Every dog needs daily exercise to stay happy and healthy. But does your small dog need less exercise? Not necessarily. The right amount depends more on his breed type, age, and health.
For example, a feisty spitfire like the Jack Russell Terrier can get himself in all kinds of mischief if not given enough exercise. Yet, a large breed such as the Mastiff can be quite happy with just two walks a day.
One way to gauge whether your dog is getting enough exercise is to observe his behavior. If he seems content to nap most of the day, he most likely does not need a lot of exercise. On the other hand, if your small dog is restless and wanders around the house constantly, he's probably asking for more activity.
Exercising your pint-sized pooch
The exercise needs of many small dogs can be met in your own backyard with fun, active games such as playing ball and fetch. If you have a multi-pet household, your pooch can also get his fill just by running around with your cat or other dog.
Just keep in mind that playing in the yard is no substitute for a daily walk or two. Walking your dog doesn't just provide him (and you) with physical exercise—it's a source of mental stimulation. Even just a few blocks of walking and sniffing, seeing sights and hearing sounds, can give your dog's senses a workout, resulting in a calmer, more well-adjusted pet. Walks are also a chance for you and your dog to bond and for him to practice social skills.
A lifetime of benefits
No matter how your little dog gets his exercise, make sure you make it part of his daily routine. Regular activity tones muscles, builds strong bones, improves circulation, and lifts spirits by increasing "feel good" chemical levels in the body. A fit dog feels better, sleeps better, and is better behaved. And that, of course, leads to a happier dog owner.