Can you walk/hike a dog too much?
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Thread: Can you walk/hike a dog too much?

  1. #1
    LindaMayRee's Avatar
    LindaMayRee is offline Member
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    DefaultCan you walk/hike a dog too much?

    In my mind this is a silly question..... but maybe its not. I do quite a bit of hiking/walking. I have a 4 year old Lab. I just got him about a month ago. I figure as long as I can go so can he. I never thought I could walk him too much but then I read a couple things that have me wondering.
    I would guess I hike on average 25-30 miles a week. Some days I may just hike 2-3 miles a day and others I may hike 7-8 miles a day. I generally hike 5 days a week.
    He is a large lab. I have an appointment to take him to the vet for a check up. So I don't know what he weighs but I would guess every bit of 90lbs but not fat at all. But he is one of the larger Labs I have ever seen. So, I am a bit concerned about his joints.

    He also plays fetch in the yard a couple times a day with my son.

    So, does it sound fine? Or could it be too much?
    Linda
    Wife to my superman, mom to my three kiddos-2 daughters and 1 son, and my Lab Huckleberry.

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    BigBrownDog is offline Senior Member
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    The problem with overexercising is with puppies primarily. What you are doing sounds fine to me. He is lucky to have someone who can keep him that active! As long as he is in good physical condition and keeps up without a problem, you are ok.

    Now, running him on leash can be a concern as it is considered forced exercise - he does not have the ability to slow or stop if he has pain. I know a lot of people do this, but it can be a problem if you are not closely monitoring the dog while running.
    Sharon, Blaise and Diesel.

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    LindaMayRee's Avatar
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    No running for me or Huck! I am too lazy for that. LOL
    He runs circles around me hiking. He runs up the hills and lays and waits on me or sometimes he rests a while then comes back seeming to encourage me to get moving. I think I bore him. LOL And when we are hiking in places he needs a leash he seems to always be wanting me to go faster. :-)
    We are just such an outdoors family. He will be spending many many days, hiking, fishing, hunting, boating, playing baseball...
    Linda
    Wife to my superman, mom to my three kiddos-2 daughters and 1 son, and my Lab Huckleberry.

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    labby is offline Senior Member
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    Yes it could be too much. Is this 4 year old in shape? Does it have any orthopedic problems? Is it getting enough protein in its diet? If the dog hasn't had it's hips and elbows x-rayed and cleared by OFA, then there might be something causing this dog pain on your hikes.

    Like us, dogs need to build up muscles before they can do long distances. I feed a minimum of 25% protein in my dogs for muscle tone and strength. If my dogs are doing strenuous things, then I bump that protein up to 30%.

    You cannot just start hiking long distances with any animal. When I get serious in the spring with my horse, I need to build her up to the longer rides, otherwise she'll be sore. It's the same with us and our dogs. Build up to it slowly but first have the dog x-rayed to be sure there isn't anything that might cause him pain while hiking.



    Laura





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    Well, He came 15 miles to my house about 5 times in a month before I was able to purchase him. So he had been getting some exercise. He has showed absolutely no sign of fatigue or pain in any of our hikes thus far. He has an appointment next week for a vet check but No I have not had him x-rayed.
    He eats 4Health dog food-about 4 1/2 cups per day and usually I scramble him a couple eggs a day.
    Linda
    Wife to my superman, mom to my three kiddos-2 daughters and 1 son, and my Lab Huckleberry.

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    blackandyellow is offline Senior Member
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    If the dog has healthy joints and a good physical condition you should be fine. But since Labs are notorious for having joint problems, I´d definitely check his elbows, hips and knees, and as Labby said, help them build their strength. Is this dog the "field type" or the show type? Field type Labs with leaner bodies and longer legs are better suited for long walks than the stocky chubby show type dogs.

    With my own Labs I just learned it the hard way, even though they are active and athletic they are not running buddies (mine are show type dogs). Now that I only run with my Collie a couple times a week, I can really see the difference. For Vermont its an effortless trot besides me (he loves it), he´s just built to trot and run as a herding dog.

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    Dog Paddle is offline Senior Member
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    You should introduce exercise the same way you would for yourself, buiding up gradually. However I do see that he self exercised in his forays to your house before he ended up staying with you.

    I did run into "weekend warrior" syndrome with my last girl as she got older. No longer could she have hour long walks midweek and do all day hikes, skiis and long bike rides on the weekend. Just like most of us can't either. I found putting a longer outing in midweek helped to get her off some pain meds she was on for arthritis. When we get older slow and steady works better than infrequent all go out kind of exercise. Now, if I could only persuade my BIL that his hockey is really bad for him, sit on bench, play hard, sit on bench, play hard, sit on bench, go out after for beer and pub food, not good at his age.

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    LindaMayRee's Avatar
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    Thanks for all your input.
    He seems to be doing great and LOVES our walks. But I can see where I should have originally worked him up to it a little more gradually-though his forays to my house worked him out pretty well. Though he never seems to have any discomfort or soreness the next day. I will definitely keep an eye on him and use common sense.
    Linda
    Wife to my superman, mom to my three kiddos-2 daughters and 1 son, and my Lab Huckleberry.

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    Quote Originally Posted by labby View Post
    Like us, dogs need to build up muscles before they can do long distances. I feed a minimum of 25% protein in my dogs for muscle tone and strength. If my dogs are doing strenuous things, then I bump that protein up to 30%.
    What food do you use to get to that higher protein level? We feed Eukanuba LBP, but when she is on adult food between 6-9months we had planned on feeding Eukanuba Large breed adult since this is what the breeder recommends. However, Kai is going to be doing dock dogs, and when she is older doing some hikes and short runs as well. I looked up the protein percentage in the large breed adult and it's only 23%. This is way in the future, but should I find her a food with higher percentage? Or just add protein to her diet in other ways?

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