We have two excellent Labradors, Bruna and Priscilla, 6 and 5 years old.
I am a little concerned about the amount of exercise I am doing with them.
We usually go out on Memorial Park (Houston) and jog for two laps, totaling 6 miles. They start very excited and finished exhausted. I wonder if I am overdoing.
The Vet I talked to says dogs are "designed" to run better than humans, but I don't know if that's 100% true
Its hard to say cause back in my athletic days I think I could go longer than my dog. He just doesn't pace himself well. He gets too excited at first and runs sooo hard that about 20 minutes later he his walking wobbly.
He has had episodes in the past with getting over heated. Now I learn to watch for signs and break frequently for water breaks...and not just drink but to spray his chest area and under the belly to keep him cool. in Louisiana we have hot and humid summers so its important to keep them hydrated and cool.
Hank can definitely play hard and last long..just as long as its in intervals. But like people, I'm sure dogs have diff. stamina levels so just make sure they stay hydrated and they should be able to keep up.
If your dogs are in shape, and you do this type of exercise every day, then I'd say no problem. How long have you been running them 6 miles?
Do they recover quickly? i.e. can they take a nap and be right back at it? How hot is it outside when you run them? Is it on cement/asphalt in the sun (hot) or under the shade of trees? DO you give them a chance to rest if they want or a chance at a drink of water?
All the questions are just to point out that there are a lot of variables. My one pup, Kodi (15 months) could probably do that distance and then some, her mom (8 yo) proably not without a rest somewhere.
Personally, I would never run a dog until it is exhausted. Tired, but not exhausted. If the dogs are exhausted they can't handle that much exercise. Like humans dog have to be conditioned to handle large amounts of exercise.
That said, it really does depend on the points Belles mom raised. If your dogs are fit, 6 miles a day should be no problem. Are these runs on or off leash? off leash is very different to on leash as the dog can trot/run at is own pace. Leashed, the dogs are forced to keep up with you which, as I am sure you know, is not good on the joints. I would never run a dog 6 miles leashed on hard ground. 6 miles off leash on soft ground would be excellent so really it depends...
Very good questions to take in consideration.
They actually run on leash since we have to obey park rules. But we do that 3 times a week...by now they should be trained.
They seem to be OK, next day they appear to be ready again for another workout.
3 times a week should be fine. No worries.
My vet always told me not to worry, if they are hurting or anything similar they will stop. BUT, I am also in Texas, and this heat right now is horrible on Izzy, she is really having a hard time enjoying outside unless swimming.
I disagree. If his statement were true, then dogs would not die of heat stroke. Labs are stoic and want to be with their owners and do what they are asked. I have seen a dog (not mine) who overdid so much on a walk that she wobbled, fell, and couldn't get up again. Prior to falling the dog gave no obvious signs of distress, other than panting heavily, and all dogs pant heavily here as it is so hot and humid. Every year I hear stories of hunting dogs who die of heat stroke while hunting early in the season when the weather is still hot.My vet always told me not to worry, if they are hurting or anything similar they will stop.
Besides, how can a dog stop if it is on leash and the owner is running?
These are my suggestions -
1) Try to play with your dog in the yard just to gauge the ammount of stamina and drive he has .
2) Slowly start taking him out on walks and build up his stamina
3) after a few days or a week or two take him for a short run once daily preferably without a leash so that he can pace himself (do you have trails or secluded parks where he is allowed to go without leash ? )
4) Once he is well conditioned then you can take him for runs on a leash but be carefull to hydrate him at all times , keep a towel wet it and then put it on his forehead , belly incase he seems diffrent.
5) Dogs wont stop and start to pull back if they think they are going to have a heat stroke however if you sence that they are slugish (you should be able to distinguish from all the time you have spend with them) , just not in it or or having a look on their face which lacks the normal expression that they might present then you have to stop , rehydrate and come back home (BEWARE some dogs can fake that look !!! pluto does it all the time even when we are playing fetch)
6) THE NO. 1 RULE TO KEEPING A DOG HEALTHY AND MAKING THE MOST OF RUNNING,CYCLING is RECOVERY - make sure they have plenty of time to recover (I use a intense workout of Springer jogger one day followed by swimming the next day for my dogs ) and have them enjoy their workout to get the best results.
If you are in Houston it is hot and humid. Your dogs are telling you it's too much. You do not want one of them to go down from heat exhaustion. Even if it is cool but very humid this can happen. I would shorten the runs when it is hot and humid.