Regular exercise is one of the best ways to help your dog maintain a happy and healthy lifestyle. Plus, it’s a great way for both of you to spend some time together.

Every dog is different, so you should tailor your dog’s exercise program to his breed, size health status, age, and personality. Read on to learn more about which exercises are best for your dog.

Exercising your toy or small breed dog

Most toy and small dogs don’t require a lot of exercise. Often they can get their daily cardio just by playing fetch or running with other dogs at the dog park.

Walks also make great exercise, but remember that it takes a lot of extra steps for your small dog to keep up with you, so make sure not to push your dog with overly long walks and keep an eye on him to make sure he’s not getting tired.

Brachycephalic breeds, or dogs with short or flat noses, can have difficulty breathing during intense exercise. Breeds like Bulldogs, Pugs, and Pekingese should avoid strenuous exercise such as jogging or swimming.

Even though most small dogs are fine with just a little exercise each day, some small breeds like Jack Russell Terriers have a lot of energy. High-energy breeds do well with plenty of physical and mental exercise, so you may want to introduce your dog to agility training to burn off his extra energy.

Exercising your medium-sized dog

Medium dogs tend to have a lot more stamina than small dogs, making them better jogging buddies. In fact, many medium dogs may have more energy than you! If that’s the case, teach your dog to fetch a ball or a flying disc. It’s a great way for your dog to get the exercise he needs — and it’s not very much work for you.

Herding breeds like Australian Shepherds or Border Collies need a lot of exercise, both physical and mental. Agility training requires a lot of stamina and focus, but it’s a great way to exercise your dog’s body and brain. Even if your dog isn’t a professional agility champion, you can still teach him a few basic tricks like going up and down a ramp or jumping through a hoop.

Exercising your large or giant breed dog

Man large dogs are susceptible to joint injuries and hip dysplasia, and strenuous jogging can put stress on a large dog’s bones and joints.  If you want to take your large dog jogging, try a route with soft ground or grass or choose a walk instead. And if your large dog likes swimming, it can be an excellent way to exercise his muscles without putting stress on his joints.

Retrievers, of course, thrive on playing fetch. If your dog loves to chase tennis balls, try teaching him to catch flying discs for an extra challenge. And if he’s a strong swimmer, he’ll probably love dock diving and retrieving dummies.

It’s also recommended that you don’t feed your dog right before or after strenuous exercise, as some large and giant breed dogs are prone to bloat, which occurs when gas accumulates in a dog’s stomach and causes it to rotate or twist on its axis. This excess air in the stomach of dogs with bloat primarily comes from swallowing air.

Exercise tips for all sizes of dogs

  • Start with a slow jog or brisk walk for 5 to 10 minutes before exercising to reduce the risk of muscle tearing.
  • Watch out for injuries or signs of fatigue like trembling or heavy breathing.
  • Make sure your dog stays hydrated before, during, and after exercise.
  • Keep an eye on the weather. Avoid exercising outside in extreme heat or direct sun.
  • Cool down with a slow jog or brisk walk for 5 to 10 minutes after exercising to help prevent muscle tightness.
  • Check with your veterinarian before starting a new exercise program — especially if your dog has any medical problems.

As with humans, your dog's best exercise plan coupled with the right nutrition will help him live a healthy lifestyle. Create your dog's blend of Just Right® dog food that's personalized to his unique nutritional needs and lifestyle - including his breed size and activity level.

BONUS READ: Not only is taking time to exercise with your dog a great way to help your dog maintain an ideal body condition, but it also helps to promote a healthy lifestyle for the both of you.