Joyful dog

Just like humans, dogs need plenty of exercise to lead happy and healthy lives. Many of us love having our pup join in for a run or jog. As pet parents, it is our job to make sure our furry friends are exercising in ways that prevent injury and optimize healthy living. Here are five tips for starting a safe exercise program for your pup:

Make sure dog is mature enough to exercise

Exercise programs that require jogging or intense cardio require that your dog be at least 12 months. Intense exercise programs before this can cause long term joint damage.

Pup younger than 12 months? Encourage them to play out in the yard or with toys to burn off all that energy!

Start slowly

Once your pup is of age, start the program slowly. Your pup’s health will be better in the long term if you ease into the program – so start with one mile instead of ten right off the bat.

Dogs need roughly 30-60 minutes of exercise a day to maintain a healthy weight. Puppies typically require a little more, as they have more energy, and it is recommended that they get two 30-45 minute sessions a day.


Watch for injuries

Dogs want to make us happy, and many won’t show signs of injuries (like joint or muscle pain) during exercise. Make sure to check them every day for tenderness – especially on their legs, hips, and paws (they don’t have nice, air cushioned shoes like you!).

Beware of overheating

Dogs cooling systems don’t work like humans, so your furry friend will feel the afternoon heat before you do. Dogs cool themselves through panting and through the pads on their feet – if the pavement is hot, they may not only injure their pads but also may not cool as efficiently. Make sure to carry plenty of water and don’t be afraid to take a break in the shade.

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Your dog will grow and learn positive behavior while getting plenty of exercise.

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Nutrition is key

Fuel is energy! As you and your pup start to exercise more regularly, your pup’s nutritional needs may change as they start to burn more fat and gain more muscle. Check with your vet to ensure your pup is eating the proper food and getting any needed supplements.

Can’t work out with your pup? With Dogtopia’s doggie daycare, we exercise your pup and ensure they get proper socialization and ample play time. Dogtopia’s dog daycare facilities include spacious, climate-controlled playrooms that are 100% fully supervised. Playrooms are grouped by size, personality and play style to make sure your dog is safe and comfortable. Learn more today!

-Written by Colleen Demling, Dogtopia’s Canine Behaviorist. With over 30,000 hours and 15 years of HANDS ON dog training experience, Colleen is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer and Behaviorist. She is a frequent contributor to local and national media including Yahoo, The Huffington Post, Woman’s Day and many more. Colleen was a finalist for Entrepreneur of the Year by Women in the Pet Industry Network. She was also named a 2015 Woman of Influence and one of the Top 40 Under 40 by Pet Age Magazine. Learn more: