Love Your Pet Day: How Much Exercise Should My Pet Get?

By Amanda Roland
Dog running in grass with a ball in his mouth

Humans aren’t the only species that need exercise. Our pets need it, too! Typically, animals are intuitive about knowing their limits when it comes to physical activity, and they will often stop when they are tired. However, it’s up to us as pet parents to encourage them to get the exercise they need. Help your pet get active in honor of National Love Your Pet Day on Feb. 20. Below, you’ll find a cheat sheet on how much exercise your pets should get every day, whether they be a dog, horse or cat!


According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals’ (ASPCA) Pet Insurance online, all dogs can benefit from aerobic exercise for at least 30 minutes per day. This could vary depending on the size, breed and age of your dog. Sporting, working and herding dog breeds can stand to get as much as 120 minutes of exercise a day. This exercise can include playing fetch, going on walks, hiking, swimming and obstacle course training. Smaller dog breeds, like Chihuahuas or Shih Tzus, only need about 20 minutes of exercise a day, and senior dogs also should limit the vigor of their physical activity.


According to EquiMed, an online equestrian resource, stabled horses should get anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour of exercise a day, with a 15-20-minute warm-up. And it’s always best to let a horse cool down before going back into the stables. Giving horses plenty of time to graze in a pasture is also good to maintain its physical and mental health. Some horse exercises include trail riding, obstacle courses, trotting or even swimming if you have access to water. Make sure to pay attention to your horse for signs of overheating or fatigue as they are exercising.


It might be a challenge for you to take your feline friend for a walk, but there are fortunately some alternatives to keeping your kitty healthy!

According to ASPCA, your cat should engage in active play for 10-15 minutes several times a day. Since cats are hunters, games like stalking, or chasing a laser pointer or small flashlight beam, can be fit and fun activities.

You can also set up a small obstacle course inside or outside your home for your cat to maneuver through. You can even use the laser pointer to guide them if they need some encouragement—anything to get them moving!

Getting up and allowing your pet to get in some physical activity is important for their physical and mental health. It’s helpful to always have water available for your pet when they are being active to keep them hydrated, and keeping a few treats on hand is never a bad idea! Always consult your pet’s veterinarian if you have questions about your animal’s physical activity needs.

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