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Age Appropriate Exercise Guidelines

There is a misconception that the more I exercise my puppy the better behaved my puppy will be.  In fact this will lead to behaviour issues and damage to their little bodies.

Understanding Puppy Bodies

Developing Bones

Growth Plates are soft areas that sit at the ends of the long bones in puppies and young dogs.  They contain rapidly dividing cells that slow bones to become longer until the end of puberty.  Growth plates gradually thin as hormones change and the plates close. Usually around 18mths old. 

Until they close they are soft and very vunerable to injury.  Therefore what could be a very simple sprain in an adult dog could result in permanent injury in a puppy and often goes undetected by pet owners.  Injury in a growth plate can result in misshapen or shortened limb which in turn can create an incorrect angle to a joint making the puppy prone to yet more injuries as an adult.  In return resulting in costly surgeries. 


ANKC breeders should be using breeding dogs with a Patella score of 0 or 1 at the most so following approriate exercise guidelines will avoid issues as an adult.

Soft Bones

A puppies bones do not reach maximum bone density until after puberty. 

Spiral fractures of the lower leg bone are very common in puppies.  

Many owners love to watch their puppies do "Zoomies" but this sharp turning especially on slippery surfaces can cause fractures or undetected bone damage which can go unnoticed resulting costly issues as an adult.

Cardiovascular System

Puppies don't have the capacity for endurance and until they mature can not build on this no matter how much you exercise them.  Long walks and exercise sessions just increase risk of injury and yield few benefits.  Leave the long walks until they are 12mths plus.

Bubble Puppies

Although all of the above is crucial to puppies development this does not mean no exercise or outings.  On the contrary it is therefore important to follow Age Appropriate Exercise.

Click the "Exercise Chart by Age" Button at the top of this page for guidelines.

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