Exercise Fatigue in Pets: Can It Happen?
Images of cute, chubby pets seem to be everywhere we turn these days. While it’s hard to deny the appeal of a soft, squishy dog or cat lounging contentedly with you on the sofa, having an overweight pet can lead to health problems, high veterinary bills, and a shortened lifespan.
Making sure your pet gets plenty of exercise on a regular basis is an important component in keeping them healthy, but exercise fatigue in pets can be dangerous. Making sure your sweet furball gets the right amount of exercise without overdoing it is the key to achieving balanced health for your pet.
The benefits of daily exercise for pets cannot be understated. Exercising and playing with your pet keeps their joints limber, maintains muscle mass, and promotes good cardiovascular health, not to mention reinforcing the bond you share. While it can be tempting to “tire them out” with hours of fetch or feather chase, some pets simply don’t know when to quit.
Exercise fatigue in pets can lead to:
- Muscle soreness – Pain in your pet’s muscles may manifest as a struggle to get up after lying down, refusal to go up or down stairs, vocalizations, or refusal to play or exercise in the future.
- Paw injuries – Excessive outdoor running and playing can lead to cracked or torn paw pads. Check your dog’s paw pads for damage frequently, and give us a call if you see signs of infection, such as swelling or pus
- Heat exhaustion – Too much exercise in warm weather can lead to a dangerous condition known as heat stroke, especially in very young or old pets, or brachycephalic (short-nosed) breeds.
- Joint injury – Sprains, strains, and back problems can be the result of high impact exercise, especially for breeds that are lower to the ground, such as Basset Hounds and Dachshunds. Limping or favoring one limb can be a sign of joint injury.
Preventing Exercise Fatigue in Pets
To avoid exercise fatigue in pets, be mindful of the following:
- Watch your pet during exercise, and stop if you see any signs of fatigue, including excessive panting, drooling, stumbling, or limping.
- If your pet lies down in the middle of play or exercise, don’t encourage them to keep going. Trust that they know when to rest.
- Don’t exercise your pet in the heat of the day. Stick with early morning or evening hours to prevent heat stroke.
Schedule a wellness exam with The Pet Experts at Naperville Animal Hospital for your pet before beginning any exercise routine. We are happy to help you come up with the purrrfect exercise plan for your sweet pet!
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