healthy-bone-development

Healthy bone development

When it comes to fostering healthy bone development, there’s a crucial interplay between stress and rest that you should be aware of. A dog’s skeleton isn’t fully developed until it is 24 months old. As a dog’s bones grow, they need the right kind of stimulation to develop propperly.
But what exercise do they need and how long should a puppy be walked?  It’s all about finding that perfect harmony between movement and rest

Let’s break it down!

  1. Understanding the Balance: Bones thrive on a balance of stress and rest. Stress, in this context, refers to the positive force that promotes bone growth. Rest is equally essential, allowing the body the time it needs to effectively nurture this growth.
  2. Five minutes a month: This rule suggests that a puppy can be walked 5 minutes for every month of age. For example: A 3 months old pup can be walked approximately 3 x 5 = 15 minutes. It’s a guideline but this rule is not set in stone. Always look at your dog and be mindful of the intensity of the walk. The physical strain of 5 minutes strolling on a leash is a lot less  than 5 minutes of off leash running in the dog park.
  3. The Role of Sprinting: Think of sprinting as a short but explosive burst of physical activity. This kind of activity, much like a puppy’s playful sprints, provides the ideal stimuli for healthy bone development.
  4. Long distances (endurance): In contrast, walking or running longer distances involves a prolonged, consistent level of physical strain. This can be less suitable for your puppy, as the sustained stress can hinder recovery and optimal bone growth.
  5. Growth spurts: Every puppy develops at it’s own pace, but all puppies experience patterns of growth. During a growth spurt the height and weight increases in a very short period of time. During these growth spurs, it is recomended to shorten your walks instead of increasing them because growing takes a lot of energy.
  6. Slippery surfaces: To protect the joints, it’s recommended to cover them. Carpets or mats work great.
  7. Observing Puppies: Watch puppies playing, and you’ll see them engaging in many short sprint activities. They run energetically, then take a break, in  a repeating pattern that mirrors the ideal balance of effort and relaxation needed for healthy bone development.
  8. Exercising is important for health and longevity. Not just for dogs but also for us humans! So enjoy the walks with your dog and improve health and longevity for the both of you.

So, here’s the takeaway: If you’re looking to promote healthy bone development in your Shar Pei puppy, exercise them, but be very mindful of intensity and duration. Instead of increasing the distance of your walks, consider incorporating short bursts of activity into your routine. High impact activities like jumping and twisting are best avoided.

Sources: “Een hondenleven lang, fysiek en mentaal in balans” by Martine Burgers and Sam Turner, 2020, Martineburgers.nl, pdsa.uk.org

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