Labradors are one of most famous dogs in the world. Qualities that people mostly like in them are their ability to retrieve objects and their intelligence. Labradors are working as guide, police and therapy dogs.
Labradors are also the best family dogs, they like to play with kids. They are also comfortable with other animals. In the past, they were used by hunters to find and bring the hunted birds.
Because they are heavy and energetic dogs, they need more exercise and play, the question is how much daily exercise they need to stay healthy. A Labrador needs to stay healthy and active to perform his daily routines.
QUICKLY JUMP TO IMPORTANT CONTENTS
- Why Labradors Need Exercise?
- How much Exercise Does a Labrador Puppy Need?
- How much Exercise Does an Adult Labrador Need?
- How much Exercise Does an Elderly Labrador Need?
- Different Ways of Exercise for a Labrador
- What happens if your Labrador does not get Exercise
- Safety Tips of Exercise
- Exercise-Related Video
They are more prone to joint and muscle problems due to their heavy size. If a Lab stays idle for days, then there are much more chances that he will get some kind of joint or muscle disease.
Why Labradors Need Exercise?
Before we jump into details, first we need to know, why Labs need exercise?. The answer is Labradors are heavy and highly energetic dogs. That’s why they need rough exercise to consume that energy.
Labradors are Highly Energetic:
Labradors are highly energetic dogs. They were initially bred for working purpose. Labs were used to retrieve hunted birds and also used by fishermen. They have a water-resistant hair coat.
Their body is built for heavy work and running. Although now a day their majority is being used as the family pets. Labradors do not like to live alone in the home. They like to go out and play with you even for hours.
Exercise helps them to stay smart and active because without exercise, their body will store extra energy in the form of fats, and they will be obese in a few weeks.
Labradors have a heavy body:
Because they are among the heavy dog breeds, they need to keep moving and running. Labradors got many problems like hip dysplasia, joints diseases, and muscle dystrophy if they did not move too much.
By exercise, their muscles and joints will get movements and this movement will keep them healthy and active.
How much Exercise Does a Labrador Puppy Need?
As Labrador puppies are small, less energetic and get easily tired, they don’t need a true exercise. You can start your Labrador Puppy Training from 6 weeks of his age to onward. From birth to until he is 3 months old, he will get enough exercise from his play with mother and training, so he does not need exercise during that period.
In case if you want to train and socialize your puppy, then maintain a balance between his exercise and diet. Over-exercise and low energy diets can damage his muscles and cause weakness.
When your puppy will be more than 3 months old, then follow the “Five Minute Rule” and when your puppy will be 1-year-old, move to rough and planned exercise.
Fiver Minute Rule means if your dog is one month old he needs five-minute exercise and keeps adding five minutes/month until 12 months. For example, if your puppy is 3 months old, then he needs 15-minute exercise and if he is 4 months old, he needs 20-minute exercise.
This gradual increase in time, allows your puppy to adopt the structured exercise easily. When he will be mature, that will be easy for you to control him during exercise. Proper training within age limits is an essential thing to control your Labrador Retriever.
If your puppy has other siblings and mother with him, he will get more play with them and this play time is also counted in his exercise. In this situation don’t take him to exercise, if he gets enough there.
How much Exercise Does an Adult Labrador Need?
The exercise duration of an adult labrador varies from a puppy. A healthy adult Labrador retriever needs 1 hour of exercise daily. Labradors which are genetically more relaxed and less active, need 45 minutes of exercise. Highly energetic and active Labs need 1 hour and 30 minutes of exercise.
Labradors were initially bred for working and have high energy to consume. They need exercise and play to stay healthy and live a happy life. Labradors cannot stay alone at home.
Exercise can be in the form of running, playing with other animals, retrieving the objects and playing games. You will have to find a way, which your dog likes the most. Some Labs love to play and some like to swim.
Inadequate exercise will give rise to bad habits, temperament problems, and weight gain. So decide the type of exercise according to the movements involved in it. Some types of exercises take more energy like running and swimming, so according to light and rough exercises, increase or decrease the duration.
How much Exercise Does an Elderly Labrador Need?
Exercise is necessary for every dog for his normal health and behavior. Lack of exercise results in joints problems, obesity, and rude temperament. Provide exercise to your Lab according to his age, health, and interests.
Elder Labradors should be exercised the same as adult Labs but according to their health. If you elder Labrador has some joint or muscle problem, then provide him easy exercise like walking after short intervals.
Labradors average lifespan is 10-12 years, so they started to grow older at the age of 7-8 years. As they grow older, there also comes different health and behavioral issues like arthritis, muscle stiffness, obesity, and aggression.
