- On the lead
One of the ways you can let your dog or puppy exercise is while on the lead. Here’s what to do and what not to do if you decide to exercise this way:
- Walk your pet at a normal walking pace.
- Walk your pet based on how long they should be exercising for, e.g. take a puppy for short walks only.
- Stop to rest if your pet sits or lies down during the walk, and then continue walking when they are ready to get up again.
- Stop walking and return home if your pet seems too tired to continue.
- Avoid over-exercising your puppy. Over-exercising puppies can negatively impact on their musculoskeletal development and this is of particular concern in large and giant breed puppies. Some of the large and giant dog breeds can continue to grow up until 18–24 months of age.
- Off the lead
Another way to let your dog or puppy get the exercise they need is while they’re off the lead. Here’s a bit of advice if you choose to exercise that way:
- Allow your pet to run freely in a safe environment, such as your backyard or a designated dog park. This way they can regulate their own pace and the amount of exercise they get, as when they become tired they can just sit or lie down and rest before running off again.
- Don’t over exercise your pet by doing too much ball or Frisbee throwing and catching, especially if they’re still young and growing.
- General tips
- Watch out for signs of fatigue, such as your pet panting, slowing their pace, or lagging behind you or stopping. If you notice this, allow them to rest.
- Watch for overheating, such as your pet panting excessively, drooling, showing signs of agitation/confusion or vomiting. If this happens, move them to a cooler place and shade immediately. Apply tepid/cool water to their fur/skin, belly and under legs followed by fanning, to cool them down quickly. Then take your pet to the nearest Veterinarian immediately as heat stroke is a life threatening emergency.
- If you’re walking in the snow, avoid roads that have been treated with salt as they can sting your pet’s feet. If they lick their paws this can also upset their stomach as well.
- Keep your pet hydrated by offering them some water to drink at regular intervals during exercise. Use a collapsible bowl or a bottle with a special spout for dogs.