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Work out your walkies! Average pooch needs 178 laps of the garden to keep fit

Written by Salman Haqqi, Senior Personal Finance Writer

22 April 2020

With trips out of the house limited to one a day, new research suggests that dog owners should be treating their furry friends to 178 laps of the garden (7.5km)* to ensure they get enough exercise and avoid becoming a podgy pooch.

It's no secret that dogs, like us humans, require regular activity to maintain their physical and mental wellbeing and owners are having to become more creative than ever to ensure they get enough walkies if they're self isolating, or if one walk simply isn't enough for them.

Based on the size of the average British garden (approximately 15m x 6m), the average dog would need to complete 178 laps in order to get their recommended daily exercise. However, this is dependent on the age, breed, health and personality of your dog.

To find out just how much your dog requires, the researchers at money.co.uk have created the Work Out Your Walkies Calculator to help owners estimate how much of their garden would need covering to equal a full walk.

The tool allows owners to select their dog's breed and age, and enter the length and width of their garden to be given a number of laps based on insight from animal behaviour experts.

Different breeds have different requirements and the tool takes into account bespoke advice for a range of different dogs, from companion dogs that typically require 60 minutes of walking a day, up to working dogs that can need two hours or more. It also factors in if the dog is a 'puppy' or 'junior' (under 18 months) or a 'senior' (over seven years old).

Salman Haqqi, personal finance expert at money.co.uk, said:"Over the past few weeks, we have seen heroic physical achievements, made from the comfort of homes across the globe including; Captain Tom Moore's epic fundraising efforts, garden marathons and stair climbs equivalent to that of Mount Everest, so it's only fair that your dog gets involved too.

"And, while a walk around the garden might not be quite as exciting as a trip to your local park, it is the stimulation you give to them as an owner that's so important at this time, so that we keep them healthy and happy.

"We talk so much about the physical benefits of exercise but taking the time to go for a walk, even if it's in your garden, can do wonders for your dog's mental health. We hope this tool will encourage owners to join their dogs outside as much as possible and not let the lockdown interfere too much with their daily activity."

Understandably, not all properties have access to their own private garden but that doesn't mean you can't keep your dog physically, and as importantly, mentally active during this time of uncertainty.

Nick Jones MA, Dog Behaviourist at Alpha Dog Behaviour, provides these tips: "It's even more important than ever that you keep your dog physically and mentally engaged while you're in self isolation. "While making sure you have sufficient food and other essential items for your dog is key, there are so many things you can do that don't require leaving the house to ensure your best friend is fighting fit when all of this is over."

Try these simple tips and tricks to keep your dog mentally stimulated from the comfort of your own home:

Introduce new games for them to enjoy

Games such as hide and seek can be a great way to keep your dog entertained. Choose some of their favourite toys and treats to hide around your house or flat and encourage your pup to find them all with hints and tips. You can even make dinner time a little more exciting by hiding some of their food around the house.
Treat them to new toys or things to explore

If you have any new toys or objects for them to play with, now is the time to introduce them. Pet shops remain open during this lockdown so if you have to pop in to buy more food or other supplies for your pooch why not treat them to a new toy for them to enjoy.
Old dogs really can learn new tricks

Dogs young and old secretly love to learn new tricks (even if you don't think they do!). Reinforcing the standard tricks such as "sit", "lie down", and "roll over" can be an easy way to keep their brains engaged if they are stuck inside. Don't forget to reward them as well!
Games and puzzles are not just for you There are now so many toys and apps available to keep your dog mentally stimulated. Most of them have different degrees of difficulty so you can adjust as your dog improves. You can also make one of your own using a cardboard box/toilet roll tube with small holes in and treats inside. Make sure to only use a portion of your dog's daily food for games in order to avoid overfeeding.

Pop on a puppy-friendly podcast or TV show It's no secret that your dog might react to other animals on your TV as they would when meeting other furry friends outside on their usual walk. They may even start barking or running behind the screen! This can be an easy way to keep them moving around and their brains active (and you entertained in the process).

Visit the money.co.uk 'Work Out Your Walkies' calculator here: https://www.money.co.uk/guides/work-out-your-walkies-calculator.htm

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Salman Haqqi

Salman Haqqi, Senior Personal Finance Writer

Salman Haqqi spent 10 years as a journalist reporting in several countries around the world. He left the world of journalism to pursue his passion for personal finance.

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Joel Kempson

Joel Kempson, Personal Finance Writer

Joel Kempson devotes his time to helping people navigate the world of personal finance and make informed decisions about their money. He spent his early career writing about TV, movies, comic books and rock music.

Read Joel Kempson's articles and guides