It may surprise some people to find that they can actually over-exercise a dog. Over all, pooches need lots of exercise and daily walks but having over the required amount of exercise can be just as bad as having none at all or not enough. For a canine to remain fit, it needs to be exercised regularly, not just in short bursts for a long period of time. A canine is not at its peak perpetually and fitness levels may come and go as in humans. But how do you make sure you do not end up with an over exercised dog?
You may find that your best friend seems to be tied or not have as much energy as it should. This is one of the major signs that you may be over-exercising your dog. If this is the case, then it’s a good idea to lesson the exercise levels and let your pet rest until it can build its activity sessions back to the level that it was.
All dog owners should be aware of the symptoms of an over-exercised puppy. Not all breeds require the same amount of exercise. The amount of exercise that your furry friend requires will vary by breed and even each individual within a breed may have different requirements. Springer Spaniels in particular have high energy levels and needs to be walked more often than say, for instance, a basset hound. If you require more information on how much exercise your dog should have then please see our post on our canine exercise calculator.
It can get tricky getting your pet’s exercise requirements just right. You will know over time whether he or she is getting enough exercise. One classic sign that your canine isn’t getting enough exercise is having excess energy levels. Some breeds are more prone to this than others. It is very important not to over-exercise a dog as he may become injured or simply over-stressed or anxious.
You must also allow adequate time for your puppy to recover in between exercise sessions. A daily walk typically occurs at the same time each day but you can do top-up walks with your pooch to make sure they’re getting enough outside time.
The problems with not providing enough exercise
Any pet owner knows that a dog needs a certain amount of time outside to keep them fit and healthy, but this could also help to prevent behavioral issues that may be caused by the pet becoming bored or having too much energy.
No canine is happier than when it says out with its owner on his daily walk. This is not just because of the physical exercise this also because it provides external stimulation and it is good for their mental well-being also. When an animal is mentally stimulated it can provide essential enrichment in their lives. On the other hand, it’s very important not to over-exercise a pooch and this post should teach you the signs to watch out for as a responsible dog owner.
How much exercise does my pet really need?
As mentioned earlier the amount of exercise an individual needs depend on there are breed overall health and also their age. Not all will need the same amount of exercise they did as a puppy as when they are elderly.
How to calculate a canine’s exercise requirements
The most important tool you can use to calculate this is your common sense. Pay close attention to your animal’s energy levels. If they seem to have excessive energy, then you will most likely want to take your canine out for more exercise. This may vary from day to day. Also if they are listless and exhibiting some of the exhausted dog symptoms below then you may need to reduce the exercise to allow them to rehabilitate. If you start to consider the fact that your furry friend may be exhausted, then they probably are.
One of the groups of canine most at risk of this is puppies. Puppies grow rapidly into adult animals and as a result, the muscles, bones, tendons and joints are all developing and growing rapidly. The growth plates on their large bones haven’t fused together properly. Exercise that includes repetitive motion puts a strain on these bones and can result in serious injury. Make sure you’re in tune with your puppy’s body language when you’re out walking with them – you can learn a lot from this. Particularly look out for signs of them become exhausted such as them slowing down wanting to sit down or lie down or panting too much.
Serious warning signs to look out for if you think your dog may be exhausted:
- They seem too tired after an exercise session and it takes them a while to come back to normal.
- Excessive thirst
- Panting for a long time after the exercise session
- They are lingering behind instead of being up ahead of you
- Your pet appears to have sore muscles or stiff muscles
- They seem at all confused and cannot focus on what instructions or commands you may give them
Remember your pet cannot talk to you and come up make it clear what is wrong with them. If your dog is showing any of the above signs or symptoms then you should give them a few days off exercise and let them rest and recover.
Signs your pup may be overheated
A dog’s cooling system is very different than that of a human. They cannot sweat and rely on other methods to call themselves down it is very important not to over exert your animal in hot weather it can take several hours for heat stroke to become fatal in extreme cases the animal requires medical care immediately if they show any other signs of heat stroke.
Here are some warning signs of heat exhaustion to look out for
- They whine and fidgets a lot
- He or she pants with her tongue outside of her mouth and scooped or curled at the end almost as though they are taking a drink.
- Their tongues or gums are excessively red.
- Your dog is lethargic and their motions seem sluggish or they seem at all confused.
- They might have breathing difficulties or foam at the mouth or have thicker than usual saliva.
They may very quickly become dehydrated. If you grab the skin in at the back of the neck and it takes a longer time than normal for it to return back into its natural state then this is a major warning sign.
It is very important if this occurs that you get veterinarian help immediately.
Take them into the shade or in a cool place indoors if this is possible and try and get them to drink a small amounts of cool, not cold, water.
it is really essential that your pet gets plenty of exercise and the chance to release pent-up energy this is just as important for overall fitness as one of their mental well-being and also to keep their weight at a normal level and allow and to live in and Richard knife it is just as important to be aware of the symptoms and signs of exhaustion in your dog and make sure that you, as an owner, or not over-exercising them.
Emma Charles, DVM, was born and raised in Brownwood, TX. She leads the editorial team at FunDogFitness.com where she shares some of the vast amount of personal and professional expertise she has gained over the years on the subject of dog care. A proud graduate with a doctorate from the College of Veterinary Medicine at Texas A&M University, she now shares her advice online for anyone who owns, or is considering, a dog.