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Young puppies generally get plenty of exercise romping around the garden and playing. Once your puppy is fully vaccinated, you can take him for short walks to a park, trips to the countryside, and visits to town to help him get used to a variety of environments.

The age to start proper exercise differs from breed to breed, as does the amount of exercise – if in doubt, please feel free to pop in to the surgery to seek advice. Don’t start strenuous exercise until your puppy is fully grown and his bones are developed. At this stage, a dog should be taken out at least once a day for exercise on the lead, and let off to run in a permitted place.

Tips for healthy exercise:

  • Avoid walking your dog during the hottest part of the day;
  • Take a bottle of water and a water bowl if you are planning a long walk;
  • Take a ball or Frisbee with you to encourage vigorous exercise and to play games;
  • Don’t throw sticks, as they can be very dangerous, splintering in the mouth or sticking in the throat;
  • Don’t forget to take pooper-scoop bags to clean up after your pet;
  • Don’t exercise your dog until two hours after a meal;
  • Keep your dog on a lead in urban areas or along roads;
  • In the countryside, be sure your dog does not chase farm animals, or run on cultivated land.
  • Many dogs will enjoy jogging with their owners, but do not over-do it. Ensure that nails do not become too worn and that pads do not bruise.

Really active breeds can benefit from taking part in agility, obedience, flyball or working trials. Details of local groups can be found in ‘Further information for dog owners’.