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How much exercise does a Labrador need?

Labradors are amongst the most popular family pets in the UK thanks to their loyalty, gentle nature, and intelligence. Like most dogs, they thrive with regular exercise, keeping them healthy and happy.

Just like humans, it’s important that Labradors receive the right amount of exercise – too little or too much can put your dog at risk of health issues.

How much exercise does an adult Labrador need?

A healthy adult Labrador generally needs at least 80 minutes of high-quality exercise per day. Of course, it’s important to tailor this to each individual dog – some more energetic dogs will need longer, and more relaxed dogs will be healthy and satisfied with a little less.

To get a tailored exercise goal for your Labrador, simply download the free PitPat app and enter your dog’s details. Start tracking how much activity your dog is doing every day with a PitPat Dog Activity Monitor, where you’ll be able to see how their time is split between running, walking, playing, resting and pottering around. 

Of course, when setting exercise goals for dogs with existing health issues (including obesity), you should consult your vet first.

Two golden labradors amongst ferns

What types of exercise are best for Labradors?

When we say high quality, we mean just that. A plod around the block on a lead for 45 minutes just won’t do. Try and incorporate off-lead time into their exercise routine and take a ball or toy to play fetch with – running will help to raise their heart rate and burn off more calories.

Labradors love to swim, and whilst this isn’t possible every day for most dog owners, it’s a great treat to liven up your routine every now and then. Either take them down to a clean local river or lake or to a dog-friendly beach for a splash in the sea – just make sure it’s not too deep and that there are clear entry and exit points for them. If you’re lucky enough to live near a pool built especially for dogs, this is a great way to introduce them to swimming! Don’t forget that their PitPat is fully waterproof, so it can stay on their collar and record great exercise.

How much exercise does a Labrador puppy need?

Puppies require far less exercise in general than adult dogs, so it’s important to manage your puppy’s exercise to prevent them from getting too much, which can cause exhaustion and damage their developing joints.

For their first three months, your puppy will get enough exercise from tearing around the house, playing and causing chaos. It’s important to ensure your puppy doesn’t get overtired, so if they’re sharing a home with older dogs or children, you should keep a close eye to ensure they don’t overexert themselves. Don’t be afraid to interrupt playtime if needed to let them get some rest.

After your puppy is three months old and they’ve had all their vaccinations, they can start having walks outside the home. You’ll want to keep these short and sweet to start with, gradually increasing the amount of exercise they get as they age. To get a tailored exercise goal based on your puppy’s breed and age, download the free PitPat app!

Two Black Labradors in a field

How much exercise does an old Labrador need?

As your dog gets older, their exercise needs will change, so it’s important that you strike the right balance. At an advanced age, your dog will have less energy in general and be more likely to suffer from health issues that may limit their mobility. That said, you shouldn’t stop exercise completely unless your vet advises you to do so.

Depending on your dog’s health, you may want to limit higher intensity activities such as running and encourage exercise, which puts less strain on their joints, such as gentle walking and swimming. Always discuss your dog’s exercise with your vet and try to help your dog maintain a healthy weight.

Be observant – being the loyal companions they are, Labradors will push through a lot of pain to keep up with you. Watch for excessive panting, changes in their movement, and exhaustion as signals that they have overstretched themselves and adjust their activity accordingly.

Can you over-exercise a Labrador?

Here at PitPat we’re the biggest advocates of exercising your dog, but owners need to be aware of risks associated with over-exercising your pooch.  Labradors have the capacity to build up incredible fitness that will see them on the go all day long, but for most, there is a limit on how much they can do. 

As a result, embarking on a hike up a mountain with a Labrador who is used to a 45-minute plod in the local park might not be the most sensible idea; they could be at risk of exhaustion and injury if their fitness levels aren’t up to scratch. 

If you do want your Labrador to come on adventures with you, it’s best to start building up their fitness once they reach 18 months old. Gradually increase their activity levels, using a PitPat to check in on their progress. Eventually, they’ll be ready to climb that mountain without concerns of negative consequences.

Golden Labrador Retriever in front of a view of a valley

How far can a Labrador walk?

A working Labrador could be expected to cover many miles every day through the undergrowth and even water. However, your pet Labrador will have slightly different stamina, depending on how much exercise they are used to. 

If you’re planning a high mileage walk with your Labrador, make sure you work up to the distance over time, checking how far your Labrador has walked each day using their PitPat Dog Activity Monitor or PitPat Dog GPS Tracker – you’ll be able to get a good idea of how much they can manage in preparation for your big trip (psst – if you think the mileage calculation doesn’t seem quite right for your dog, you can tap it to adjust it up or down!)

Getting out and about with your Labrador keeps them happy and healthy and can be a highly rewarding experience for you both. With PitPat Dog GPS Tracker, you can keep track of them when they’re off lead, see just how much exercise they’re getting (handy if they are walked by different members of the family), and even log their weight. Download our app for free to see if PitPat is for you.

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