As a puppy parent, you may be wondering “What are the signs of over exercising a puppy?”, and more importantly, what actions you should take if that happens. After all, as a human being you probably know when you’ve exercised too much, but it may be harder to tell with your puppy.
As a dog trainer and pet care professional, I believe that it’s essential for you to know the signs to look for when it comes to over exercising so that you can avoid them, and ensure the safety of your puppy.
Can You Over Exercise Your Puppy?
First of all, let’s define what overexercising is when it comes to your puppy. Overexercising a puppy means pushing or exceeding his/her physical limitations and endurance when it comes to exercise.
So, yes you can over exercise your puppy. It could happen as a result of excessive or intense physical activity that your puppy can’t handle. Examples could be going on a bike ride or running with your puppy. This may be too much exercise when you take into consideration the breed and age of your puppy.
What you may think would be a great way to get that excess energy out from your puppy could do more harm than good. Knowing this is a good possibility with exercise will allow you to make better choices with your puppy.
How Much Exercise Does a Puppy Need?
Your puppy is going to need exercise but what that looks like is different for each puppy. This depends on factors such as where your puppy is on the vaccination schedule, as well as his/her breed and age.
For instance, a Boston terrier, which is a brachycephalic breed, i.e. has a short muzzle will do better on a shorter walk due to greater difficulty breathing during walks. Also, you shouldn’t go on a long walk with your puppy if he/she is not fully vaccinated.
Also, start slow. When you start doing something new with a puppy, like exercise, do it for a shorter period of time during the day, and gradually build up to longer walks or another activity.
Going slow with your puppy will help you to learn more about each other as well as prevent overexercising your puppy.
Puppy Exercise Chart
Something to keep in mind with the puppy exercise chart below is that the time is based on approximately five minutes of exercise for each month of their age. For example, a two-month-old puppy gets 10 minutes for each walk (maximum of twice a day). You could break those two ten-minute walks into four walks of five minutes each if that works better for your puppy.
Deciding how you want to use the time for exercise that is age appropriate for your puppy is up to you. Going on a short walk can be a great start. Remember the walk is new for you both and figuring out what works best with it will set you up for success.
|Puppy Age in Months
|How long walk should be (maximum twice per day)
Signs of Over Exercising Puppy
Every puppy may show different signs of over exercising but here are common ones to look for with your puppy:
- Excessive Fatigue – Your puppy does not want to move or just lays down instead of continuing to go on a walk.
- Limping – Your puppy is limping or looks like he/she is in some discomfort in their walk.
- Excessive Panting – If your puppy is panting then that is a sign your puppy is getting overheated by exercise or your walk.
What Are the Potential Dangers of Over Exercising a Puppy
Over exercising a puppy can lead to heat stroke on a hot day, and potentially be fatal. This is something that can happen quickly and needs attention right away especially if your puppy is a brachycephalic breed.
Also, puppies are developing their bones and growth plates and can be more susceptible to injury. Doing high-impact exercises like jumping or running can put excessive stress on all those developing parts and can lead to growth plate fractures or damage.
Joint problems, muscle strains, sprains, and susceptibility to illness are other consequences of over exercising your puppy.
Moreover, the long-term impact of exercising your puppy too much can affect their crucial growth period and lead to chronic issues like joint problems or mobility limitations as they transition to an adult dog.
How to Prevent Over Exercising in Puppies
Always take into account your puppy’s breed and age when considering any exercise with your puppy. Any exercise you do with your puppy should be short and simple as he/she is still growing as I emphasized above.
As such, working on things like leash training in your house is a great way to exercise your puppy and do it in a safe environment.
Avoid doing any high-impact exercise like running, doing lots of fetch (due to short sprints of running as well as the possibility that your puppy may run into something), or high jumps as this could hurt your puppy if he/she lands the wrong way.
Another thing you want to avoid is repetitive movements like jogging, taking your puppy on a bike ride (with him/her running or walking next to you on the road, sidewalk, etc.), or going up and down the stairs.
But above all, being observant is something I encourage all puppy parents to be when it comes to their puppy so that they can pick up on any signs of fatigue or discomfort. If any signs of fatigue or discomfort are noted, then you need to stop and give your puppy a break.
Steps to Take If You Think You Have Over Exercised Your Puppy
First of all, stop the exercise you are doing with your puppy. Continuing on is just going to make things worse.
Secondly, depending on where you are with your puppy, at home or on a walk, you want to stay calm so your puppy doesn’t get excited, in addition to him/her already being over exercised.
Then, choose a nice place for your puppy to rest, like a crate if you crate train. Not letting your puppy be able to move around freely will help your puppy feel better.
You want to monitor your puppy for any signs and symptoms of distress or discomfort and observe if these signs and symptoms are improving.
If these signs and symptoms do not improve then calling your veterinarian right away is the next step. My tip is to not wait until the weekend because you might end up having to go to the emergency veterinary hospital and have an expensive bill you did not plan for with your puppy.
Is an Hour of Exercise Too Much for Puppy?
Based on the chart above you will see what age your puppy is and how long to exercise them. An hour could be too long and especially could impact your puppy if he/she is a breed that does not do well with a lot of physical activity like bulldogs.
Doing exercise in a shorter amount of time is what I recommend. You can always add more time if needed but you cannot take it back if you overdue it with your puppy.
What Can I Do If I Walked My Puppy Too Much?
Give your puppy plenty of time to rest as well as fresh water. Monitor your puppy to see how he/she is doing with energy, any limping, or other things that are not typical for your puppy.
Keep it simple and short the next time around to avoid re-occurrence. If your puppy is still showing signs of fatigue even with plenty of rest then I would call your veterinarian and see what he/she has to say. You may need to get your puppy checked out and make sure things improve with medical help.
Final Thoughts on Signs of Over Exercising Puppy
By being aware of the signs of over exercising puppy that I discussed in this blog post, you’ll be able to ensure that your puppy gets the right amount of exercise without endangering his/her health and well being.
Walks provide a lot of opportunities for you and your puppy to bond and exercise, but keeping it simple is key. Having the right supplies with you can make exercising with your puppy easier, as well as ensure you have the right supplies just in case you overdo it a bit with your puppy.
I have a free Dog Walking Supplies Checklist that you can keep handy. With this checklist, you can compare what you currently have, and add a couple of extra things that may be beneficial in ensuring the well-being of your puppy while walking.