Dear Porky and Buddy,
So, I was out walking my little dog, Toto, the other day (Yes, I know, but he came with that name.) and we were walking for a couple of minutes, then running for a couple of minutes and generally having a good time, when some lady came up to me and started to yell at me about being mean to Toto by making him run.
I guess she thought he is too little for that kind of exercise. He is about ten pounds and as far as I can tell he LOVES going on these run/walks with me once a day. Am I wrong? Are there some kinds of dogs that should not be taken on walks?
Dear Not Dorothy,
What a witch! (Sorry, couldn’t help ourselves). If Toto acts like he is having a good time then he probably is.
Most dogs love going on walks and in all likelihood, unless you are some kind of sprinter, your run is an easy pace for him.
We don’t know how long you have been doing this, but it wouldn’t hurt to check with your vet if you think that Toto already has or is developing any exercise related health problems. He can check Toto for any health issues that may be aggravated by exercise and suggest safer activities if need be.
Assuming everything checks out OK, there are some commonsense rules:
Make sure Toto gets a chance to take in water on a regular basis. Carry a collapsible bowl to fill along the way or even carry a water bottle. Let him have time to sniff stuff and explore. Take time to stop for a few seconds and just pet him and tell him he’s doing a good job. Walking your dog is all about companionship as much as or even more than exercise, so build that in too. Don’t take him out walking or running when it’s very hot out. And remember how hot cement or blacktop can get and how hard that is on Toto’s paws. If you must walk on cement or blacktop, do it earlier or later in the day to avoid that problem.
There are some size breed and age considerations for walking dogs.
We don’t know what kind of dog Toto is, so here are some general tips.
Small or short-legged dogs usually don’t need as much walking as larger dogs. Breeds with short or flat noses, like pugs and some boxers can have trouble breathing when exercised vigorously. Sustained jogging or running is not recommended for young dogs whose bones haven’t finished growing. Because large dogs are more prone to cruciate ligament injuries, arthritis and hip dysplasia, sustained jogging can be hard on their joints and bones, too.
Breeds that are prone to bloat, that is, deep-chested, narrow-bodied breeds, such as German shepherds, Doberman pinschers and Great Danes should not be exercised right after meals. Racing hounds, like greyhounds and whippets, are built for short-distance sprinting, not long-distance runs. Then they take naps. But all of these dogs can have some form or reasonable exercise, their preferred role in life is NOT being a couch potato.
So whatever Toto is, we hope you continue to have fun with him.
One way to do that is by coming to Every Dog Has Its Day on October 19 at Fallbrook Recreation Center – the annual 5K Run/Walk and 1 Mile Family Walk and People and Pets Celebration.
Sign in starts at 11 a.m. and it’s much smoother and less expensive if you pre-register.
Find out more and sign up at http://www.oswegohumane.org/