I usually take a long walk every day after lunch and in summer I go in the early morning before it gets too hot and sticky. Bonnie my cute as a button whippet, of course, is my walking buddy.
She may look unenergetic and lazy while sprawled on the couch, but when I get up for my sneakers and jacket and pull her leash off the hook, you’d think there’s a different dog in the house.
She wants to be with me for sure, but she knows the leash is her ticket to adventure.
Who knows what we’ll encounter on our trek into the wilderness, some dog friends perhaps, friends and neighbours that make a big fuss and shower her with attention, squirrels, birds, blowing leaves, not to mention fresh air!
Bonnie and I usually walk about 5km or three miles. Is this too far? Can whippets go on long walks? Yes, they can go on long walks. They may look fragile, but they have plenty of energy and stamina.
If you’re unsure about walking too far with your whippet, look no further. Below are some tips for walking with your whippet and how to enjoy and make the most of this great exercise.
How Far Can A Whippet Walk?
Whippets have a high energy level even though you wouldn’t guess that by observing those little couch potatoes indoors. A whippet can walk three to four miles, which is around 5 to 6km. They are able to walk much farther as well depending on what kind of lifestyle you lead.
Bonnie and I take more than one walk a day; one long and one shorter, especially on days that the weather is beautiful.
I love to be outdoors and if the weather is a gorgeous sunny day with blue skies, fluffy clouds and a gentle breeze, I want to be outside, not inside looking out. Bonnie wants to be anywhere I am!
I’ve also taken Bonnie hiking and she can definitely keep up. We’ve gone on trails that are quite long, six or seven miles out and back. She does just fine and we do take some breaks, especially to rehydrate.
I do, however, make sure the trail is suitable for her. I don’t like taking her hiking on trails that are entirely too steep or extremely rocky. I wouldn’t want her to hurt one her little spindly legs.
Why Exercise Is Important For Whippets
Exercise is essential for every dog breed, just as it’s necessary for their human companions. For this reason, it’s a win-win situation.
Your whippet likes nothing more than to curl up beside you on the couch even blanketed in their favourite fleece throw. But, they do need exercise and they love it too.
Whippets will not be content lazing every day away. They have plenty of energy that will become pent up and they can become bored, exhibiting some bad behaviour such as chewing if this happens.
You probably notice your whippet having sudden spontaneous bursts of energy around the house, jumping and running out of the blue. They need exercise to expend this energy.
Without exercise and some physical activity, they can develop some destructive problem behaviour or gain a few extra pounds. Extra weight is not good for a whippet or their human counterpart.
Since they are a thin dog, weight gain will be evident just as in humans, weight gain is caused by excess calories and insufficient exercise.
If you are not giving your whippet extra food and they have gained weight, then not having enough physical activity is the answer.
Dogs, just as humans can develop many medical conditions and even emotional problems due to lack of exercise. Unfortunately, today between 20 to 40% of dogs are overweight and many are obese, which can cause a whole array of medical issues.
Just as in humans, dogs can get high blood pressure, heart disease and irregularities, bones that are less dense, causing fractures, diabetes and more.
Usually if you see an overweight dog, their human companion is also carrying extra pounds.
To keep your whippet healthy both mentally and physically, daily exercise is needed. Being physically active will help both your whippet and you.
How To Help Your Whippet Walk Further
How far you walk with your whippet involves a few factors. If your whippet is still a puppy, they will not be able to walk far and should not be walking long distances.
Whippet puppies need to be gently introduced to exercise. Their bones are soft while they’re still growing and are not fully developed like their joints an growth plates as well.
An exercise that is too strenuous or too lengthy can cause injury or damage that is permanent. Yes, whippet puppies do need exercise and to go walking but the rule of thumb is five minutes of exercise two times a day for every month of their life.
By three months, fifteen minutes twice a day is fine and once your puppy is full-grown, they can walk for longer and further.
Your whippet’s adolescence begins around ten months and their full maturity is complete by about a year so that a one-year-old can exercise and walk even more.
As puppies they need exercise, but rest as well, to be ready to wake to new adventures with plenty of energy.
As an adult whippet, how far they can walk includes two factors: how far you can walk and if they can keep up.
If you do walk pretty far you can build up your whippet’s stamina to gradually walk farther. If not you can both work together to increase your distance, adding blocks or miles slowly.
The key is to gradually go farther. Perhaps you walk a mile; starting the next week tack on a block or two, and then the next week add more distance.
Invest in a pedometer or download an app on your phone that can keep track of your steps or miles so you know exactly how far you’re going.
If time is a problem, you and your whippet can go on one long walk in the morning and another in the evening. On weekends if you and your family love the outdoors, take some longer hikes.
Your whippet, as an adult, has the stamina and energy for longer hikes, just use common sense and don’t pick a ten-mile trail if your whippet has never walked that far.
Stick to shorter trails until your whippet is ready. These hikes will benefit your whippet, you and your family. These times are also great for bonding.
Be consistent as well, with walks. Don’t walk your whippet one day for four miles and then two weeks later expect them to walk four miles. Weather will play a role in walking also but again, use your best judgment.
Whippets Love Being Outdoors
Whippets do love being outdoors especially if that’s where you, their favourite human is. They are always up for a walk and they love to run with bursts of speed.
Your whippet will enjoy running around with all of that exuberant energy in a fenced-in yard or ballfield. They love to run and race.
Playing catch or frisbee outdoors will also help build stamina and allow them to release all of that vim and vigour. Just be aware that they were bred to chase and hunt small prey.
They may try to chase a rabbit or squirrel, so make sure they’re on a leash, fenced in, or can be recalled when you say their name or by using a clicker.
Yes, whippets like to walk and play outdoors, but whippets get cold very easily and are not at all fond of cold weather.
Make sure that if you and your whippet are planning outdoor activities, walking, hiking or just playing, that they have a doggy jacket or nice warm sweater to keep them snuggly.
Even though your whippet has very short fur, is skinny and gets cold, doesn’t mean they can tolerate heat and humidity.
Like any other breed, when the weather is hot, muggy and sticky, try to schedule exercise and walks in the early morning or when the sunsets.
Be aware that in humid weather these times may still be uncomfortable with heavy air and heat still coming off of sidewalks.
Yes, your whippet can go on long walks. Remember to gradually work up to very long walks, follow their lead and use common sense.
If it seems as if they’ve had enough, opt for a shorter walk and call it a day. Check out the weather before you venture out. Your whippet is not a fan of cold, wet or very hot weather and make sure your whippet is always well hydrated.
Time and patience are all that is needed to have your whippet walking further. They are a more than a willing partner and you just may end up with a new hiking buddy. Happy trails!