Top Tips For Exercising Your Puppy
Health and Wellbeing
Providing puppies with the opportunity to exercise is a very important aspect of their care. Apart from providing various health benefits, exercising may also provide a good opportunity for your puppy to socialise with other puppies and dogs which is vital for their behavioural development. But unlike adult dogs puppies exercise should be limited as their joints are still developing so can be damaged from too much or too high impact exercise.
How much exercise does a puppy need?
Until a dog is fully grown (which is at a different age for each breed) their bones are still developing. This means bones and growth plates are still soft making your puppy vulnerable to injuries. So it is important to take it slow when it comes to exercising your puppy and make sure you understand how much exercise is safe for your puppy each day. As a general rule of thumb, puppies should have no more than 5 minutes of exercise per each month of age (twice per day) until they are fully grown. So for a 6 month old pup, the appropriate amount of daily exercise would be 30 minutes, twice per day.
When can I start to walk my puppy?
We all look forward to the day we can take our new puppy for a walk. As for many new dog owners, the daily dog walks is a huge part of why they bought a puppy in the first place. As tempting as it may be through it is important not to walk you puppy in public placed until they are fully vaccinated so they are protected against diseases such as parvo and kennel cough.
Tips for walking your puppy on the lead
Whilst on the lead you should walk your puppy at a walking pace. It is also advisable to take your puppy for short walks only. If your puppy sits down or lies down during their walk it is important to allow them some time to rest and to wait until they choose to start walking again. If they appear too tired to continue on, it is advisable to stop the walk and head home. Avoiding over-exercising and over-exertion is especially important whilst your puppy is growing. Over-exercising puppies can adversely impact upon their musculoskeletal development; this is of particular concern in large and giant breed puppies.
Letting your puppy off the lead (running freely)
It is important that you puppy has daily exercise in a safe and secure area such as your back yard or they may become bored and frustrated. Although this time can be in your garden it is still important to provide your puppy with time to run free in a safe off leash dog area or park. As this is vital for their development (once vaccinated) as it allows them to sniff and explore new environments while meeting other friendly dogs. Please check with your vet when your puppy can safely go to the park in relation to their vaccination status.
When a puppy is off-lead in a safe environment such as your backyard or a designated dog park they may be allowed to run freely. In this situation, they are generally able to regulate their own pace and the amount of exercise they receive because when they get tired, they can choose to sit down or lie down and rest before getting up again. When off the lead, it is important to avoid excessive ball or frisbee throwing and catching which may over-exercise your pup.
Be careful not too over-exercise your puppy!
When exercising with your pup you need to not only consider the time spent exercising, but also the type of exercise. It is important to avoid any strenous exercise until they are fully grown, this includes going on a run with your puppy, fast paces or long walks, hill or stair climbing and excessive ball or frisbee catching. Puppies should also never be exercised immediately before or after eating as it can cause problems such as bloat, particularly in deep-chested dog breed such as Dobermans or German Shepherds.
Written by The Pet.co.nz
Written by The Pet.co.nz Team
A team of specialists with backgrounds in animal nursing, animal care, and all things pet related.