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We are going to touch on a topic most bulldog owners should be conscious of, and at times you may worry about: How much exercise should your bulldog be getting?
Of course, answers will vary, but regarding English Bulldogs there are concerns other dog breeds may not experience—joint problems, cardiac ailments, and obesity. With shorter legs, and a broad muscular body it is little wonder that hip and knees can be problematic, especially as dogs age. While genetics plays a role, many of these problems also come from personality and your dog’s couch-potato type behavior. But, many of these conditions can be avoided, allowing your dog to live a long and healthy life. Along with a nutritious diet, exercise is key. And for bulldogs this can be a little more difficult than with other dogs. However, developing an effective exercise plan for your dog is perhaps easier than your slobbering cuddle buddy will let you know.
Exercise is important, and since this post is about exercising your bulldog, you may wonder why I am mentioning over exercising. After all, can you actually over exercise a dog? Yes, you sure can. Whether your bulldog is a puppy or adult, it is important to understand your dog’s physical limits. Taking your adult bulldog for a three-mile jog isn’t likely going to happen. However, a casual walk around the block may be more suitable.
For english bulldog puppies, while they are a bundle of energy, a walk around the block may still be a little too much.
Understanding over exercising is even more important to bulldog puppies who go through multiple critical growth periods where severe and even permanent damage can occur as a result of over exercise.
How many minutes a day should my bulldog work out?
Routine is good for bulldogs, and much like developing routines in eating habits to control overeating, an exercise routine as a puppy will help your bulldog keep their heart and muscles strong while limiting damage to their knee and hip joints.
Limiting playtime before you encourage a slow-down period for your dog can go a long way to teaching your dog about exercise.
For example, 30 minutes of playtime outside for an adult before bringing your dog indoors to slow down is a great way to manage an exercise routine. And after bringing your dog inside limit play times to about 10 minutes every couple hours if your dog is aggressively running around and playing.
As puppies you can keep 30 minutes as a regular exercise routine, but instead of allowing your bulldog to run around for 30 minutes, limit the strenuous and aggressive play to 10 minutes before slowing your dog’s pace for the next 20 minutes.
Low Impact Exercise
As you can guess, taking your dog to a dog park, or going for a jog around the lake every day is probably too much for your dog. This means focusing on low-impact exercise that may not always mean running around.
First, if you know your bulldog will be running around, you will want to consider the ground. Will your dog be running on cement? Crushed mulch? Wood chips? Or, grass? The harder the ground, the harder your bulldog’s joints will take the impact of their weight. Softer, and more absorbent, ground is better for your bulldog.
Bulldogs love to cuddle, gnaw, and roll around with their toys. Providing toys that will encourage your dog to move around, slow down, and roll around can be helpful. For example, balls with odd-edges can help your dog’s Chase, Capture and Enjoy—a helpful mantra to understand how to keep your dog’s heart rate up, while keeping their joints comfortable.
Bulldogs love companionship and are one of the friendliest dogs on the planet. They bond well with other dogs, and much to your feline’s chagrin, bulldogs get along with cats too. Introducing a pal to bum around with is a great way for your dog to get some exercise and companionship. Whether you have other pets at home, or schedule play-dates, having a friend to roll around with is a great way to get exercise and keep your bulldog emotionally healthy as well.
Supervision should always be considered a regular part of playtime. While your dog’s curiosity is as good a reason to supervise, the biggest reason is to monitor possible injury. For example, your dog can go from playing without an issue to suddenly wheezing and limping. Remember too, that bulldogs have developed a high pain tolerance over centuries of warrior-like breeding. This means that your dog could be in pain and struggling, but not slow down. This is where constant supervision will help your dog the most.
Signs of overheating, limping, and labored breathing are an indication that playtime is over for now. If the concern does not appear to be serious, or has only just begun it is okay to take your dog inside for a little welcomed relaxation. If you see signs of overheating such as an abnormally wobbly walk, falling down in a casual stride, or passing out, then you should contact your vet immediately.
Playtime for your bulldog should be fun. The focus on exercise is to develop a strong heart and strong muscles. Having several toys laying around for your dog to play with will encourage the Chase, Capture, and Enjoy challenge that provides bursts of exercise and relaxed gnawing and rolling around with the dog’s captured toy. With a little routine and fun exercise your dog is on their way to a long and healthy life.