Having a dog is a huge responsibility to say the least. From making sure they’re properly fed to keeping them strong and healthy, there are endless things to worry about when it comes to making sure your furry friend lives a long and happy life. At the very top of that list is insuring your dog is getting the proper amount of exercise and for a majority of pet owners that means taking your dogs on regular walks.

Walking your dog isn’t just a crucial element in promoting good health — it’s a great way to socialize your dog and, of course, let them relieve themselves. But the biggest question many new pet owners ask is “how often should I walk my dog?” The answer is more complicated than it may seem. There are a number of factors that affect how often you should walk your dog, from breed and size to age and energy level. Generally speaking, every dog should get three 15 minute walks a day, at the very least. This might be long enough for small dogs or senior dogs, but it won’t be enough for more energetic breeds or young puppies. Before you determine how often you should walk your dog, consider the following factors:

1. Breed and Energy Level

There are countless breeds that require a lot of exercise, like shepherds and spaniels. These dogs will need more than two walks a day. Not just that, they’ll need long walks and ideally a trip to the park so they can exert even more energy. Smaller breeds that don’t need a lot of exercise, such as bulldogs and Pomeranians, will do just fine with three short walks a day.

2. Age and Size

If you’re not at home and you’re wondering how often your dog needs to be let out, age and size play a huge factor. A puppy or a senior dog will have less control over their bladder as a dog in his or her prime. Additionally, smaller dogs will have smaller urinary and digestive systems. Dogs like these will have to be walked more often, sometimes as many as four to six times a day. In contrast, a dog in his or her prime age, may need walks four times a day or less.

Whatever your dog’s breed, energy level, age or size, it’s important to make sure that he or she is getting walked. Dogs who do not get regularly walked can sometimes develop urinary tract infections, which can result in even bigger health issues.

If your schedule doesn’t allow for at least two to three walks a day, consider hiring a professional dog walking service. It’ll make sure your dog is getting the right amount of exercise and social interactions, as well as give you peace of mind.