How Much Should A 5 Month Old French Bulldog Weigh Forced Exercising Your Puppy or Dog Can Cause Serious Injury and Permanent Damage

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Forced Exercising Your Puppy or Dog Can Cause Serious Injury and Permanent Damage

How many times has it been heard: “We have the puppy or dog, to go jogging with me or my…” Many ardent exercise enthusiasts would love nothing more than to work out with their pet. They envision themselves staying fit not to mention sharing adventures and exploring new horizons together. They don’t realize that forced exercise will cause a lifetime of serious damage and pain for their pet.
Before you unintentionally cause serious injury and likely permanent damage to your puppy or young dog’s joints and bones, there are a few things you should be aware of. First of all, never allow forced exercise to any puppy under the age of 6 months. Forced exercise is any repetitive movement, over an extended period of time, that causes stress in developing joints and bones. That includes jogging, cycling, rollerblading, skateboarding, or even sled/cart pulling.

Not all dogs or breeds are capable of extreme endurance and forced exercise. Particular attention should be paid to the types and amounts of brachycephalic breeds (ie short head) for example Boxers, English Bulldogs, French Bulldogs, Boston Terriers and Pugs can handle. Large and giant breeds such as Great Danes, Wolfhounds and Irish and Russian Mastiffs also require unique considerations when working out an exercise program for the owner/dog.

As with human babies, puppies have growth plates that need to form and seal. It is called an epiphyseal scar. If the hardening of the soft area where bone growth is not allowed to occur, it will cause the bones of your puppy or young dog to bow, because they do not match the ends with the bone of connection. The epiphyseal plate is a plate of cartilage at the end of long bones. It can also be the site of endocrine bone disorders, fractures, metastases and even infections.

Dogs have 14 sets of growth plates. With small to medium sized dogs, the process usually takes 12-16 months. With those that will be more than 100 pounds, it often takes at least 18 months for the process to complete. Most reputable breeders and veterinarians believe that large and giant breeds cannot complete the process until they are about 2 years old. Be patient. Starting your dog too young will likely cause concussive damage such as fractures or joint damage that can result in arthritis, elbow and hip problems.

It is suggested to have your puppy or young dog x-rayed so there is a baseline to work from. With this, your vet will be able to estimate how long you should wait for the plates to close and you can start exercising with your dog.

While you wait for your little one to mature, you can work on his stamina. Focus on their cardiovascular and muscular development with stress-free exercises, such as swimming. Swimming is a great way to get and keep your dog in shape, without straining bones and joints. It is also a wonderful way to continue exercise with your dog in their senior years, when they can no longer join you in those classes.

Once you have permission from your vet, start slowly. Don’t expect your puppy or dog to immediately maintain your usual distance and speed. They have to work little by little.

Watch out for heavy panting, limping and whining. Your dog may be in distress or pain.

Bring plenty of water. Find a shady spot. Give only a little water at a time. Dogs don’t cool off by sweating like we do. They need water to keep them from overheating, dehydration and heat exhaustion.

Make it run only during the cooler times of the day.

Do not feed your pet immediately before or after its run. You risk cramping and Gastric Diliation-Volvulus (GDV), commonly known as “bloat”. GDV is the second leading natural cause of death for dogs.

Check their paws and pads periodically. It is much easier and more comfortable for them to be able to return home from a shorter distance.

If your dog shows signs of limping, is unable to get comfortable in certain positions, noticeably continues to change its weight, complains, appears in pain, shows no interest in joining you, or does not want to not be touched in some areas, ask your veterinarian.

If you are lucky, too much damage has not been done, and your dog has not been condemned to a life of chronic pain.

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