At what age can a puppy start going for jogs?
Original Question: What age can a puppy begin a running program? I have a German Shorthaired Pointer aged 8 months - Jill
You are smart to think about this – high-impact activities can potentially be harmful to the growing skeleton of a puppy. To avoid problems, vets generally recommend avoiding such activities until the puppy’s growth plates are closed. These are areas on the ends of the long bones (also called physes) of the legs where new bone cells grow and develop from. In the average puppy, these areas close anywhere from 8-12 months of age. In toy breeds, this happens early, and in large or giant breeds, it can occur as late as 15 months of age.
A German Shorthaired Pointer would fall into the larger size category. It would be prudent to avoid long runs on hard surfaces until he is at least 12 months, if not a bit longer. This will help avoid damage to those sensitive growth plates and cartilage, and may give him a longer lifetime athletic ability by avoiding developmental joint damage. When you start, ensure that you ease into things. Start with short, less intense runs and work up to longer runs. Also ensure that your dog has learned some basic obedience at this point so that you can control him and reduce the risk of him injuring himself.
Dr. Kim Hester
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