We’ve all heard and done it – we stay cooped up at our office job all week and then decide we are going to run a 10K over the weekend or build a deck. Its call weekend warrior syndrome and leads to many different types of injuries. Do you ever let your dog do the same thing?

Most of our dogs don’t get nice long walks every weekday; we are just too busy. Once the weekend rolls around, we feel guilty for neglecting our four-legged friends, so we take them on long walks or hikes. Do you ever notice your furry friend act stiff or sore after their active weekend? Just like us, our pets need to ease back into activity. Short spurts of high-impact activities may be doing more harm than good.

Another problem we see as the weather warms up is pad damage due to long walks on warm asphalt. This can be a consequence of weekend warrior syndrome as well.  Slowly acclimate your dog to walking on asphalt again and give them breaks from that hard (often very warm) surface. The pads themselves thin with less activity, so they need to be built up. Walking too long on warm asphalt can cause the top layers of the pad to slough off, leaving raw tissue underneath. Ouch!

As a general rule, don’t let your dog leap from being a couch potato to running miles overnight!

  • Slowly condition your dog to handle more activity over time.
  • Don’t let your pet walk on hard surfaces, especially warm asphalt, for long periods of time.
  • Monitor your pets after activity for stiffness, soreness, limping, decreased appetite, etc. Increased exercise can uncover underlying issues like arthritis and make those symptoms more prominent.
  • Make sure to always have fresh water available, especially during and after exercise.
  • Monitor your pet’s conditioning; if there is a sudden decrease in how long or how hard they can exercise, there’s likely a health condition that needs attention.

As always, talk with your veterinarian about any questions or concerns you have about your pet.

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