Is your dog getting too much exercise? - BC SPCA
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Is your dog getting too much exercise?

July 18, 2023

Now that the warmer weather is here it’s a perfect time to get outdoors and exercise your dog. Physical exercise is beneficial to your four-legged friend’s physical and mental well-being, however, over-exercising your dog can be detrimental to their health.

While it’s important to note there is no one-size-fits-all answer for how much exercise your dog needs, or even what type of exercise they may need, it is crucial that you are able to recognize signs of distress and possible injury.

If you spot these signs of your furry friend getting too much exercise, give them time to rest and recuperate while you rethink their exercise schedule.

Playful smiling happy dog lying on side on the grass

Your dog refuses to go for a walk

A change in behaviour could indicate that your dog no longer enjoys exercising. If they don’t want you to leash them or sit down when you try to go for a walk, your dog may be telling you they don’t want to go for a walk Has your excitable dog who always loved walks suddenly decided to put the brakes on? If that happens, it is a good idea to visit your veterinarian to make sure there aren’t any health problems causing your pet to no longer enjoy exercise.

You increase your dog’s exercise and they start to lose weight

If your dog was overweight to begin with, congrats! This is a great accomplishment to get your dog closer to a healthier weight. However, if you dog becomes underweight from too much exercise, this is also unhealthy. If you notice that your dog has drastically dropped weight or is struggling to keep weight on with the new workout program, that might be a sign that your furry friend is getting too much exercise, or your need to increase their food. Any time your dog’s exercise routine changes, it’s important to also reassess their nutrition; a healthy weight dog will require more calories if their exercise routine increases so they don’t become underweight.

Your dog seems stiff after exercise

If your dog seems to have a hard time getting out of bed or walking around the house after exercise, they are likely getting too much. This is particularly noticeable in older dogs who still have the spirit of a young puppy. If you notice your dog limping after exercising, they could have experienced an acute injury or have something in their paw. If your dog seems to be injured after exercise or is showing ongoing signs of muscle stiffness and arthritis, a trip to your veterinarian is recommended.

However, it’s important to note that sometimes your dog won’t immediately appear that they’ve had too much exercise. Over time, muscular pain and stiffness might set in, which is another sign they’re being overexercised. How can you tell your dog is stiff and/or sore? They might struggle to get up, for example, or have trouble going up and down the stairsIf symptoms persist, visit your veterinarian.

Your dog whines while exercising

Whining is a form of how your dog communicates their current mental, physical, and/or emotional state. If you find that your dog is whining while exercising, they might be trying to tell you that they are in pain or discomfort.

Exercise is important to your dog’s health and well-being, however overexertion must be avoided. If you’d like to implement a sensible and functional exercise routine that is best suited for your dog, you might want to consider working with your vet to create an individualized plan that will keep your furry friend safe, fit, and happy.

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