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Dog - Health & Wellness

Exercise to Keep Your Puppy Happy, Healthy and Active

Let’s talk about keeping your new puppy active. You might ask, “Is there any other way for a puppy to be?” It’s true that puppies have plenty of energy built right in, but there are many options for channeling all that energy into a productive routine that will keep your puppy happy, healthy and learning great habits for the future.

Just like us, a good exercise routine is beneficial to your puppy now, and as they get older. Regular activity can substantially improve the quality of life for your pup, both physically and mentally. When your pup has had sufficient exercise, it also can help decrease - or even eliminate - so-called "boredom behaviors" like chewing, digging or endless barking.

As a puppy parent, it’s important to choose the right type of activity for you and your pup. Choose one that is safe and the right level of intensity for their age and you will both have a blast. Remember: your pup can’t tell you when they’ve had too much fun, but they can give you a couple indications. If you see heavy panting or an altered gait, it may be time to take a break. Put the squeaky toy away and head for a bowl of water and some shade. There will be plenty of play ahead for you and your pup!

Recommended puppy activities

Walking
Dogs need to be walked daily, and a good walk together is a good way to bond and even socialize your pup.

Playtime
Grab a soft ball or squeaky toy and enjoy a game of fetch. This is a great way to keep your dog alert and active.

Swimming
Does your pup like water? Swimming is a great activity that your pup may love to do naturally. Be sure to provide an exit ramp and supervise your pup around open water such as a pool or spa. In the beginning you can use a puppy life vest for safety.

Visiting the dog park
If your pup has had vaccinations and is over 16 weeks of age, a trip to the dog park is a great way to socialize with other dogs. Make sure to take it slow when introducing your pup to new friends. Pay attention to body language and if you see any growling or showing of teeth, separate the dogs immediately.

Activities not recommended for puppies

Jogging/running
Puppies simply don't have the stamina to keep up with you. At this age, bones and joints are not fully formed yet, so taking your puppy for a full-on run will have to wait until after one year of age.

Rollerblading/biking/skateboarding
These activities are dangerous for your puppy, or a dog at any age. Most dogs cannot keep up with this kind of activity and there is a strong likelihood for injury for your and your dog.

A healthy approach to an active pup

6 weeks to 4 months

  • Short walks on soft terrain
  • Playing with soft toys in a contained area, such as a fenced yard
  • Swimming in warmer water for short periods

4 to 6 months

  • Longer walks on soft terrain
  • Playing with soft toys
  • Swimming and playing with toys in the water

8 to 12 months

  • Faster and/or longer walks on soft terrain
  • Playing with soft toys
  • Swimming and playing with toys in the water for longer periods

12 Months and Up

  • Walks on terrain that has been checked for hazards such as unseen glass, holes, ditches, wires, stakes and metal fragments
  • Jogging with you (begin with short distances on softer terrain until endurance is built up)
  • Playing with appropriate toys
  • Swimming and playing with toys in the water