Does your dog “feel the burn” when they exercise?

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fitDogFriday_180x150The Payoff of High Intensity Exercise for your Dog

Hi FitDog Friday Folks!  I hope that you are all staying fit as we near the start of the summer season.

Today’s post is about burning calories.  Specifically, we wanted to compare how many calories are burned based on different exercise intensities.  To best illustrate this, we examined both walking and running at different speeds.  The greater the speed, the higher the intensity and the higher will be the associated calorie burn.

Comparing Speeds

Below is a graph showing the estimated calories burned by a dog while walking at different speeds for 30 minutes. We show the calorie burn for dogs weighing 10, 50, and 90 lbs.


Here is a graph showing the estimated calories burned by a dog while running at different speeds for 30 minutes. Again, we show the calorie burn for dogs weighing 10, 50, and 90 lbs.



What it means

Clearly, exercise intensity matters with respect to calorie burn.  Just like with human ‘circuits’ or Wods, amping up the intensity can make all the difference when it comes to getting in shape and achieving fitness and weight loss goals.

If your dog is able to participate (i.e. cleared by a vet) in higher intensity exercise, incorporating faster paced, or resistance based workouts as

Jack running sprints in the yard.

Jack running ladder sprints in the yard.

part of their weekly routine is a great way to go.  This can really help if you are pressed for time since your dog will burn more calories in less time.  Furthermore, there are additional benefits to higher intensity workouts that are not measured in these calculations:

1-      High intensity exercise can lead to a phenomenon called “excess post-exercise oxygen consumption” (EPOC) that means that your dog will potentially burn additional calories after the exercise session is completed.  Sort of like an after burn effect.

2-      High intensity exercise can lead to a sort of “runner’s high” euphoric feeling for your dog.  The research also suggests that dog’s won’t achieve this feeling of well being from slower paced activity like walking.

We recommend that you mix in both high and low intensity activities when planning your dog’s weekly activity.  Try and schedule light days before harder days so that you can be sure that your dog is adequately recovered.  And as always, check with your vet before making dramatic changes to your dog’s routines.

Do you have any special high intensity exercise routines that you use with your dog?  Besides running fast, what are some other drills that our readers should know about?  Please share in the comment section below.

Further reading.



fitDogFriday_avatarPlease enjoy our FitDog Friday Blog Hop brought to you by SlimDoggy and our co-hosts Peggy’s Pet Place and To Dog With Love. Join the Hop or just enjoy the links below – lots of fun fitness tips and advice!

We have some extra special giveaways this week for Bloggers who link up to our Blog Hop, but we are also offering prizes for our readers too, just enter a comment on any of our FitDog Friday Blog Hop Hosts sites. Read about our special giveaway raffle here.


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  1. Agility! Humans and canines in our family get high intensity work-outs from running Agility. What an informative post, thank you.
    Bethany recently posted…Hydration Choices for Fit DogsMy Profile

    • Yes, agility is a great and intense way to exercise! Combines balance, speed, strength, and requires a strong core. And a strong mind!

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  3. First off I had to google WOD … now I get it 🙂 Since most of our outdoor time has Gizmo offleash and running as hard as he wants I’ve never really considered intensity…I’ve always known that I can never walk fast enough to really tire out a dog so seek out off leash areas where they can cut loose…Beyond that I’ve never thought about specific exercises, so I’m interested to see what others come up with
    GizmoGeodog recently posted…Park Day 2.0 Bingo on FitDog FridayMy Profile

  4. I hadn’t really considered intensity of the workout in those terms. Last summer, Kuster had horrible bouts of pano and the vet prescribed crate rest. Crate rest and a high drive puppy don’t mix well. We decided to start taking him to a local lake to play because we realized that he needed to work out, but it had to be low to no impact. I think it was the tiredest we ever managed to make him! Every kind of exercise will have a different effect, though.
    houndstooth recently posted…Getting Back In The Therapy Dog SaddleMy Profile

    • Each exercise will have a different effect. What ever your dog is able to do, try and mix in some higher intensity interval. Your dog will love it!

