Believe it or not, there’s actually something called “over-exercising” your dog. For a long time, we have been told that the more we exercise, the healthier we are. And that is indeed true to some extent! But for dogs, too much of anything – including exercise – can be detrimental to their health.
Like people, every dog is different and will therefore require a different amount of exercise depending on their age, breed, and overall health. That being said, there are general guidelines that you can follow to make sure that you’re not over-exercising your dog.
To learn more about the signs and symptoms of an over-exercised dog and what you can do to prevent it, read on!
Dog Over Exercise Symptoms And Signs
Your dog may be like you in so many ways – they love food, a game of fetch, and cuddling on the couch. But there’s one big way in which they aren’t like you: they don’t speak words! That means that it can be difficult to know when they’re trying to tell you something.
However, there are some signs and symptoms that you can look out for to determine whether or not you’re over-exercising your dog.
- Panting & Excessive Thirst
If your dog is panting more than usual or seems excessively thirsty, it could be a sign that they’re over-exercised. Dogs pant to cool themselves down, so if they’re doing it more than normal, it could mean their body temperature is elevated.
In addition, increased thirst can also be a sign of dehydration. If your dog is not drinking enough water, this can lead to serious health problems such as heat stroke.
This is why you might want to consider the weather if you’re planning to exercise your dog. If it’s hot outside, it’s best to exercise them in the morning or evening when the temperature is cooler. Or, you can always do some fun indoor workout activities instead!
- Lethargy & Loss of Interest
If your dog seems more tired than usual or has lost interest in playing and being active, this could be a sign that they are over-exercised. Just like people, dogs need time to rest and recover between workouts. Otherwise, they can become easily fatigued.
If your dog is usually full of energy but suddenly seems tired all the time, it’s best to cut back on their exercise routine and let them rest.
- Injuries on Paw Pads
Exercise for dogs means more than just running around – it can also include activities like walking, hiking, and playing fetch. However, all these activities put wear and tear on their paw pads.
If you notice any cuts, scrapes, or bruises on your dog’s paw pads, this could be a sign that they are over-exercised. It’s important to give their paws a break every now and then so as to prevent further injury.
It’s also important to note that dogs don’t necessarily process pain as we do. Imagine getting pricked by a nail while walking; you’ll immediately stop and assess the situation.
Dogs, on the other hand, will likely just keep going even if their paws are injured. Trust us; some dogs love to play more than their paws. Even the experts support this! “Some dogs will run until the pads on their feet tear and will then run some more,” said a veterinarian with Truesdell Animal Hospital, Dr. Susan Jeffrey.
- Heat Stroke
One of the most serious consequences of over-exercising your dog is heat stroke. This can occur when your dog’s body temperature gets too high, and they’re unable to cool themselves down.
Heat stroke is a medical emergency and can be fatal if not treated immediately. Symptoms include excessive panting, drooling, weakness, confusion, vomiting, and collapse.
If you think your dog is suffering from heat stroke, it’s important to cool them down immediately. You can take your dog to a cool area and pour cool water (not cold) over them. A water temperature of 15°-16° C is considered the most effective at cooling dogs. Once your dog is stable, visit the vet without wasting much time!
- Sore Muscles
Have you ever had a vigorous session at the gym only to wake up the next day feeling incredibly sore? Well, the same thing can happen to your dog if they’ve exercised too much.
If their muscles are feeling especially tender and they’re walking with a bit of a limp, it’s best to give them a rest. As mentioned above, dogs need time to recover from a workout, thus preventing injury.
If your dog is dealing with sore muscles, you can do a few things to help them feel better. Massaging their muscles gently can help to loosen up any knots or tension. You can also apply a cold compress to any particularly sore areas.
And, of course, the best thing you can do is just let them take their sweet time and rest properly!
- Behavioral Issues
You must have come across dogs that are excessively barking, chewing things, or digging holes. Well, these are some common behavioral issues that can arise if a dog is under-exercised as well as over-exercised.
Dogs need mental stimulation just as much as they need physical activity. If they’re not getting enough of either one, it can lead to them acting out in destructive ways.
The good news is that these behavioral issues are usually relatively easy to fix. If your dog is under-exercised, simply increase their physical activity. If they’re over-exercised, cut back on their exercise routine and focus on providing them with more mental stimulation.
How Can I Prevent Over-Exercising My Dog?
All dogs need some kind of physical exercise as well as mental stimulation. The exact amount of exercise they need will vary depending on their breed, age, energy levels, and medical conditions (if any).
However, on average, a healthy puppy needs about 5 minutes of exercise per month of age, twice a day. For example, a 3-month-old puppy needs about 15 minutes of exercise daily. When it comes to adult dogs, it can need anywhere between 30 and 60 minutes of exercise, depending on their breed and energy levels.
Apart from following the recommended exercise period, you should also set some ground rules to ensure your dog’s safety. Here are a few tips:
- Set Realistic Goals For Your Furry Friend
You should start with small goals and then gradually increase the duration and intensity of the exercise. Forcing your dog to run long distances or walk too fast can lead to joint problems, muscle soreness, and even heat stroke.
- Break Up Their Workout
You can break up your dog’s exercise routine into two or three shorter sessions throughout the day instead of one long session. it’ll help them stay fresh and be less likely to get injured.
- Choose The Right Time Of Day
Avoid exercising your dog in extremely hot or cold weather conditions. Also, try to avoid exercising them immediately after they have eaten a meal, as this can cause indigestion.
- Choose The Best Type Of Exercise For Your Dog
The best exercise for your dog is one that they enjoy and will actually want to do. If you have a herding breed, they may enjoy chasing a ball or Frisbee. If your dog is a working breed, it may enjoy going on hikes or runs with you. And if your dog is a couch potato, it may just enjoy a leisurely walk around the block.
The most important thing is that you find an activity that both you and your dog will enjoy so that it becomes part of your daily routine.
- Feed Them A Healthy Diet
A healthy diet is essential for all dogs, but it’s especially important for those that exercise regularly. High-quality dog food will provide them with the energy they need to stay active as well as the nutrients their bodies need to recover from exercise.
Make sure you feed your dog the right amount of food based on their weight and activity level. Generally, an adult dog needs about 2 cups of dry food in a day, split into two meals. You can check this food chart to know the ideal amount of food a dog needs as per their weight. Plus, you can talk to your veterinarian about what type of food would be best for your dog.
- Give Them Plenty Of Water
Always ensure your dog has access to plenty of fresh water, especially before and after exercise. Dogs can easily become dehydrated, so it’s important to make sure they drink enough water.
You can also add some electrolytes to their water if they will be exercising for a long time or in hot weather conditions.
- Take Them To The Vet Regularly
If you’re planning on starting an exercise routine with your dog, it’s advisable to take them to the vet first to ensure they are healthy enough to handle the extra activity.
Your vet can also help you create a safe and effective exercise plan for your dog based on their individual needs.
Some of My Favorite Products For Dog Owners
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If you’re looking for the most up-to-date recommendations, check out my recommended products section that I’ve created to help every dog owner!