Running with Your Dog: Do Dogs Need a Pre-Exercise Exam?

By May 28, 2014Blog

The weather is warming, flowers are blooming, and you’re thinking about running with your dog: Do dogs need a pre-exercise exam like humans do? The answer is similar to the answer for humans. If your dog is overweight, a senior (7 or older), or has any pre-existing conditions like arthritis, heart disease, or back problems…or even if your dog is going from a totally sedentary life to a suddenly active one, it’s wise to get a medical exam before starting an exercise program. While most dogs and people have no trouble participating in vigorous exercise even with minor ailments and issues, you should make sure that you are both healthy enough.

Talk to your own physician about what he or she recommends for you, and make an appointment at Carriage Crossing Animal Hospital to get a physical exam by our expert Waterloo Veterinarian and our standard set of pre-exercise or pre-weight-loss tests. These tests include:

  • CBC – A complete blood count
  • Serum Chemistries – Measuring certain chemicals in the blood
  • Total Thyroid Hormone (T4) – Measuring the amount of thyroid hormone
  • Free T4 by Equilibrium Dialysis – A secondary thyroid test
  • Complete urinalysis – Measuring kidney function and more
  • Blood Pressure – Helps assess heart health
  • Resting Respiratory Rate and Heart Rate – Helps assess heart and lung health
  • X-Rays – Helps to measure heart, lung, and bone health
  • Pre-Exercise measurements (thoracic and abdominal) – helps track progress in future

Also during your pet’s pre-exercise exam, we can talk to you about how much exercise your pet needs for good health and what their limits are for safety. Here’s a quick estimate of daily exercise needs based on weight, but after a thorough exam we can tell you much more about your individual pet’s specific needs and limits:

Running with Dogs up to 10 lbs

(Chihuahua, Yorkie, Maltese) need about a mile a day at a slower pace. Remember, they take about 4 steps for every 1 of yours! A 19-25 minute mile is a good pace.

These dogs will not enjoy running for miles, but love brisk walks or slow strolls.

Running with Dogs 10-30 lbs

(Beagle, Corgi, Jack Russell, Dachshund) need about 1.5 miles a day. A 17-24 minute mile is a good pace for these dogs. Some of them will love a moderate jog, others are happier at a brisk walk…and a few will prefer a stroll. Higher energy dogs like the Jack Russell will enjoy a faster pace.

Running with Dogs over 30 lbs

(Border Collie, Basset, Retriever, Setters, German Shepherd) need about 2.5 to 3 miles a day. A 12-20 minute mile is a good pace for this size dog. Many dogs this size enjoy a brisk jog, and many have the stamina to run with you every day.

While most pups aren’t up for marathon training, they do love to get out and stretch their legs with you. Your pet’s personality plays a part in how much or how fast they enjoy their exercise, but so does size. Larger, sturdier breeds can be excellent companions for outdoor exercise and make great running partners! Call or come in to see us to schedule your pet’s pre-exercise exam today!

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