Dangers of over exercising your puppy or young dog

The cooler weather is among us in Newburyport! The fall is the best time of the year for many of us residing in New England, with the cooler weather, the crisp and clean smelling air and endless amount of fall activities to do with our families. No wonder we’re so motivated to spend the majority of our weekends outside enjoying it all! There are certain dangers, however, especially when we spend too much time exercising our young dogs and puppies during this beautiful season.


Have you heard of puppy growth plates? 

Growth plates are soft developing cartilage that can be found by the end of the long bones. As your puppy develops, the cartilage starts to calcify and turns into dense bone. As your puppy is developing, the soft growth plates are particularly susceptible to injury and fractures because they are the last part of the bone to harden. 


How does this impact my dog?

Over exercising or rough housing with your puppy at such a critical point in their development, can lead to permanent deformities or cell damage. This could be on one or both sides of your puppy’s body and result in one side continuing to grow, while the damaged side stops and your pups’ leg may end up “bowing” in the forearm area. 

Puppy growth plates firm up depending on the size of the dog but between 8 and 20 months for giant breeds (I.e. Great Danes, mastiffs, Newfoundland’s). Here is a general guide for the time it takes for a puppy’s growth plates to close:


“Veterinarian and agility expert, Joni L. Freshman, veterinarian and agility expert, recommends refraining from “any jumping training, any weave poles or any contact (climbing) obstacles until the growth plates are closed as well.” (SOURCE: Pet Helpful)


How much is too much?

According to the U.K. Kennel Club, the general rule of thumb for exercise in puppies is: “five minutes of exercise per month of age, twice a day”, or for an 8 month old puppy, he or she would need approximately 40 minutes of exercise, play or basic obedience training, twice per day. We recommend low impact walks on softer services a couple times per day and canine brain games! This could be playing a game of “find it” with pieces of your dogs’ favorite treat on the front lawn, a puzzle game (I buy mine on amazon), a snuffle mat or using a flirt pole (limit the time spent using this). 

Do you want to come home to a tired and content pup after a long day at work? Call us! 781.922.1707. 



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