Puppies and exercise: finding the right balance

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You’ve bought a lead. You’ve stocked up on poo bags. You and your puppy are ready to go. Exercise is an important part of your energetic puppy’s routine, but too much can increase their chances of suffering from issues like joint pain later in life. So what’s the right amount? Head Vet Sean is here with his top tips.

How much exercise does my puppy need?

Puppies are naturally energetic. But growing takes lots of energy too, so it’s important your puppy doesn’t use up all their va-va-voom in the park. To strike the right balance, watch your puppy’s behaviour. When they start to look tired, it’s time to rest.

Related blog: Mental & physical exercise for your dog

What kind of exercise is best for my puppy?

Exercise isn’t just about keeping your puppy active; it’s also a chance to socialise with other people and dogs. Getting out and about lets your puppy experience new sights, sounds and smells – all great for their mental development. Just make sure your puppy’s vaccinations are up to date before you start exploring. Vaccination schedules vary, so always ask your vet when it’s OK for you and your puppy to hit the park. It’s likely to be somewhere around the 11-week mark.

How do I avoid over-exercising my puppy?

An active puppy is generally a happy puppy, but over-exercising your dog when they’re young can lead to mobility problems later. Follow these tips and give your puppy the best possible start.

  • Let your puppy set the pace – they’ll show you what they’re comfortable with. Spritely dogs like Springer Spaniels are likely to be much more energetic than laid-back breeds, like Shih Tzus.
  • Limit high-impact exercise – like long walks, running, jumping or playing on hard surfaces
  • Stop when they’re tired  – keep your eyes peeled for signs your puppy’s worn out.
  • Give big dogs lots of rest – large and giant breeds are more prone to joint issues, so if your dog is a German Shepherd, Great Dane, or similar-sized breed, it’s important to build up activity slowly.
  • Let them rest after dinner getting exercise within 30 minutes of eating can cause your puppy to bloat.
  • Let them nap – puppy looking snoozy? Leave them to it: sleep lets their body grow, cells repair and brain develop.

Is my puppy’s food making them hyperactive?

It’s unlikely your puppy’s food is the reason they’re always so full of get-up-and-go. Puppies have lots of mental, as well as physical, energy. If your hyper puppy’s still wired after physical exercise, try adding some extra mental exercise to their day:

  • Interactive play swap fetch for a problem-solving game, like hiding a ball under cups
  • Toys – especially challenging ones like Kong toys
  • Training – master ‘sit’, ‘stay’ and ‘roll over’ then try some more creative commands
  • Adventures – new experiences will get your puppy’s brain working overtime
  • Socialising – great for mental stimulation and mastering doggy manners

Related blog: Socialising your puppy

How much should I feed my active puppy?

puppy exercise

Puppy foods already include the extra calories your puppy needs to grow, play and generally fill your life with fun. If you’re giving them a bit extra because it seems like they’re always on the go, you could be doubling up, and that’s not good for them in the long-run.

Related blog: How much should I feed my puppy?

As a tails.com customer, this isn’t something you need to worry about. We work out what nutrients and energy your puppy needs, based on the exact information in their profile. Then we adjust their recipe every two weeks, so it keeps up with your puppy as they grow.

Help us keep your puppy’s nutrition accurate by:

  • Updating your puppy’s weight regularly so we can keep track of their growth
  • Telling us their activity level – for the first few months, your puppy shouldn’t be doing enough exercise to need lots of extra calories. Once they hit 14 weeks this can change, so we’ll ask you to update your puppy’s activity level in their online profile. Remember their activity level doesn’t include their general bounciness – just the exercise they do on top.

Related blog: 10 tips for new puppy owners

Got a question about how much exercise your puppy needs? Contact us hello@tails.com – our vet and nutritionist team are practically puppy personal trainers, and they’re always happy to help.

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