How much exercise does my dog need?

(Q) How much exercise does a dog need? What benefits does it have for them?

(A) Vet Susan McKay says: Exercise is good for dogs on many levels: it provides stimulation, builds fitness and muscle strength, and helps cement the bond between pet and owner. It is also a vital part of any weight control programme.

If you or your pet are very unfit, you might want to think about getting a check-up before starting an exercise programme; start slowly, and build up as you both become fitter.

Dogs who have been overweight or obese for some time can suffer wear and tear on their joints, resulting in arthritis, so these dogs may need a specially tailored exercise programme.

Most pet dogs should be getting at least an hour's exercise a day.