Nowadays, sports are in style, this is an unquestionable thing. We can see people jogging, walking, and even skating and bicycle riding everywhere.

Lots of dogs owners want to do sport with their pets, because they think sport is good for the pets in every case.

There are sports specially created for dogs, such as agility, schutzhund and freestyle (dancing choreography with dogs, as seen in Britain’s got Talent 2012 with Ashleigh and Pudsey dancing The Flinstones theme song). These specific activities are developed specially for the dog, and the human is just the partner, so there usually is no problem since the exercise is been created according to the dog’s body particularities and requirements. Problems may eventually appear in case of dogs joining their owners when they do sport. Not every dog is able to run 10 km or climb mountains for hours.

People who decide to do sport usually get prepared in advance: they get hydrated, control their pulse, and of course they stop when they feel too tired. Dogs don’t get prepared, so they will run or walk till they are exhausted. Nobody will control their pulse or temperature. Remember their skin is unable to sweat, so they can suffer a heat stroke easily. These risk are increased in case of brachycephalic dogs (Pugs, Bulldogs, Boxers), and those ones which wear a muzzle.

When a person wants to start doing sport and joins a sport club, he or she is asked for a medical certificate which proves is in good physical condition. Of course our pets don’t need any certificate, but we should think in advance if it’s ok for them to run by our side considering their short legs (which implies a proportionally much bigger effort for them), or if it’s a good idea to walk for 2 hours on hot asphalt, etc.

Even dogs that work, such as rescue dogs working for Police or Firemen, usually work for short periods of time, 3o minutes or even shorter. Shepherd dogs work all day, but they are not running or chasing the livestock all the time. Puppies play intensely for 10-15 min and then they take a rest.

At the practice we are detecting an increasing number of orthopaedic problems caused by an excess of exercise. Of course, going upstairs and downstairs also implies an excess of exercise, but in some cases this may be difficult to stop.

Before making our dog to do sport, let’s consider its age, weight and body condition. Our pets are always happy to join us and don’t complain, but this doesn’t mean joining us is good for them in every case.

And what about sports for cats? Easy: just buy a mouse cat toy.

Clinica Veterinaria

Gran Alacant Exotics, Plaza Mayor, Gran Alacant

T: 966 698 569