Should My Puppy Go For Walks?
Getting a new puppy in your family can be one of the most exciting experiences! But you’re probably wondering, “Should my puppy go for walks?” That’s a great question! Puppies need much less exercise than fully-grown dogs. So, before you go for your first outing together, make sure your puppy is ready to walk. You need to be sure you give your puppy the appropriate amount and type of exercise. Here’s what you should consider before you can take your puppy for a walk.
Puppies have developing immune systems, and until they’re fully vaccinated, they are highly susceptible to dangerous viruses like parvovirus and distemper. For that reason, veterinarians recommend waiting until two weeks after your puppy’s final vaccination booster before taking them outside for walks. Typically that means that by the time they’re 16-18 weeks old, they’ll be ready and protected enough to explore.
2. Energy Level
Be sure to consider your puppy’s energy level. Most puppies love to play, but a high-energy breed, like an Australian shepherd, will probably be able to walk longer than a flat-faced breed, like a pug. You should also consider your dog’s mental energy level. For example, a very smart border collie may need more mental stimulation and outside time than other types of dogs.
Also, consider your puppy’s size. Studies have shown that there are potential links between over-exercise and orthopedic disease in large- and giant-breed dogs. The bones and joints of large or giant breed puppies mature more slowly than those of smaller dogs. Big dogs like Great Danes and St. Bernards shouldn’t take longer walks until they’re at least eight months old.
According to the Kennel Club UK, a good rule of thumb when deciding how much to walk your puppy is a ratio of five minutes of exercise per month of age. For example, when your puppy is three months old, walk them for 15 minutes a day. When they’re six months old, walk them for 30 minutes a day. Sill make sure to take your puppy outside as often as they need to go. Your puppy will be going potty a lot, so it’s a good idea to schedule multiple outings per day. As mentioned previously, once your puppy is fully vaccinated, you can turn two or three of those outings into short walks.
5. Too Much Exercise
Your puppy needs exercise, but walking too much can be harmful for growing dogs.If you over-exercise a growing puppy, they can become overtired and this can also cause damage to their developing joints, which can potentially cause early arthritis. “Over-exercise” can be described as anything beyond what your puppy would engage in with puppies of similar age. For example, if your puppy is running around after adult dogs, that may be too much exercise for them. Also, puppies shouldn’t go running with their owners since they won’t yet be ready for that level of activity.
If you’re still wondering “Should my puppy go for walks?,” you should consult your veterinarian for specific advice. Taking walks together is one of the best things about having a dog, but just make sure you keep your puppy safe! When your puppy is fully grown, you’ll be able to take much longer walks together. Take a look at our blog “Top 5 Benefits of Daily Exercise for Dogs” for when your fur baby gets older – they will definitely thank you for waiting!