Just like us humans, all dogs need exercise. And, while many of our furry friends want to run until they drop, there are dangers associated with over-exercising. A very broad guideline is that the average adult dog requires about 30 to 60 minutes of exercise a day. However, the amount of exercise a dog needs ultimately depends on the dog itself. Here, we look at how age and breed play a key role when determining how much exercise is good for your pooch.
*Remember, all dogs are different. It’s best to consult your vet for the most accurate advice for your dog.
Did you know that puppies and senior dogs are most at risk for over-exercising? Puppies are a ball of energy and don’t know when to call it quits. Their enthusiasm to be involved in everything their human is doing overrides any signs their body may be giving to tell them to slow down. If puppies exercise too much, the strain on their muscles and joints can prevent them from developing normally. It may also increase the risk of stress fractures. The natural ageing process can lead to stiff joints in senior dogs that may make exercise painful. Too much exercise, especially running, may cause injury and discomfort.
Depending on the breed or group your dog belongs to, can help determine how much exercise it requires. Working dogs that have been bred for stamina, benefit from an intense work-out for an hour or more per day. These breeds can include Border Collies, Labradors, Golden Retrievers, Terriers, Shepherds, and Huskies. On the other hand, less-active breeds and small dog do just fine with a couple of shorter walks per day. Dogs with flat noses such as Pugs and Bulldogs, can have trouble breathing if the exercise is too vigorous. A short walk or two each day is enough to keep them happy.
Here are a few tips to help you safely exercise your furry friend.
- Start off slow and gentle, and build up. A 20-minute stroll is a good starting point. From there, gradually increase the walk time, or add another walk during the day.
- Avoid forced exercise such as jogging or running with puppies.
- If you’re pressed for time, include an energy-burning activity like a game of fetch.
(Do not use a stick when playing fetch. Sticks can splinter and cause injury).
- Don’t exercise your pooch straight after they’ve eaten a meal. This may cause bloating and discomfort.
- Regular walking can stimulate your dog’s mind, and lead to better mental health.
- If you’re ill, injured, recovering from surgery, or going away for a few days, ask someone else to help you walk your dog.
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