Why do puppies need controlled exercise?
Proper exercise is really important for puppies. Not just for their health but also for their socialization, lead training and mental stimulation. Keep in mind that it takes up to eighteen months for puppies to fully develop into an adult.
A word of caution:
While your puppy’s bones are growing, excessive exercise or impacts can injure or affect the bones or growth plates causing physical ailments such as hip dysplasia and fractures. For this reason, it is important that puppies only exercise within their specific limits until they are fully grown and their growth plates are fully closed.
How much exercise should my puppy get?
There is no exact science for this, but puppies need five minutes of exercise per month of age up to twice a day on average. This means that a three-month-old puppy will need fifteen minutes of exercise once or twice a day and a four-month-old puppy will need twenty minutes once or twice a day. Appropriate exercise is also determined based on your puppy’s size, shape and breed.
Exercise for puppies can be more than just a walk. High energy play and mental games also count as exercise. Training is another great way to keep your dog entertained and burning energy. Consider how much time your puppy spends with impact play or running around and balance that with mental exercise. It’s also important to consider the pattern or consistency of your puppy’s exercise plan. A ‘Weekend Warrior’ style isn’t beneficial for a puppy because he/she needs regular exercise.
IF YOUR PUPPY SEEMS TIRED, STOP!
Build a consistent exercise plan for your puppy and his/her specific needs.
Teach lead walking early. This will make going out for a walk easier and much more relaxing.
Start slow and build up to time spent walking. Always stop if your puppy looks tired or refuses to walk any further. Take breaks if needed.
During hot weather seasons, pavement can heat up quickly, making heat stroke a concern. Always try to walk your puppy at less extreme times of day when the weather is more comfortable. Remember that if the pavement is too hot for you, then it’s too hot for your pup.
Don’t exercise your puppy right after he/she has eaten a meal; life threatening bloat can occur.
Take water with you to stay hydrated on walks. Even a very short walk on a hot day should include a refreshment break.