it very easy with your puppy, keeping exercise limited to a couple of very short walks and play sessions. As you get to know her, look out for signs that she is tiring, and give her plenty of nap-time between sessions.

The American Kennel Club recommends several – at least three – short bursts of suitable activity throughout the day, including short walks and multiple play sessions. Because their bodies are constantly growing, the AKA explains, several short exercise sessions throughout the day is a much better option than going for one long walk, which could be too hard on a puppy’s developing body. 


Cute Australian Bulldog Puppy At Obedience Training


Of course, your puppy’s exercise needs will increase as she grows.

As a general guideline, the UK Kennel Club recommends exercising for 5 minutes for every month of age, twice per day. In other words, gradually increasing the duration of exercise sessions in line with her age, from 10 minutes at 2 months, to 15 minutes at three months, then to 30 minutes at 6 months, etc. 

However, every puppy is unique, and your vet is ultimately the best person to give you advice as to how much exercise is appropriate for your individual puppy, taking into consideration any health issues she may have. You can also talk to your breeder, breed enthusiast groups, or other owners of dogs of a similar breed. Finally, take the time to get to know your puppy – the more time you spend together, the more you will learn just how much activity she needs to keep her happy and content.



Learn more


We recommend that you take out pet insurance when you get your puppy, so that you will be covered for any potential issues or medical conditions from the start. You can insure your pet from 8 weeks of age, and Bow Wow Meow offers 2 months free in the first year for puppies, which makes it even more affordable.


10% discount for multiple pets   

This article is written by

Kerstin Keimling

Kerstin is our Digital Manager at Bow Wow Meow Pet Insurance. Kerstin dreams, talks and breathes dogs … and cats, and runs her own dog training business. She shares her life with a ginger trio of two cats and one dog.

Read more
*Please note, any pet insurance advice provided is general only. Refer to the applicable Product Disclosure Statement for details of Bow Wow Meow Pet Insurance cover.