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Exercise – Life Stages – Puppies and Exercise

When exercising your puppy or young dog, say under a year old, you need to be aware of how much exercise they are getting at one time. Think “moderation” and you’ll be fine. Their bones and joints are still developing and generally the growth plates are not closed before 12-18 months. Large breeds may take a bit longer. Over-exercise could be traumatic on those young bones and joints. If you’re unsure, consult your veterinarian before allowing your young dog to participate in any vigorous exercise. Puppies and young dogs are just like children – you wouldn’t allow your youngster to jump out of a pickup truck or off a high wall or gym – they could be injured – so could your dog if over-exerted. They are better off playing together rather than with an adult dog who tends to overdo work and play. Gentle play will strengthen their muscles, ligaments and tendons, thus potentially avoiding injury.

If you want to jog with your young dog, be conscious of the distance, pace and time. There’s no reason why they can’t, but this needs to be increased slowly! You’ll build the strength and stamina he/she requires without incurring injury as your dog grows and develops. I’m pretty conservative when it comes to the health of my dog – taking the chance of overexertion just because I want a jogging partner is foolhardy.

Again remember that moderation is key for your puppy and young dog. Optimal health can be sustained by controlled exercise and periodically checking your dogs overall condition. Use your hands and run them down his entire body – they can tell you a lot about your dog’s health and he’ll enjoy the experience!