Don’tforget to give them some mental enrichment as well – this is a form of exerciseas well.As a basic guide; forevery month of the puppy’s age they can have about five minutes of low impactactivity, twice a day. So a six month old pup can get half an hour of gentle exercise,twice daily.Largebreeds grow much slower rate than the average dog.  It can take up to twoyears for growth plates to fully develop.

The biggest phase of growth occurs between the ages of four andeight months. After this time, the growth plates should be fused or close to. Because ofthe risk of irreparable damage, it is recommended dogs not be started in any highimpact activity until they’re around a year old.

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The growth plates most commonlysubject to injury are found at the elbow, between the ulna and radial bones ofthe front legs. Damage to these plates can cause one of the bones to stopgrowing while the other will continue to grow normally.  The end result ofthis abnormal growth pattern is bowed legs and possibly an affected gait, whichin turn can cause ailments such as early onset arthritis.Knowing how much exercise a puppy needs is hard.

The”ideal” is constantly different because of the pup’s changing age and stage. Thetype of exercise also affects what amount is appropriate. Leashed walking islow-impact and is good in short bursts whereas high-impactactivities like running and jumping, should be discouraged or monitored extremelyclosely.When an injury is sustained beforethe growth plates have closed, healing can be compromised and could result invarious developmental deformities in the leg or joint, or the prevention thegrowth plate from fully developing.

Growth plates in a puppy areextremely vulnerable to injury, typically these injuries are caused most commonlyby too much exercise or impact on the long bones that are just too hard.Exercise should match a pup’s development;gradually increasing as the puppy grows.  The increase should be consistentwith the stage the growth plates are at.Growth plates are areas of cartilagethat develop at the end of the long bones in the legs.  As the puppygrows, they harden, essentially turning to bone.There is avery real risk of damage that is possible while your puppy hasn’t yet finishedgrowing and is still developing.

Puppiesoften portray themselves as constantly needing something to do. Many peopleseem to think that it’s impossible for them to over do it, particularly when itcomes to exerscise. Owners think that what a puppy needs is to be tired out tothe point of exhaustion, but most people don’t know about the development ofthe puppy’s growth plates.


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