Australia has nearly five million dogs, with nearly 40% of Australian households owning one.

But it seems that 40% of Australian dogs are not walked enough and that a similar percentage of dogs are overweight or obese. With colleagues at the University of Sydney, we are interested in collecting more recent data on these trends.

So why do we need to walk our dogs? And how much is enough?

Why do dogs need to be walked?

Some people assume that a big backyard gives dogs enough exercise to keep them happy and healthy.

But dogs need to be walked for several reasons. As well as exercise, being walked lets them socialise with other dogs, explore the tantalising smells beyond their home and play with their preferred playmates. Dogs are opportunists and optimists, which is why so many turn themselves inside out with joy at the prospect of a romp around the park.

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