Exercise and Your New Puppy

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It is normal for very active folks to want to run and bike and hike through the streets and countryside with our new puppy.

Proper bone and joint development requires activity, however too much exercise can
cause long-term damage. Joint cartilage has limited regenerative capability and can be damaged by the repeated shock of excessive exercise. If the damage is not repaired, normal growth is disrupted.

Inherited conditions like hip and elbow dysplasia and osteochondritis disseccans can
be worsened by too much exercise at an early age. A recent study showed that puppies from birth to three months of age who walked on stairs had an increased risk for developing hip dysplasia. Puppies with off-leash exercise during the same age range had a decreased risk.

Moderation is key.

Start slow and work up. Leash-walking and free play are excellent. Avoid heavy or
extended activity on inclines and hills. Gentle play time with other puppies is fine.
Running around with adult dogs can be harmful because the puppy may overdo it tryingto keep up. Fence-running, excessive ball/stick/Frisbee chasing, and jogging may alsobe too much.

It is best to wait until two to four months after your puppy reaches their adult height to begin intensive exercise. Slowly increase activity over several months until adult
exercise levels are attained. Watch for signs of joint pain such as limping, abnormal gait or reluctance to exercise.

Waiting until your trusted companion obtains adequate skeletal development will allow you to enjoy many more years of exercising together.