Exercise is essential to keep your dog fit, healthy, and happy. But too much of it can be as harmful as not enough. So you have to make sure you don’t overdo it, especially if you’re an active person. Pushing your dog too hard can have serious negative repercussions.
Since we have control over our pets’ exercise regimen, it’s our responsibility to adapt it if needed. Now you probably wonder how you can know if you over-exercise your dog. Well, I’m here to help you figure it out.
How To Know If You Exercise Your Dog Too Much?
Symptoms and signs of over-exercising in dogs are often the best indicators to know if you’re doing too much. It can include excessive panting, heat sickness, exhaustion, sore muscles, and many more. If your dog has any of those symptoms, it might be a sign that he’s getting too much exercise.
However, sometimes it’s not as obvious as you might think. And prevention is better than cure, so you don’t have to wait until the problem occurs to take action. If signs and symptoms are present, it’s kind of too late because the harm has already been done.
The best way to avoid your dog from over-exercising is to know his conditions and limits. Make sure to consider his age, health, breed, and fitness level. With that in mind, you will be able to provide your dog with an appropriate amount and type of exercise.
But regardless of how careful you are, you might end up pushing him too hard someday. That’s why it’s so important to always pay attention to your dog during intense or extended physical activity. Otherwise, you won’t notice signs and symptoms that it’s too much.
Signs That You Over Exercise Your Dog!
After an excessive mental or physical effort, your dog’s body and mind will react in a certain way. That’s where symptoms come into play. Some will be noticeable right after the activity, while others might take more time to develop.
Therefore, I have divided the list into two categories. The short-term signs and long-term ones. It means you should watch over your dog during and after the exercise. You can even check on him before an intense or extended effort to make sure he’s ready for it.
Now here’s what you should be looking for…
Panting is a way for dogs to cool down their body temperature. So it’s normal for them to pant after exercise. But if your dog does it more intensely than usual and has trouble breathing, it’s a sign that something is wrong.
It’s often the first symptom that you will notice following too much or vigorous physical activity. If your dog needs to pant excessively during exercise, you’re probably overdoing it. Panting is normal but don’t neglect it when it becomes worrying.
Taking your dog’s pulse regularly is a good habit. It will help you understand how hard his cardiovascular system is working during exercise. After some time you should have a better idea of what his normal heart rate is when active.
Then, you will be able to compare from time to time. And if your dog has a more rapid pulse than usual, it might be too much exercise for him. But be careful because it can also be caused by excitement, anxiety, health conditions, and many other things.
If your dog is lagging behind more or slower than normal, you might be over-exercising him. When his body or mind can’t keep up doing a certain effort, it’s probably too much. So make sure to let your dog set the pace if you don’t want to push him too hard.
Weakness or Collapsing.
It’s normal that your dog is tired after exercise, but weakness and collapsing are not. If he lacks strength and reaches a point where he can’t even stand anymore, you definitely overdo it.
Too much exercise on a hot and sunny day can result in heat sickness. It can include signs of dehydration, high body temperature, changes in gums, excessive drooling, and other symptoms mentioned above.
Heat stroke or exhaustion occurs when your dog isn’t able to regulate his body temperature. It can lead to serious problems and even be fatal. So it’s essential not to over-exercise a dog when it’s hot outside.
If your dog seems to suffer from muscular pain and stiffness, you might be exercising him too much. It’s a sign that the muscles were overexerted during physical activity. Sore muscles will generally occur in a dog after an intense muscular effort.
Just as for humans, it will take some time to develop and recover from it. Sore muscles can lead to pain and more serious problems, including exertional rhabdomyolysis. It’s a metabolic disease caused by overexertion that can damage the muscle cells of the dog.
Exhaustion After Exercise.
It’s normal for your dog to be tired after an intense effort, but extreme fatigue shouldn’t be ignored. Exhaustion after exercise means that it was too much for the body or mind to handle. So if your dog is more tired than usual or it lasts for too long, you probably overdo it.
Often related to exhaustion, it’s not normal that your dog seems lethargic after physical activity. A sudden lack of energy and enthusiasm is another sign that it was too much exercise. It can happen right after the effort, but also during the hours or days following it.
Wear And Tear Paws.
Another good habit you can take is to regularly look at your dog’s paws. If they are damaged, it might be because of too much exercise. It can result in paw injuries and serious pain for your dog.
Another common long-term sign of over-exercising in dogs is behavioral changes. Too much exercise can make them less energetic and more irritable than usual. It can also be as simple as refusing to go on a walk or a run when your dog used to be excited about it.
Any Other Unusual Sign!
Finally, you should be careful and ask yourself questions as soon as you notice any weird symptoms in your dog after exercise. The physical or mental effort was maybe too much for him. So you have to look for unusual signs before, during, and after the activity to know if you overdo it.
What To Do If Your Dog Shows Symptoms Of Overexertion?
The treatment you should give your dog after too much exercise will mainly depend on the diagnosis. But in general, stopping the effort and resting is the best way to recover from overexertion. Your dog will need time to heal and get back in top shape.
Besides that, you should provide him with enough water and energy foods. It can help boost the metabolism to accelerate and ease the recovery process. Then, finding an appropriate place for your dog to rest is also an excellent idea.
Depending on the cause and symptoms, there might be more specific treatments that apply. For example, heat sickness can be soothed by taking the dog to a cooler place ideally in the shade, and keeping him hydrated. Wet towels can also help reduce body temperature.
On the other hand, that won’t help a dog with wear and tear paws. In this case, you should probably avoid unnecessary walking and apply some paw wax on the damaged pads. Then, you have to let the injuries heal and maybe consider investing in dog shoes.
Consult A Veterinarian!
The best way to find the right treatments for your dog is to talk with a professional in pet care. Too much exercise might not be the only cause. Other health conditions and problems can lead to the symptoms mentioned above.
Therefore, it’s always a good idea to consult a veterinarian if your dog shows unusual signs after exercise. He will be able to perform tests and provide a specific diagnosis. Then, make sure to follow your vet’s instructions and take the medication prescribed if it applies.
What About Over Exercising Puppies?
If you have a puppy, you should be even more careful with intense and extended physical activity. Young dogs are more fragile and have much less endurance, so they are more likely to get over-exercised. It can be bad for their development and lead to serious problems.
Therefore, make sure to look for signs of overexertion right from the start, and don’t provide your pup with too much exercise. Otherwise, you will cause him more harm than good. And I’m sure that’s not what you want.
Last Thoughts About Dog Over Exercise Signs & Symptoms!
Finally, it’s generally easy to notice if you exercise your dog too much. Anything unusual before, during, or after an intense effort should not be neglected. It might be a sign that you’re doing too much.
Symptoms in a dog such as excessive panting, extreme fatigue, sore muscles, and changing behavior, mean something is wrong. And oftentimes it’s related to exercise. Overdoing it will cause negative repercussions and those signs are warnings.
So please make sure to do something about it before it’s too late. Don’t push your dog too hard and everything should be alright. But keep the signs and symptoms of over-exercising in mind just in case you notice one in your dog.
Then, it will be much easier to find the cause, treat it, and avoid making the same mistake in the future.
Let’s Exercise That Dog Without Overdoing It!