If a Labrador has consistency in exercise from his young age, surely he will not get any joint or muscle issue. If your Lab has some kind of joint stiffness or muscle dystrophy, then short swimming and light walking will be best for him.
Elder Labrador needs 50 minutes to 1.5 hours of light exercise. Do not shorten the duration of exercise but change the type of exercise. For example, move from rough running of 30 minutes to gentle walking of 10 minutes.
Changing the type of exercise helps to get older Labs an easy exercise which they can do without any harm to their health and body.
Different Ways of Exercise for a Labrador
You can provide exercise to your Lab in a number of different ways like swimming, playing, retrieving a ball, walking and running.
Swim: If we talk about the history of Labradors, they are descended from St. Johns water Dogs. Like their ancestors, they have an extreme love for water, if you have a question in mind, Can Labradors Swim?, YES! they can swim because they have water-resistant hair coat and special shape of paws and tail which helps them to easily swim.
Play with other dogs: Labradors love to play with other animals. If you have other dogs or pets in your home, then your Lab can play hours with them. Due to their playful nature and friendly temperament, they easily accept other persons and animals. Allow your Labrador to play with other animals if you can not take him outside for running or swimming.
Retrieve a Ball: Labrador Retrievers are called “Retrievers” because they have the ability to retrieve hand-thrown objects and hunted birds. If you want to test the ability of your dog or want to train him, then take him outside and throw a ball, in this way he will also get his exercise.
Run: Running is the best form of exercise, you can provide to your Labrador. Run with your Labrador for at least 30-40 minutes, if you want to provide him with rough exercise. Adult Labradors mostly need this type of exercise. This will also help to avoid muscle dystrophy, joints stiffness and obesity.
Walk: If your Labrador is old and above 7-8 years, then provide him gentle walking with intervals. Older Labs are more prone to get health issues, so this will help him to regain his normal status. If you provide him rough exercise with any joint or muscle problem, then there will be chances of increasing that issue.
Choose any of the above exercise types for your dog according to his age, health condition, and adaptability. If he loves to go more for swimming, then increase the duration of that exercise.
What happens if your Labrador does not get Exercise
If you do not take your Lab to exercise, he will get a number of problems. It is easy to recognize a Labrador who has not get exercise from weeks.
- Obesity: Your Labrador will be obese and will have a lot of body fat. This is because they are highly energetic dogs and they need a way to consume their energy and exercise is the best way to do that.
- Chewing and Biting: If your Labrador does not get enough exercise, then get ready for the damage of your home. Labs without exercise develop bad habits of chewing and biting, he will begin to chew your home furniture.
- Not Obeying Commands: If your Labrador’s whole day passes in the home, then he will be obese and lazy. He will not follow your commands and training techniques. So, your struggle during his training will go in vain.
So, try to spend time on your dog as more as you can. He needs you because you’re his friend, owner, trainer, and leader. He will follow you, obey you and cares you. You just need to show that you’re a good owner and you also care him.
Safety Tips of Exercise
American Veterinary Medical Association has provided some safety tips which should be followed to stay safe.
- Increase the length of walking and running gradually.
- Walk and Run on the safe, traffic-free and non-slippery road.
- If your Labrador has any kind of joint or muscle problem, contact the veterinarian.
- Teach your puppy to walk with you even without a leash.
- Avoid going on exercise when your Lab is sick.
Exercise is necessary for dogs just like human beings to stay healthy and active. Labradors exercise vary according to age and health condition. Carefully choose the type and duration of exercise for your Labrador.
Puppies need less exercise as compare to adults because they get most of their exercise during play with his mother and siblings. Over-exercise in puppies can damage their muscles and harm than to provide benefits.
There is a general rule for adult lab’s exercise. For every one month increase in age, add 5 minutes of exercise, if your puppy is 1 month old, then the duration of exercise will be 5 minutes. This rule applies until your Puppy reaches one year of age.
A healthy adult Labrador retriever needs 1 hour of exercise daily. Labradors which are genetically more relaxed and less active, need 45 minutes of exercise. Highly energetic and active Labs need 1 hour and 30 minutes of exercise.
If you want to provide rough exercise to your dog, then go for running and swimming of long duration. Other types of exercise include retrieving, playing and gaming.
Always follow the safety tips during exercise. Go for running on a road which is clean, traffic-free and non-slippery. Start from less duration, then gradually increase the length. Keep your Labrador and yourself safe. -:)
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I was surprised when you said that adult labradors need anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour and a half of exercise each day. I really like the idea of getting a black lab puppy within the next few weeks to keep me company at home. Since my husband and I are older and don’t have very good mobility, I’ll have to look for a local dog-walking service to ensure our new friend gets enough exercise!
That is great to hear.