Jogging: Consensus based on what?
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Thread: Jogging: Consensus based on what?

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    DefaultJogging: Consensus based on what?

    I've been reading some of the threads on the forum where people repeatedly say that you should not jog with your dog until he is at least 18 months or 2 years old because it may damage his joints etc. It is said so often it seems to be taken as gospel ......but does anyone have any actual references (e.g. studies / papers) regarding this? Does limited jogging of a 1 yr old lab really pose a SIGNIFICANT risk to the dog which exceeds the health benefits of that activity?

    If you walk your dog off leash he covers a lot of ground going back and forth. In fact, its not clear that he actually runs significantly more in 45 minutes of off leash jogging compared to 45 minutes of off leash walking (at least at a moderate jogging speed). And he probably covers even LESS ground in 45 minutes of on-leash jogging compared to 45 minutes of off leash walking. The wear/tear on the joints should be proportional to the distance he has gone. So how is it that a 45 minutes off leash walk is OK but a 45 minute jog (on or off leash) is so terrible?

    Likewise, you often see people playing fetch with ball obsessed dogs where the dog is absolutely sprinting after a ball again and again. The dog probably covers more ground in 15 minutes of that then in an hour of typical jogging. How is fetching OK but jogging not OK?

    I'm just trying to see the science / reasoning behind what people are saying. Obviously heat, speed, surface has to be taken into consideration. But it seems to me that prohibiting people from relatively short (say under an hour for a one year old) moderately paced jogs in cool weather is overly cautious. No-one seems to have a problem with a dog trotting around for an hour off leash while the owner walks. For many people (serious runners excluded) a jogging pace isn't hugely faster than they walk - an off leash dog will still be running around sniffing everything and easily keep up with the jogging owner.

    Personally, until someone shows me some evidence to the contrary, if someone wants to jog with their younger dog I'd be prone to saying 'go for it', just keep it reasonable and keep an eye out for overheating, soreness etc etc, as the positives (fitness, psychological benefits) seem more real than some potential joint problems. An all out prohibition on jogging seems over the top.

    I look forward to any comments especially any references to real research to give us all some better guidance!

    (My vet by the way thought jogging was OK after 9 months).

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    sarah is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: Jogging: Consensus based on what?

    Personally I think the reason why on-leash jogging is considered bad for your dog at an early age is because it's viewed as forced exercise. The dog gets a choice whether it wants to stop, fasten it's pace, slow it's pace etc while it's off leash but on leash it has really no choice. Especially for things like on leash jogging beside a bicycle.

    It's not like your dog can say "hey slow down.. I'm getting a bit tired" .... it's forced to do what you want it to do and therefore a pup under the 18 month age guideline has joints that are not completely established and this causes undue stress and strain on joints that are still developing. I think especially in the cases of Labradors and other breeds where hip/elbow problems are very common it's a serious risk to take.

    I am sorry but I haven't scoured the internet looking for back up to my opinion for you. This is just what I believe to be true, through advice from my vet.. fellow JL members, other local lab owners and my own common sense.

    Hope you get the study info you're looking for!
    cheers, Sarah
    Sarah & Milly - Sydney Australia






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    DefaultRe: Jogging: Consensus based on what?

    Thanks for your reply Sarah. But the cumulative mechanical stress on the joint is basically a function of how far the dog goes, regardless of whether it is at a forced pace or not. A "forced" pace may sound bad ....but its not at all clear it should cause any more stress on the joint than an unforced pace.

    Walking on leash is a forced pace as well by the way.

    And of course off-leash jogging is no more forced than off leash walks.

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    DefaultRe: Jogging: Consensus based on what?

    Quote Originally Posted by unclearthur
    Thanks for your reply Sarah. But the cumulative mechanical stress on the joint is basically a function of how far the dog goes, regardless of whether it is at a forced pace or not. A "forced" pace may sound bad ....but its not at all clear it should cause any more stress on the joint than an unforced pace.

    Walking on leash is a forced pace as well by the way.

    And of course off-leash jogging is no more forced than off leash walks.
    I think the difference is that with an on-leash jog, you set the pace. If the dog feels that it's getting tired or one of it's joints starts aching, it can't slow down. Most dogs won't start complaining until the damage is done. Just my 20c

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    DefaultRe: Jogging: Consensus based on what?


    If you walk your dog off leash he covers a lot of ground going back and forth. In fact, its not clear that he actually runs significantly more in 45 minutes of off leash jogging compared to 45 minutes of off leash walking (at least at a moderate jogging speed). And he probably covers even LESS ground in 45 minutes of on-leash jogging compared to 45 minutes of off leash walking. The wear/tear on the joints should be proportional to the distance he has gone. So how is it that a 45 minutes off leash walk is OK but a 45 minute jog (on or off leash) is so terrible?


