Never Over-Exercise a Puppy – Here’s Why

never over-exercise a puppy

Getting a new puppy or a younger dog means that you will be spending a good amount of time socializing her with other dogs. Of course, this can only happen once your puppy has been vaccinated. Exercise will be a big part of her life, but it’s crucial that you never over-exercise a puppy

There will be plenty of “firsts,” and lots of questions about what’s good and bad for your puppy. A puppy’s first year of life is a critical period of development — the experiences they are exposed to will set the tone for the rest of their lives.

Understanding Your Puppy’s Abilities

There are many things to focus on during the first year, the most important of which being obedience training, socialization, and play. Puppies have tons of energy and enjoy exploring their surroundings, interacting with other dogs, and learning as they go.

Why You Should Never Over-Exercise a Puppy

While puppies may start the day with boundless amounts of energy, they get tired faster than older dogs, and so it’s important that you give them time to recharge.

Do not push your puppy to exercise or play more when you see that they are ready to rest. Making sure she gets enough play and socialization is vital, but be mindful to never over-exercise a puppy. There can be too much of a good thing for puppies!

These are reasons why you must be careful to never over-exercise your puppy, and ways to spot that she’s reached her limits. 

Proper Plate Development

Your puppy’s growth plates are bunches of cartilage at the end of the leg bones. They calcify and get hard as your puppy develops and builds muscle memory. This process can take up to two years for larger dogs.

Read also: How Much is Too Much Exercise for a Puppy?

While growth plates are developing, they are vulnerable to damage, injury and overexertion. This can lead to healing issues and even deformities that may affect their lifelong ability to move. 

Over-Stimulating Your Puppy

Puppies will put all of their energy into whatever they are doing. Whether they’re playing or meeting new dogs and making new human friends, they are all in. It is good for your pup to burn off excess energy, but monitor the situation.

It’s crucial that your puppy does not become over-excited or hyperactive, as they may become overtired or fail to integrate their learning experiences.

Straining and Spraining

In general, puppies are especially clumsy as they adjust to the feeling of their body, so they can easily hurt themselves. And, they can suffer long-term damage to their growth plates.

Puppies will push themselves past the limits if they’re allowed to because they want to keep up with other dogs and people and be part of the fun.

Even small-scale strains or sprains will be painful for your puppy and prevent them from being active for a while. So, have your puppy take breaks during play and make sure they get lots of rest after play is over.

Paw Pads

A puppy has soft paw pads. Over time, they will harden and adjust to the rough surfaces they walk on, like concrete and gravel. Eventually, puppies will walk and run for hours on end.

But, before the pads harden, they can be damaged easily! Pay close attention to how your puppy plays and uses their paw pads and tend to any sores or cuts as soon as possible.

Grumpy Puppy

After exercise, your puppy should be tired and ready to rest and relax, but should not be totally drained.

Take into account the playtime and walk back home to make sure your puppy doesn’t overdo it. If your puppy is over-exhausted, they may become grumpy and act out. This is a sign that they were pushed beyond their limits. You can prevent this by wrapping up playtime while your puppy still has a bit of energy to spare for the walk home. 

It’s never worth over-exercising your puppy because it can have serious lifelong consequences, often associated with costly veterinary bills. 

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