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Appropriate Length for a Walk

15529 Views 9 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  Annie714
I've never had a dog that really needed a very long walk (mostly toy breeds, never big labs or dogs that needed hours of exercise), but I'm nervous with my new basset hound, Whiskey.

She's doing really well on the leash so far, and I take her out many times a day down stairs (I carry her down the stairs because I read about hip dysplasia) and then we walk around the building to the area at our apartment complex that's set aside for dogs to use the bathroom.

It took me years to get our pug on a decent walking schedule, adjusting the length of the walk as we went, but I really want to start Whiskey off on the right path. But because of the joint problems and hip problems I've read about, I don't know what is considered an appropriate length of time to walk (and how many times per day).

Is a long walk going to help or hinder future joint and hip issues?
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(I carry her down the stairs because I read about hip dysplasia)
For clarification stairs are not going to have an effect on hip dysplasia. While bassets are natorious for bad hips when talking hip displasia as a dissease process and not simply joint lacticity and ppor joint fit very few bassets actual have a problem. breed with substaintial better hips like GSD's and Labs have much more problems as they age. This is because bassets carry less weight on the rear most of their weight is carried by the front end, have larger joint surfaces to disperse the forces better (largerest bone mass of any breed) and short limb length but less force on the joints than their longer legged brothern. The biggest single thing you can do to aleived hip problems as the dog ages is to maintain proper weight. It is clearly shown that over nutrition play as important if not more important role in hip dysplasia than genetics.

The reason to limit stairs is two fold. 1 it is thought the extra force of going down the stairs can adversly effect the dogs back. To be honest there is scant evidence to suport this theory. 2. Is that bassets tend to be clumsy as puppies and a fall trip when decending staire can lead to a traumatic and permanent injury considering the softnes and fraility of a puppies bones. 3. is that basset already have less than ideal groth plates. This is the area of the bones that all growth occurs. they are dwarf and changes to the groth plates are responsible for the deminished growth in length of the long bones of the leg, Their growth plates may be more frail and eassily damaged than other breeds. Damage to the growth plate will cause the bone to stop growing. this can cause severe othoropeadic annomally's like angular limb deformaties. than can only be repaired surgically. If damage occurs when the dog is older the bones have less time to continue to grow so the effect is less. hence the Limitation of stair recommended any where between 6 month and a year.
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Is a long walk going to help or hinder future joint and hip issues?
It is usually recommended that pups are walked for no more than 5 minutes per month old,
The problem with any rule of thumb is they do not take specifics of the circumstances into account, How long is appropriate for a puppy to walk is not based on age but on fitness level size etc. Most injuries occur when a dog over does it. goes further than the dog fitness level dictates A fit puppy gould walk for hours with out a problem an un fit adult coulds have problems with even a short walk. I would not get wrapped up in number but let the puppy tell me when it is getting tired ect start of slow and slowly build endurance. For exercise this is why many experts recoomend off leash activities. It is much more dificult to compel a dog to work beyond its limit when it is off leash, when on a leash it has a lot less ability to resist.

Fitness In Your Back Yard
For all dogs, stay alert for the first clue of tiring: a change in speed or the rhythm of the dog?s gait. He may even feel a bit heavy on the lead. Immediately slow down and head for home to avoid overdoing it.

Keep track of how far you've walked - measure by blocks or with your car's speedometer. If your dog has shown signs of tiring, do about 1/3 less on your next walk. Your goal is a dog who can comfortably make the round trip at a brisk walk with no signs of tiring. Increase distances very gradually as your dog becomes more fit. Decrease distances if your dog's age or physical problems begin to affect him more.
Is a long walk going to help or hinder future joint and hip issues?
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