    Because it is the repetitive pounding on the pavement that puts stress on their growing, undeveloped joints.
    I honestly don't think I personally would walk a puppy on leash for 45 min myself. Several good romps in the yard on or off leash a day. I would have to build to 45 min walking time.

    I suggest you pick up some books and educate yourself on structure, movement, gait etc. It changed/changes the way you look at a dog/puppy and what goes on under the skin. The more I learned the more I saw the things I did wrong with my first Lab.
    Dog Locomotion
    Puppy Puzzle
    Another Piece Of the PUppy Puzzle - Puppy Development
    K.9 Structure & Terminology
    Kim

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    DefaultRe: Jogging: Consensus based on what?

    This board was the first place I had heard that, to be honest. Gabby's chiro, Gabby's ortho, and their regular vet all said jogging was totally fine - especially off leash- for dogs over 1 year- in the kind of moderate amounts I do it (3x a week, 3 miles, and seriously slow- they just butttuck back and forth while I jog).


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    DefaultRe: Jogging: Consensus based on what?

    The problem is how long you go with a young dog. The rule of thumb is 5 minutes of forced exercise for every month of the dogs life. So if your dog is a year old you should be able to jog with him for an hour without a problem.
    Olie

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    DefaultRe: Jogging: Consensus based on what?

    Different people will tell you different things. There are several conflicting answers in this thread already. But, I assure you that limiting a pups exercise is based on science and not opinion. As you may or may not be aware, dogs have growth plates, which are the soft 'ends' of the major developmental bones. These bones solidify to mature bones at different rates as the dog grows. When they mature depends both on the breed of dog and the individual. For Labs, that may be anywhere from 12-18 months. For giant breeds it can be even longer. Until the soft growth plates solidify into mature bone, the actual bone cartilage itself is quite weak. Therefore, forcing a puppy to uptake continuous, unnatural movement through activities such as jogging can potentially damage the growth plates. For a dog with a genetic disposition to a particular joint disease, early damage of the growth plates could accelerate and potentially worsen the condition.

    I am quite surprised that your vet has advocated jogging with a 9 month old puppy, considering that a 9 month old Labs joints will not yet be fully developed.

    Likewise, you often see people playing fetch with ball obsessed dogs where the dog is absolutely sprinting after a ball again and again. The dog probably covers more ground in 15 minutes of that then in an hour of typical jogging. How is fetching OK but jogging not OK?
    Who said that this type of fetching was 'ok' for a developing dog? I think you will find that most reputable breeders will tell their puppy owners NOT to play this type of fetch with their dog at least until the dog is mature. The breeders of my dogs VERY clearly stated not to play fetch with a dog continuously because of the strain it puts on young joints. Instead, if you want to play fetch, roll it along the ground for the puppy so leaping in the air isn't encouraged and keep sessions short.

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    DefaultRe: Jogging: Consensus based on what?

    Oh, and I forgot to say, information on the early development of bones, growth plates and joint diseases can be found in any veterinary text books.

    The 'common' joint diseases (ED, HD, OCD, etc.) are genetic, but they are also polygenic meaning that the severity of these diseases is effected by the environment (nutrition, over exercising, etc.). Unfortunately there are a relatively large number of Labs effected by joint disease and even breeding two dogs that are free from joint disease won't guarantee that their offspring will have the same luck. The unpredictable nature of these diseases is why it is generally recommended to 'err' on the side of caution when exercising a developing dog. While there is a good chance your dog may never have a problem, there is also a chance that it could, and how you exercise that dog while it is developing could be the different between mild discomfort when aging to severe discomfort.

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    DefaultRe: Jogging: Consensus based on what?

    Quote Originally Posted by Trickster
    Oh, and I forgot to say, information on the early development of bones, growth plates and joint diseases can be found in any veterinary text books.

    The 'common' joint diseases (ED, HD, OCD, etc.) are genetic, but they are also polygenic meaning that the severity of these diseases is effected by the environment (nutrition, over exercising, etc.). Unfortunately there are a relatively large number of Labs effected by joint disease and even breeding two dogs that are free from joint disease won't guarantee that their offspring will have the same luck. The unpredictable nature of these diseases is why it is generally recommended to 'err' on the side of caution when exercising a developing dog. While there is a good chance your dog may never have a problem, there is also a chance that it could, and how you exercise that dog while it is developing could be the different between mild discomfort when aging to severe discomfort.
    I guess that's what it boils down to for me. Regardless of how accurate the info actually is, is it worth the risk?

    Also, just to get back to the jogging vs off leash romping. Jogging is usually on harder surfaces since that's easier for us, where off leash play usually happens in the park on softer more natural surfaces - That might have something to do with this debate.

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