When talk among dog owners turns to exercise, it’s often a discussion of how to get their pooches moving. But even in the dog world, there’s such a thing as too much exercise.
According to Exercise My Dog, it’s important for pet owners to realize that while nearly all canines need some form of exercise, what’s appropriate for a three-year-old dog isn’t good for a new puppy. Generally, some simple time playing in the family room is probably sufficient. It provides the necessary physical movement as well as bonding and helping the pup fit into the family.
Because puppy bones don’t harden until somewhere between 18 months and 2 years, too much exercise can eventually cause problems. Therefore, owners should stop a puppy from jumping over big objects or off porches or objects of similar height.
Guidelines for puppy exercise
Exercise My Dog offers tips on the right level of activity for puppies according to their ages.
6 weeks to 4 months. Walks should be short and on a soft surface. Puppies can swim briefly in warm water and play with soft toys in a confined inside space or within a fenced yard.
4 to 8 months. Puppies still need to take walks on a soft surface. However, they can walk longer. In addition to swimming, they can play with soft toys in or out of water.
8 to 12 months. Walks can be faster and longer at this age, but the terrain should still be soft to protect fragile bones. Soft toys are still in order, but puppies this old can swim and play with them in the water for increased periods of time.
1 year and older. The pooch can now take walks on most terrain if it’s free of potential problems like broken glass, pieces of metal, stakes or holes. Jogging briefly on soft surfaces at the beginning is fine. More types of dog toys are acceptable, as is swimming and playing with them in water.
Tips for exercising adult dogs
AllAboutDogsandCats suggests that to stay in top condition, a dog needs regular exercise. In determining how much is sufficient without being too much, an owner needs should not only age but also the dog’s breed, size and physical condition. Here are important considerations:
Health problems. Dogs who are overweight or who have other health problems like arthritis might need exercise limits. It’s important to check with a veterinarian before starting an exercise program for one of them.
Extremes. The amount of exercise should never quickly increased. A quick walk around the block should not turn into a mile hike the next day.
Breeds. Since they grow so rapidly, large breeds like Great Danes, Labradors and Newfoundlands can experience joint damage if they over exercise.
Warm-ups. It’s important for the pooch to warm up before heavy-duty exercise. If the dog is rambunctious, a leash can temper the activity level at the beginning.
What to avoid. When jogging, grass or soil is preferable to concrete. It’s also important to never lose sight of the dog during a run or exercise period. Knowing the dog’s habits and endurance is essential to avoid overlooking signs of distress or fatigue. Owners should never exercise their pets before meals or during the hottest part of the day. Waiting until two hours after they eat is ideal.