Jogging Can Be Harmful To Puppies
Exercising with your dog is wonderful, but we need to be careful with puppies. Too much rigorous activity can be harmful to young dogs. Until a dog is one year (or until they’re done growing) old they should avoid running or jogging routines to avoid any potential growth plate injuries.
Don’t Overdo it, Jogging Can Be Harmful To Puppies
Jogging with your dog is an excellent way to exercise; both of you can keep fit and trim while taking in all the lovely scenery. If you have a new puppy you may be tempted to start things off with a running routine to burn off all that extra energy of his; but don’t start too soon. Jogging can be harmful to puppies.
Puppies should not engage in rigorous activity before their bodies have had a chance to mature. They should avoid sharp or repetitive impact exercises during their first year.
Growth Plate Injuries in Young Dogs
Dogs shouldn’t go jogging until their growth plates have closed. Dogs grow a lot in their first year, especially large breeds. Their bones and joints are remodeling as they continue to grow. Certain breeds like Shih Tzus, Corgies, and Basset Hounds are predisposed to premature growth plate closure.
To accommodate the growth of your growing puppy the cartilage and bones are soft and contain many extra blood vessels. Since the growth plates are softer than other parts of the bones they’re more prone to injury. Trauma to a puppies growth plate can lead to severe bone deformities. Being dropped, hit by a car, or rigorous activity injuries in puppies should be diagnosed and treated quickly.
Since growth plate injuries typically occur on one side of the plate or the other, the damaged side of the bone quits growing, but the healthy side continues to grow. This is how the bone ends up anything but straight. – Karen Becker DVM
If your dog injures it’s growth plate before it’s sealed the damaged cells stop growing while the healthy areas continue to grow. This can lead to permanent deformities in the dogs bones. In severe cases the bone can rotate, bow, and curve.
If the problem isn’t diagnosed early and corrected with surgery it can lead to much bigger problems such as arthritis, abnormal joint movement, and complete loss of function in the affected limb.
Synchronized growth of all bones is necessary for normal development when a dog or cat transforms from a small puppy or kitten into an adult. – Dirsko J.F. von Pfeil DVM
At What Age Can You Jog With Your Puppy?
The age at which the growth plates completely mature is different depending on the breed. Most of your dogs growth will happen between 4 and 8 months of age. Large and giant breeds mature much slower; they might not be fully developed until 18 months of age.
It’s best to check with your veterinarian to find out when your has reached maturity. An x ray can be performed if you want to know for sure that their growth plates have closed.
Exercises to Avoid With Your Puppy
Besides jogging puppies should also avoid other high impact exercises. Unfortunately there’s not a lot of scientific data on what specific activities need to be avoided overall. Take into consideration the risks associated with your dogs activities. Avoid letting them get too rambunctious on hard surfaces.
Make sure they don’t get into a position where they’re compelled to jump down onto a hard floor. Any repeated, repetitive movements can increase the likelihood of injury.
Frisbee and other high endurance activities are best avoided until your dogs growth plates have closed. Lots of puppy owners stick to a model of not going beyond the exercise that your puppy would naturally take part in. As with any exercises make sure to take breaks and give your pup a chance to rest.
Safe Exercises For A Puppy
Daily short exercise periods are considered safe. Playing with your puppy in the house, practicing obedience, and short walks in a safe environment. Teaching the retrieve command is a great skill to teach puppies at a young age.
Basic obedience training like teaching a reliable recall might not seem like typical exercise but it works wonders on growing puppies. They’re learning to focus, gaining confidence, and being mentally stimulated while training. Teaching a young dog some basic nose work is another safe alternative that’s simple and fun for your puppy.
Many breeders suggest a five minute rule. The five minute rule states that puppies should have 5 minutes of organized exercise per day for every month of his age. So a 8 week old puppy should be getting 10 minutes a day. Organized exercises are activities that you control, such as brief walks and training sessions.