Exercise keeps your dog fit. It helps your dog with various mental and physical benefits. It helps maintain muscle mass, which prevents injury, decreases obesity, and maintains cardiovascular health. But what happens when over-exercising the dogs?
According to Dr. Robin Downing, Director of the famous hospital, “The Downing Center for Animal Pain Management” in Colorado – One of the reasons dogs and humans get along so well is because we both value the structure in our respective worlds. Regular exercise provides day-to-day predictability that dogs truly cherish, simply because it is their nature.
He also adds that a sudden overdose of exercising in dogs because the dog has recently gained weight can sometimes lead to joint, back, and respiratory injuries.
If you are looking at building a consistent exercise regimen, it is best to consult a vet. They will be able to analyze your dog’s health conditions and advise you on the best exercises your furry friend can follow.
Can you over-exercise your dog?
Physical activities for dogs are a must. But there comes a question “Can I over-exercise my dog’. Just like humans, dogs also have a specific exercise limit. This widely depends on the dog’s breed, age, health, and fitness level. Overexercise in dogs occurs when there is an increase in their level of physical activity. Walking is the best dog exercise. Walking half-hour a day keeps them healthy. But if you suddenly increase the activity time, say one hour or more, it becomes over-exertion in dogs.
Symptoms of Overexercising in dogs
The symptoms of overexercising in dogs can vary depending on the severity of the condition, but some common signs include:
- Muscle pain and stiffness
- Fatigue and weakness
- Decreased appetite
- Dark or reddish-brown urine (indicating muscle damage)
- Vomiting, diarrhea, and dehydration
- Increased body temperature
- Rapid breathing or panting
- Lameness or stiffness in the limbs
- Mood changes such as depression or irritability
It’s important to note that not all dogs will show all of these symptoms, and some may only exhibit a few. If your dog is showing any signs of overexercising, it’s important to seek medical attention from a veterinarian as soon as possible to prevent further complications.
What happens if you over-exercise your dog?
Like humans, dogs feel muscle and joint pains and feel uncomfortable until their body is back to normal. The below mentioned are the signs of over-exercising in dogs.
- Rough paw pads
- Sore muscles
- Heat Sickness
- Joint injury
- Behavioural changes
Wear-and-Tear on Paw Pads
This is very common among pups. Sometimes the dogs give more importance to play. For them, playtime is more important than painful feet. So, they will choose to run even if their paw pads are affected. Here, the feet are already damaged and yet exposed to more exercise.
Pad injuries are very painful. It causes ruptured blisters on foot. The best way to identify this issue is to constantly check your dog’s paws for wear and tear. If your dog has an overworked paw, there will be visible flaps in the skin. If it’s infected, you will find swelling or sometimes even pus.
‘Can dogs get sore muscles?’ many pet parents search this on the internet. The actual answer is Yes. Sore muscle, otherwise known as muscular pain, is also an effect of overworking. This is visible if your dog finds it difficult to get up after heavy exercise.
Most often, dogs with sore muscles refuse to exercise or even walk afterward. He/she may not eat much after exercise. This is because it hurts to reach down for the food.
Under some conditions, they may develop a condition called exertional rhabdomyolysis. This causes tissue to break down, sometimes leading to kidney damage or failure.
Reduce the soreness by unsubscribing to a weekend warrior syndrome. As humans, you are busy throughout the week and therefore work hard during the weekends to stay fit. When you couple your dog into this, its body will revolt. Their muscles will not be conditioned to sudden exercise, leading to fatigue.
Heat sickness, otherwise popularly known as Heatstroke in dogs, is generally caused during summer. The body temperature increases above 106 degrees. This stage becomes life-threatening to pets. Big breeds, such as Boxers, bulldogs have a greater risk because they do not tend to cool off like peers. It is best to not take them out on the run during warmer climates; just because your dog wants to exercise does not really mean it is good for them.
Rhabdomyolysis in dogs
Rhabdomyolysis is a condition that occurs when muscle tissue breaks down, releasing a protein called myoglobin into the bloodstream. In dogs, one of the common causes of rhabdomyolysis is overexercising. Dogs who are pushed too hard during intense physical activity, such as running or weight training, are at risk of developing the condition. Symptoms of rhabdomyolysis in dogs include muscle pain and weakness, dark urine, and decreased appetite. The condition can lead to kidney failure and other serious complications if left untreated. It’s important for pet owners to be aware of the dangers of overexercising their dogs and to monitor their activity levels to prevent rhabdomyolysis. If your dog shows any signs of the condition, seek prompt medical attention from a veterinarian.
Symptoms of Overheating:
- Noisy breathing
- Collapsing or convulsion
- Change in Gum color
- Body Temperature
A joint injury is a sprain or strain caused in the dog’s joints. Toe joints are more susceptible. This is because dogs carry 60-70 percent of their weight in the front limb. Therefore, there is a lot of stress on their limbs.
There are cases when a dog has straight legs; in such cases, they put quite a lot of weight which the bone cannot take, leading to stifling joints.
Breeds that are longer such as Dachshunds, Hounds, etc. are more susceptible to joint injuries when exposed to exercise. These breeds also are prone to backaches.
It should concern you if your dog likes to exercise but shows a sudden aversion towards it. You need to check with a vet immediately. Dogs need to exercise constantly in order to maintain physical and mental fitness. But, overworking a dog can cause issues that are beyond repair.
Here are a few symptoms to find out if your dog is exhausted:
- Excessive panting or difficulty in breathing.
- Abnormal drooling
- Change in gum color
- Lack of urine.
- Rapid pulse.
How Much Exercise Should I Give My Dog?
Generally, a dog’s fitness depends on many factors, including age, breed type, energy level, health, and fitness level. Adult dogs mostly exercise or engage in physical activities for 30 minutes daily. But there are a few exceptions when your pet has health issues. Remember, when your dog exercises, its temperature rises, and it becomes overheated or exhausted. It’s better to avoid dog exercises when the weather is warmer than 85 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit. If your pet relaxes inside a car or an RV, better monitor their ambient temperature and humidity range with Waggle Pet Monitor. It alerts you instantly if your pet’s temperature or humidity is unsafe. So, quickly move your pet to a well-ventilated space and cool them down.