Exercising Your Dog
Exercise should be incorporated into your dog's daily routine and is shown to be beneficial for both their physical and mental health. Exercise requirements will vary for each individual and will change depending on your dog’s life stage and breed; it will also be affected by environmental factors. It is vital to continue exercising even elderly dogs as controlled exercise is key for maintaining mobility and muscling as they age.
There are a number of other ways to incorporate exercise into your dog’s routine from participating in agility classes to swimming or creating scent trails at home with toys/treats to encourage them to sniff and move around. It is also important to avoid giving lots of treats when out and about - praise or reward with a toy should suffice.
There is often a notion handed-down to owners of new puppies that they should not be exercised for too long, and there are frequently used methods to gauge what is an appropriate amount of exercise. The best approach is using your common sense and getting to know your puppy's behaviour so you know when they're tired and need a rest. If you are worried about the effect of exercise of your puppy's developing joints then it is best to speak to one of our vets, but the crucial information is that the type of exercise is more important than the amount of exercise for promoting healthy joint development.
Extra care should be taken when exercising your dog in hot weather. Heatstroke can prove to be fatal but is also preventable. Avoid walking your dog in the heat of the day – early morning or late evening is best and check the pavement temperature with the back of your hand prior to taking them out, if it’s too hot for your hand it’s too hot for your dog.
If your dog shows any of the following signs (excessive panting/dribbling or collapse) whilst out allow them to rest in the shade offer them water and contact your vet. Extra care should be taken when exercising brachycephalic breeds such as bulldogs/pugs in hot weather as their facial conformation can make them much more susceptible to heat stroke.
It is important to be aware of blue-green algae this can be found in ponds, freshwater lakes and rivers. It often appears as a blue/green tinge to the surface of the water, keep animals away from the water where it is suspected. Blue-green algae is a type of bacteria called Cyanobacteria of which some are toxic to dogs, humans and other mammals and exposure is often fatal. If you think your dog has been exposed to blue-green algae please contact your vet immediately.