Healthy puppy growth lasts a lifetime
Losing weight is more challenging than maintaining a healthy weight in the first place, so it's important that healthy habits and behaviours are introduced from day one.
How much exercise does a puppy need every day?
When it comes to giving guidance on how much exercise a puppy needs, it is very difficult to give a precise answer. The simple truth is that the amount of exercise a puppy should have, depends on each individual puppy.
As a starting point however, consider your dog’s size and breed type. Smaller dogs tend to mature to adulthood at between 6 and 12 months old and therefore are able to tolerate increased levels of exercise at an earlier age. Exercise for puppies who will grow into larger dogs needs to be carefully monitored for a longer period of time – they may grow quickly but they mature slowly. They won’t achieve adulthood until they are between 18 and 24 months.
A general guide is to aim to exercise your puppy for five minutes for every month of their age, twice a day; so a 4 month old puppy could be exercised 20 minutes, twice a day, whereas an 8 month old puppy could be exercised for 40 minutes, twice daily.
You should also consider the type of exercise, as well as
the length of exercise sessions. You can help to meet your puppies exercise
requirements by providing a mix of walking, playing, training and socialising.
Try to avoid activities that involve a lot of jumping or climbing, as this puts
extra stain on the joints of growing dogs which is particularly important for
large and giant breed puppies.
A puppy’s different needs at each stage
Puppies of all breeds change rapidly as they grow up. When you're raising a puppy week-by-week, it can be helpful to be aware of how their needs change. Understanding the different stages of their development can help you prepare and feel confident that you're giving your puppy the best start possible.
The developmental changes your puppy will experience from birth can have a significant impact on nutritional and exercise requirements. During puppyhood, lots of things will happen. Your pet’s adult teeth will appear and their skeleton and organs will grow.
As all these changes take place, it’s vital that your puppy receives the most appropriate nutrition for them – and that care is taken not to overfeed, which could cause unnecessary weight gain.
A healthy weight starts with healthy habits
One of the best ways to ensure that your puppy grows into a happy and healthy dog is to instil appropriate feeding and exercise habits from the beginning. Whatever your puppy’s breed, age and activity levels, you can help them to maintain a healthy shape in a number of simple ways.
When it comes to feeding your puppy, take care to provide puppy food in the correct portion size as your pet reaches each different developmental stage. Say no to any begging behaviour in your puppy to keep their food intake in check. Finally, including any treats in your pet’s daily portion of food will help to maintain a healthy weight and shape as they grow. Remember, treats should only account for up to 10% of your puppy's daily calorie ration.
Checking in regularly with your vet will help you meet your puppy's needs at each developmental milestone as they grow.