Your new puppy likely didn’t come with an instruction booklet that tells you how to care for it. Because of this, before taking your pup on a 2-mile hike with you, think again. When your puppy is very young, keep its walks short, but enjoy several play sessions throughout the day.
How Much Exercise Should a Puppy Have?
Some dog parents unknowingly take their puppies on very long walks, believing that since they are young, they are equipped to handle it. According to the AKC, even large-breed puppies should not be exercised in abundance. Too much exercise while a dog is a puppy can actually cause joint and bone problems. So, the question remains, how much exercise is too much?
Figuring It Out
The truth is that there is no set formula for knowing how much exercise is too much or too little for a puppy to have. In fact, the subject is one of debate. With that being said, the breed of the dog should be taken into consideration.
For example, let’s say you have two different puppies. One is a Jack Russell Terrier and the other is a Bulldog. Although both dogs will enjoy playtime, the Jack Russell will likely be able to exercise longer and stronger outdoors than a bulldog can.
The size of the breed should also be taken into consideration. Large-breed dogs have been linked to developing orthopedic diseases. Even if your large puppy dog could keep up on a very long walk, it is not a good idea since it is not good for them. As your puppy grows, its exercise needs will do the same. When your puppy begins to mature, it will require longer walks or short jogs.
The best thing that you can do is to get a personalized recommendation for your dog from your veterinarian. Keep in mind that it is just as bad for your dog to not get enough exercise as it is for them to get too much of it.
Exercising Your Puppy Safely
No matter how old your puppy is, here are a few safety tips to practice in regard to their walk.
- Begin with short walks, taking several breaks.
- Show your pup how to walk on a leash.
- Make each walk a little bit longer than the last.
- Avoid walking your pup during the hottest or coldest times of the day.
- Be careful where you step, by avoiding sharp or slippery surfaces.
- If your puppy limps, take him to the vet right away.
Different Ways to Exercise Your Puppy
As you likely know, puppies enjoy playtime. Anything related to tugging, chasing, wrestling, or romping stimulates their little bodies and their senses. Keep things interesting by varying your puppy’s activities.
When it is warm outside, take them to splash around in a baby pool. When you take your dog out on a walk, aim to expose your pup to different environments such as wooded trails, grass, and pavement. Provide new toys and games for your dog to keep him entertained when you aren’t home.
The bottom line is that the AKC recommends three exercise sessions per day for your pup. Two of them could be a short walk, and the third is up to your imagination. Take cues from your dog and know when playtime is over and naptime for you both can begin.