Can you walk your dog too much?
With many of us now spending more time at home due to Covid-19, and potentially spending too much time in the fridge. Some of our dogs are getting more exercise than they have been used to for a very long time.
Just as you can not give a dog sufficient exercise, you can exercise them too much for their level of fitness. A dog’s fitness level needs to be built up gradually. Fitness also goes in cycles. A dog can not maintain peak fitness all the time.
If your dog prior to covid-19 has had a sedate livestyle, taking them for long hikes or even runs could lead to injury.
If you do notice signs of your dog not having as much energy or getting niggly little injuries it is a good idea to reduce the quantity of activity and build it back to the level it was.
Not enough exercise can result in a dog with excessive pent up energy. Over-exercising your dog can lead to injuries and over stressing their system.
Providing time to recover from exercise is just as important as exercise. If your dog has had a couple of hard sessions in a week you should have a day with a light workout. This can be as simple as a casual walk.
As a general rule it is important to build your dog up gradually to longer walks. This is particularly important if they’re older or carrying some extra weight which can put strain on their joints. To expose weaker joints to excess exercise, when there is not suitable muscle mass already built-up gradually to support them, is cruel and will be detrimental to your dog’s
So if you fancy a long walk this weekend don’t forget to consider your faithful friends capacity before making that decision.
How much exercise does a dog need everyday
People often ask how much exercise does my dog need everyday. This is very specific to your dog at any particular time in their lives. There are several factors that need to be taken into account.
Energy Level The breed of your dog and their energy levels is the first thing to consider. Most owners will know the energy levels of their breed of dog. However observe their energy levels as they change with health and age.
Weight The next factor to consider is your dogs’ weight. If your dog is a normal healthy weight then follow the recommended amount of exercise for that breed. If your dog is overweight or even obese reduce this by around 20-30% or look for low weight-bearing exercise such as swimming. It may seem strange to recommend doing less exercise for an overweight dog, but this is to reduce the stress on their joints and tendons and heart and lungs due to the extra body weight. Exercise in itself has little effect on helping a dog to lose weight (around only 10%). The main contributing factor in a weight loss program is actually to reduce calories consumed.
Age The third factor to take into consideration for your dog’s daily exercise needs is age. From around the age of 7 or 8 dogs are considered to be senior dogs.
However this will vary from breed to breed depending on the average lifespan expectancy for that breed. For a senior dog reduce the daily recommended amount by 20-30%. It is important for an older dog to still stay active to keep the muscles and joints strong but not to overdo it. It is about finding the right balance. Watch for signals that your dog is ready to slow down as they gain age.
Health A healthy dog will always benefit from good levels of exercise and can adapt with time to more exercise. However dogs are not always healthy 100% of the time. Some health issues come and go and others such as arthritis, hip dysplasia or a long term illness will impact on how much a dog can exercise. In this case, it is best to discuss your dogs exercise needs with guidance from a vet.
Over exercised dog symptoms
It is important to provide your dog with adequate exercise to keep them healthy, to prevent behavior problems caused by boredom and pent-up energy and make them feel happy. This not only includes physical exercise but should include mental enrichment. Mental stimulation can use as much energy as physical activity. It is also just as important to not over exercise a dog which can result in injury, heat stroke or worse. Symptoms of over exercise can include
Excessive panting during or after the exertion, Extreme thirst, Lagging behind when they are normally in front raring to go, Any lameness, limping or a reluctance to exercise or continuing to exercise, Confusion and lack of focus. Appearing to be overtired after the exercise, or sleeping or laying down more than normal