  5. Woof! Woof! Mom always says that I am intense. I do enjoy intense activity like running. Yes it is true to vary it especially now I am a senior dog. Another reason why mom is being creative on our walks. Always glad to partake on FitDog Friday. Lots of Golden Woofs, Sugar
    SUGAR: Golden Woofs recently posted…{This Moment} See Beautiful: Dog Friendly Canadian GeeseMy Profile

  6. Totally agree with mixing your dog walks up. Scooter & I exercise daily. Some days it’s for a gentle jog around the suburb with the bike. Other days we venture out to the nearby cane fields for a longer, more intense workout. Out in the open fields he can run off-leash & I will often up the pace by getting him to chase the bike in short bursts. And occasionally it’s just across to the park for a sniff & a wander. By exercising with the bike we’ve both increased our fitness levels & both enjoy our time together a little more.
    Paws and Pedals (Kate & Scooter) recently posted…How to Bike with a Dog – Part 2My Profile

  7. I walk at a 4 MPH pace. Torrey loves this, it’s a good clip for her. Roxy is walking REALLY fast at this pace, and now that she is older, she sometimes tires out. Especially if it’s hot.
    Roxy the traveling dog recently posted…Holobal review and #giveawayMy Profile

    • I eventually had to do two walks with Becca and Jack. Jack needed a good 45 minute fast paced walk or a 25 min run and Becca need a slow paced 10-15 minute cruise of the neighborhood due to her ortho issues. Good for me, not good for my schedule!

  8. Great article! Intensity does matter!!

  9. I am just beginning to learn about these things for myself. It sounds interesting. Kelly is definitely a low calorie burn kind of gal. She is a great jumper though,and I really should give her more opportunities to jump. I’d do agility if she was more dependably friendly around all other dogs.
    Peggy Frezon recently posted…FitDog Friday- Yardwork FailMy Profile

    • Agility would be fun, but you do have to have the right dog for it.

  10. We like to walk fast! We probably do 4 to 4.5 mph, and luckily Rita cruises right along. Much better than walking our beagle – who was SO stubborn and had to stop and sniff every 2 min. It was NOT a workout to walk her. Luckily she also liked to run, and she wouldn’t sniff when she was running, so we often ran with her. Been running just some short bursts with Rita – need to try to work in a bit more of that. (For my fitness more than hers!)
    Jackie Bouchard recently posted…FitDog Friday: Dogs Don’t Do PilatesMy Profile

    • I love that the two go hand in hand though. Having dogs MAKES me get out there and run and/or walk!

  11. Great post today! Love the info. Shared on my page too!
    MelF recently posted…Favorite Video Friday – Epic Corgi Beach DayMy Profile

    • Thanks for sharing!

  12. What a great post! I love that you take human fitness concepts and apply them to dogs. My first thought when looking at the calories burned walking graph was that the calorie expenditure increase at faster speeds for 10 lb dogs doesn’t look as dramatic as with larger dogs.
    Jessica recently posted…Dachshund Gets Tummy TuckMy Profile

  13. Now you’ve got me thinking! I used to run with Kobi when he was younger. Now he’s too old for it, but I could sure use it again. Now I’m thinking about Cricket and how she walks….full on as hard as she can go to the end of the leash. I think running might be great for both me and Cricket! I could take Kobi for his easier, shorter, walk, and then run with Cricket, starting out easy (for me more than her 🙂
    Jan K recently posted…FitDog Friday – Fit or Fat?My Profile

    • Perfect idea! Good luck.

  14. Mummy and I walk quite fast but daddy is super slow. I like running with him on the bike but we don’t do it very often, but as I get older I hope to do it more.
    Misaki recently posted…Park day 2.0My Profile

    • Good for you – get dad out there for some exercise!

  15. great info

    urban hounds
    urban hounds recently posted…Product Review: Bow Tie Collar from Rover Boutique on EtsyMy Profile

  16. Hi Y’all!

    That runners high must be why, after a wash out day or weekend, I like to run zoomies around my Human instead of just jogging at her side!

    Y’all come by now,
    Hawk aka BrownDog
    Hawk aka BrownDog recently posted…Look What I Found!My Profile

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  18. […] weight, and our goal to get her back down to where she should be.  Thanks to SlimDoggy’s recent FitDog Friday post I got the idea that stepping up her workout program to something a little more intense would be good […]

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