How much and how often to exercise?
In the early days it’s important that puppies get lots of sleep and rest. They would happily follow you around the house all day so it’s a good idea to use an indoor kennel to restrict their exercise. Make it comfortable with a bed or blanket.
It’s important in the early days not to overdo exercise as their young bodies are still developing as this xray of a two week old puppy shows. The bones still have some way to grow before they become a proper bony joint.
- Over exercising in the early developing days can lead to painful joint problems, such as arthritis, in later life.
- Initially restrict their exercise to play in the garden for 10-15 minutes.
- Discourage them from jumping on and off furniture or running up and down stairs to help protect their joints
- Lift puppies in and out of the car in the early days
- Put rugs on hard floors to help avoid slipping
- Let your puppy get accustomed to wearing a collar, initially putting it on for just a few minutes at a time
Once Puppies Have Been Vaccinated
- After they have been vaccinated it’s a good idea to get them out and becoming socialised
- Dogs will keep going until they drop so it’s important to restrict their exercise until fully grown. Start with 10 minutes’ walk 3 times a day and gradually build up by an extra few minutes per walk for each month
- Go at their pace, and if they do slow down or sit they may be tiring and it’s a good idea to turn back
- It’s good to get experience of different terrains such as sand, grass and concrete. Try to avoid walking on concrete all the time
- Avoid steep hills initially
- Everything in moderation!
Ball Throwing: Many dogs enjoy retrieving a ball but be aware that excessive ball chasing can have a damaging effect on the joints over time. Restrict ball throwing initially and once they are fully grown this can be increased, but still in moderation. (Retrieving a ball can also damage the teeth)
Jogging: Jogging and Cani Cross have become very popular but it’s important not to jog with your dog until it’s at least 12-18 months old, and over 2 years of age for a giant breed dog.
Swimming: Introduce them to getting their feet wet initially without going right into the water. Avoid swimming in winter.
Giant Breeds: Exercise requirements vary between breeds but as a general rule the larger the breed the more careful you should be about gradually building up the amount of exercise as these breeds mature more slowly and keep growing and developing until at least the age of two.
Recommendations vary by breed, so for advice about what is best for your dog please speak with one of our vets or veterinary nurses.