Don't Overwalk your Dog

Author: Amy Holloway

If you’re staying home due to COVID-19 self-isolation or social distancing, it might be tempting to spend newfound free time going on long and energetic walks with your dog. So far so good, but if there’s a whole family and everyone’s looking for an excuse to get out…Can too much exercise be bad for your dog?

The simple answer is yes. Dogs of different breeds and ages, and in different states of health require an exercise routine that’s right for them.

Ask our friendly team for advice on the right amount of exercise for your dog.

Here are some examples where caution is key:

  • When it comes to Puppies, a ratio of 5 minutes of exercise per month of age (up to twice a day) will help protect their growing bones and joints e.g. 15 minutes (up to twice a day) for a 3-month old, 20 minutes at 4 months, etc.
  • Large/Giant Breed Dogs (Great Dane, Greyhound, Boxer, etc) can be prone to joint issues so excessive land-based exercise isn’t always advisable.
  • For Dogs in Recovery post-surgery, injury or illness, you should follow your vet’s guidelines which may include short walks little and often.
  • Seniors and Dogs with Health Problems such as heart disease, arthritis, and obesity do need to exercise, but not more than they can manage.
  • Be especially careful with throwing ball games. Remember dogs will be running, twisting and turning through pure excitement and adrenaline. It’s not until they stop or the next day it becomes evident they have an injury or painful joints.

How to safely exercise your dog more

You should increase your dog’s exercise regime gradually, and allow time for a warm-up and cool-down period to avoid health issues. Exercise should be fun, happily tiring, but not exhausting. Remember, extra exercise may require extra food – allow 1 hour before and 2 hours after exercise for big meals.

Mental stimulation is equally important and exercise can include things like agility work, scent training, puzzle games and feeders. Why not try a new walking route or introducing toys to your dog’s routine? Try filling a Kong with food and freezing it for the next day’s tasty ice lolly!

If you have any questions about your dog’s exercise and nutritional needs during these extraordinary times, the Clent Hills Vets team is always happy to help so get in touch.