Over-Exercising DogsJune 11, 2019
Wondering how much exercise your precious pooch needs to stay fit and active without doing any damage? Pets Training & Boarding takes a look at exercise, and how to keep your pets safe from injury.
Like us two-legged variety (AKA Humans) dogs can also over-exert themselves and cause injury to joints and muscles. For many pet owners, finding the right balance of exercise for their pet can be a challenge, particularly as exercise requirements change when you pet ages. For some pet owners, discovering that their pet is stiff and sore can lead to a light-bulb moment of aging in their highly energetic buddy.
However, it’s incredibly important to remember – that leading a sedentary lifestyle that leads to a lazy obese dog is far more dangerous and riskier than the concerns of over-exercising. Dogs of all breeds and sizes need a good daily dose of exercise to keep them healthy and leading a full life. Obesity can cause a whole host of debilitating and painful issues later in life. Keeping your pet fit and healthy is paramount.
Puppies love to run and jump. They tend to express every love and joy for the world in their movements. For first time pet owners it can be easy to allow your pup to over-exert themselves as their passion for running and playing is so strong – particularly if you own a highly energetic breed who can run endlessly without getting tired. It’s very important not to over-exercise you pup and ensure they have some ‘down time’ to sleep.
This is very important for large or giant breeds, over-exerting and putting an extreme amount of stress on large growing joints (think jumping or running down stairs) can lead to many expensive and painful problems later in life.
It is also essential to consider the breed and history in terms of what job your chosen breed was developed for – herding, companionship etc. There is no rule of thumb when it comes to the correct amount of exercise with your puppy, however, common sense and understanding your chosen breeds energy levels is vital. Great Dane pups will be less inclined to run and play endlessly, however a Border Collie might.
Large breeds also take a lot more time to mature, compared to your smaller breeds. Meaning high impact sports such as Agility can be undertaken at an earlier age, compared to a giant breed.
Young Puppies – it’s a good plan to pop a leash on your young pup for a few minutes each day and undertake some very basic training. Five minutes maximum. Then you can make up the remainder of the exercise with light play sessions throughout the day. Remember to always watch you pup for signs of tiredness and never force a puppy to play. At this age your puppy needs ample sleep to ensure they grow into a well-rounded and happy dog. Puppy-preschools are wonderful at this age to allow your pup to interact with other puppies, play, socialise and learn basic obedience.
Older Puppies – your six-month-old puppy will certainly enjoy a longer walk and would have hopefully already enjoyed a good dose of obedience training. At this age they are still probably too young for high impact dog sports but will enjoy a light jog once a day. It’s also advised to only visit off-leash areas during quieter times when you pup isn’t likely to be bolded over by a bigger dog. Slowly increase the amount of time your puppy walks/runs with you and go at their pace.
Young Dogs (12 – 18 months) – after you puppy has finished growing (this will depend on your breed so always check with your breeder) now you can really push go on their exercise levels. They will now be safe to join in on all those great dog sports and also hit the pavement alongside their owners twice per day. It’s also a good time to explore the off-leash areas and enjoy a good romp around at least once per day.
Older Dogs – The key with older dogs is knowing when you hit ‘stop’. Many older energetic dogs will still want to run and run and run, only to be stiff and sore the next day. However, it is vitally important you keep those old joints moving! Obesity at this age can be detrimental to aging joints, as too living a stagnant lifestyle. So, keep moving and adjust your aging pet’s daily routine to suit with their requirements and limits. This may mean more on-leash strolls around the block and less off-leash boisterous runs with the younger dogs at the park. If you notice your pet is stiff and sore after exercising a vet check is in order to rule out any underlying anthric conditions that could be causing your pet pain. With so many wonderful treatments now available to your pet, they do not have to suffer after a good exercise session.