Post # 1
My lab/hound puppy is about 9 months now and we’ve taken him on 2 8mile hikes the last 2 weekends. He is exhasted afterwards and sleeps the whole way home, and yesterday, couldnt even be bothered to get up after he rolled off the back seat onto the floor. He just found somewhere to put his head and kept on sleeping. I thought it was funny at first, but then it crossed my mind if we were overworking him. Does anyone know if this much activity is ok for him? I just figured he could probably safely go for a ton longer than I could ever go, but I have no idea.
Post # 3
We do short hikes with our dogs, but two of them are Great Danes and one is a smaller fluffy mutt so she gets overheated with all her fur. I’d really only worry about his developing hips & other joints. 8 miles might be a little bit much for his body. I’d check with a vet though, because I know our dogs would run farther and faster than I’d ever ask them to go, with reckless abandon for their own health!
Post # 4
that far at that young may be pushing it a little. how far does he go on daily walks? if you want him to be able to go 8 miles, you should help him build up stamina– start slowly increasing your daily walks. does he bounce back later in the night or the next day?
I definitely go by the rule “a tired dog is a happy dog” but you wouldn’t jump out and run a marathon without training, dogs can’t do that either!
Post # 5
@bookworm88: He usually does a 2 mile walk in the evenings 3-5 time a week and seems ok by the next evening, especially when we go Sunday and he has all Monday to rest up more when we’re at work.
Post # 6
I think if he is that tired then you should go on shorter hikes and work your way up to the 8 miles and see how that goes.
Post # 7
We take out dog on hikes pretty frequently – at least once a week if the weather is nice. We average about 6 – 8 miles and our 3 year old pointer mix is totally pooped by the end of it. He is usually out like a light for the rest of the day.
I’ve heard that the level of activity really depends on the age of the dog and the breed – some breeds have much more energy than others.
As a rule of thumb if your dog starts panting heavily or if his gait becomes uneven this might be a sign that he’s overexerted himself.
Post # 8
@pinkshoes: I would up one or two of the weekly walks– maybe do a 3 mile twice a week, then a 3 and a 4? I’d lower the weekend hikes to 5 or 6 miles, too, at least until he’s a year old and has a chance to build up a little more stamina!
Post # 9
I take my dogs on hikes every weekend. 2 8 mile hikes each weekend may be a little much. I have two border collies with extreme high energy levels and usually go for 4-5 mile hikes each time. They are tired that day and the next day they are more than happy to go again, but also would be fine if we had a lazy Sunday. For an 8 mile hike, I would do only 1 hike like that per weekend. If your dog is anything like mine they are running the entire time and doing laps around you so 8 miles for them could be 16+. Also, hiking 8 miles is an extreme difference from walking 8. And you need to build up a dogs endurance. If you want to do 16 miles of hiking in one weekend then start at 8 and each week add a mile.
Post # 10
My Poms can do about five miles (not strenuous) but that is about their max. I would say for a dog that young you may want to build up its ability to go that far, however it depends on your dog and signs of being tired etc.
Post # 11
@roxy821: I didn’t realize it was 16 miles total for the weekend– definitely too much!
OP, I was thinking you were talking one long hike a week, I would drastically cut down the long days.
Post # 12
My elkhound can do about 10 mile hikes in the fall but we start out with 3 miles in the spring to get him used to it after no hikes in the winter. He is def high energy. I did make the mistake I’d going to far once 20, we didn’t realize how long we were out there. He pulled a muscle. I always take water bowls and zukes energy bars for him.
Post # 13
@pinkshoes: Ah I see you meant two 8-mile hikes. I was thinking 2.8 mile. Yes, that would be a bit much for his developing bones/joints I think.
I can’t believe he rolled off the seat! LOL Poor pup!
Post # 14
I also have a 9 months old lab/hound mix! If your dog is anything like mine, it has a TON of energy! We take ours to the beach near our house for long walks, swims, and it just drains her energy (in a good way). However, we do have to watch it because she will keep going to please us even if she’s exhausted. Especially on hot days, we have to keep a careful eye on her because she will overwork herself just to keep up.
I’d suggest monitoring your dog during the hike for signs of over exertion. If s/he completes the hike easily and is simply tired afterwards that’s good. If s/he is stopping or panting excessively during the hike, I might want to cut it back a little. You know your dog best! Some dogs simply require a lot more/less exercise depending on their breed, energy level, etc. I wouldn’t be too concerned about joint development at this point. Before we started agility training with ours, we consulted with our vet who said it was fine. However, it always depends on the dog!
Edit: Our dog also falls asleep as soon as she gets home and has a drink/snack lol. Normally sleeps all night after a long hike/swim.
Post # 15
I had this same question when we got our puppy (3 years ago). My vet told me that until they are 12 months old/1 year their muscles/joints/heart/lungs have no formed enough for extreme exercise. She told me 5 km max. After 1 year begin to increase the exercise. My girl can now do 15-20km easy and she has great joints. If you aren’t careful you will end up damaging their cruciate (the dog ACL) which is an expensive surgery and they usually will never fully heal. It causes arthritis etc, which would be awful for a young pup. Plus a dog will go for as long as you will. My friend is a vet and has told me before that a dog will kill themselves trying to please you. (As in heart attacks, strokes etc) In her emergency clinic she said the majority are dogs who have ruined their bodies by trying to please an owner. I often think we forget that they are EXTREME people pleasers!
Good luck with your puppy! We love hiking with ours and we love how it tires her out! Plus it keeps their energy higher for longer. My girl is 3 and still has a ton of energy. Overall it benefits their health as long as it is done safely!
Post # 16
@pinkshoes: Hmm… eight miles might be pushing it a little at that age? We always hiked our dogs growing up and they were definitely exhausted and “out like trout” afterward. Maybe try adjusting the mileage to see if you get a similar result? If anything, you may need to build up to it. We plan to hike with our pup once she’s old enough also 🙂