How much exercise does Labrador need? I’ll discuss the answer to this in today’s article. Getting a Labrador and keeping it as a pet is no easy task for most parents, as these medium-large sized dogs require a different kind of care from smaller and easier pets.
While it is true that smaller dog breeds tend to be more aggressive and active, the kind of exercise they can do and handle is completely different from that of Labradors.
Labradors are known to be one of the most athletic dog breeds on the planet, as evidenced by the fact that you often see these breeds in competitions and even are even used as K-9 units by the police. Aside from the police, the military also often uses Labradors for various operations.
Given all that information, you can now safely assume that it is your responsibility to give your Labrador the exercise it needs. This article will tell you how much exercise a Labrador needs, as well as some exercises you can do with your Labrador to keep them active and healthy, as is expected of this athletic breed.
Expected Labrador Energy Levels
Labradors were initially bred for physically demanding tasks like hunting. This means that aside from their adorable looks, Labradors are very physically capable of handling exercise worth a whole day, especially if they are trained the proper way.
Labradors are more than capable of swimming as well, with some being able to retrieve items underwater. This alone is enough to prove that Labradors have naturally very high energy levels, which means they need to exercise lest they become restless.
When you’re new to raising Labradors or keeping dogs as pets at all, then you should already expect and not be scared of a messy house. It takes a lot of patience to raise this athletic breed because they will look for ways to spend their energy if you won’t help them.
The Effects of Little to No Exercise at All
Humans may live for quite some time with little to no exercise, but Labradors are completely different.
A lot of issues could sprout up if you give little to no room for your Labrador to exercise, and your patience will be depleted for sure. However, in these situations, you should know that your Labrador is not to blame.
One of the problems that could happen if you give your Labrador little to no exercise is that they become restless and look for different ways to use up their energy.
This can lead to a very destructive behavior, such as excessive barking, chewing, and digging. If you want to keep your house in tip-top shape, you’d do your best to avoid this behavior.
With the hyperactivity issue going on, you also need to be wary of your Labrador trying to escape with every chance it gets. This can happen any time you leave the door open or when you accidentally let go of the leash when taking them on walks.
This is very dangerous because your dog could get into car accidents or not find its way back home.
Lastly, another problem you’ll be dealing with when you fail to meet your Labrador’s exercise needs is obesity. This breed is prone to gaining weight faster than most because they have a large appetite.
Obese Labradors are said to be prone to more disease and have a decreased lifespan. They are also prone to cancer, diabetes, heart problems, joint problems, and urinary bladder stones.
If you want to see your Labrador live life to its fullest, make sure it gets the exercise it needs.
How Much Exercise Does Your Labrador Need?
Healthy adult Labradors need quite a lot of time for exercise, which is no surprise given the nature of this breed. It is recommended that they are allowed to exercise for 80 minutes in a single day, so you really do have to include this in your to-do list for the day if you don’t want a restless and destructive Labrador in your home.
However, the 80 minutes is not a universal solution, rather you should approximate it according to your Labrador’s own energy levels.
Some Labradors tend to be more active than most, and will require more time for exercise. On the other hand, the Labradors with lower energy levels get tired much more easily, so you’ll need a shorter amount of time for exercise.
Along with their energy levels, you also need to consider your Labrador’s current health issues, as overexerting them could lead to a worsened problem or a different injury completely.
Your number one sign that your Labrador is done exercising is when he starts to pant too much and no longer runs with as much energy as it did when the exercise just started.
How Much Exercise Does a Labrador Puppy Need?
Labrador puppies require much less exercise than adults, given that they are still growing and have not reached their full athletic build yet. Furthermore, their exercise options are limited to the confines of your home because taking them for walks and other activities outside poses a risk to their health.
For the first couple of months, they’ll be getting the exercise they need from exploring your house as well as interacting with other people and pets. You can only bring them to exercise outside once they’ve been fully vaccinated, as this will prevent them contracting deadly diseases like those caused by the parvovirus.
How Much Exercise Does an Old Labrador Need?
Older Labradors, like puppies, require less exercise than adult Labradors do. A senior Labrador will mostly be too tired to run or even explore around as much as it used to in its prime years. Aside from that, their energy levels become depleted much faster, which means that they’ll need less than 80 minutes of exercise.
Aside from how much exercise they get in terms of time, you should also consider the kind of exercise they get.
Older Labradors tend to avoid strenuous exercise such as running far, but you should also be aware of their capabilities. Be careful exercising your senior Labradors just so their fragile joints and bones won’t be injured.
Exercises You Can Do With Your Labrador
There are a lot of fun exercises you can do with your Labrador, here are a few of them:
Tug-of-war is a fairly simple and low-energy consuming game, but it does help strengthen your Labrador. Because it’s a low-energy exercise, this is perfect for puppies who are just starting to teeth and older Labradors who can no longer run the distance. You also don’t need a fancy toy for this, as you can use some tough cloth or a thick rope both you and your Labrador can tug at.
Fetch with a Ball or a Stick
The most basic exercise you can do with any dog at all, playing fetch with a ball or a stick is perfect for Labradors of all ages. This is because you can decide how far you want to throw the ball or stick, adjusting it just right so as to not overexert, especially the older Labradors who are more prone to injury with their fragile joints.
Fetch with a Frisbee
Playing fetch with a frisbee is a major step up from the basic game of fetch, as this requires your Labrador to be more athletic.
Throwing the frisbee at just the right speed and height can help exercise your Labrador’s legs very well, as it will both be running and jumping. This kind of exercise can really boost their athleticism and morale, just as any dog deserves!
Brain teasers are very low-level exercises, as they focus more on the Labrador’s cognitive capabilities. You shouldn’t worry about giving your dog hard puzzles because Labradors are a naturally smart and problem-solving breed. However, you should still start them with easier puzzles so that you’re not abruptly introducing them to stressful puzzles. This is because some dogs tend to become destructive when stressed.
Swimming comes natural to most Labradors; unlike it does for some humans. Remember that this breed was made to help hunters retrieve game, so they can easily determine how to move about a new kind of terrain. But, this doesn’t mean that you immediately bring your dog to the ocean, as you can start them with some pet-friendly beaches or pools where they can first learn how to swim.
Walking is probably the most preferred form of exercise by a lot of fur parents, simply because it is one of the easiest to do.
Taking your Labrador for long walks will usually do the trick, but this also means you spend more time exercising as compared to the more high-intensity exercises. If you train your Labrador well enough, maybe you can opt to walk without a leash, just make sure you focus on your Labrador the whole time.
Cool downs are an important part of exercise, as it gives a good wrap-up to your Labrador’s activity. Just remember, a dog with no exercise is a restless dog, and a restless dog will always find a way to spend its energy, even if it means making a mess of your home.
As a fur parent, it is your responsibility to give your Labrador the right amount of exercise every day, but it shouldn’t feel like a chore. Once you learn to find the fun in exercising your Labrador, you’ll also be able to enjoy and cherish every moment of it!