At what age can I run or jog with my puppy? Is fetch also considered running?
I can't tell you how much I appreciate your website and all of it's contents. We have a 9-week old Golden Retriever puppy and the information you've provided has given us such a firm foundation. Thank you!
My question has to do with running. I know pups this age shouldn't be running/jogging until they're older, but what age is that? Also, is playing fetch considered running as well? I've searched your database but couldn't find this answer. I'm sure it's in there but I couldn't locate.
That age varies a lot based on the breed as well as the individual. I don't do any structured running or repetitive exercise until the growth plates close. Fetch can be very damaging to a dog's skeletal system if they have any weaknesses like poor joint conformation or if the growth plates aren't closed. You can toss a toy once in a while but some dogs become obsessed with fetching and will play over and over. This can be very damaging to a growing dog.
I play food games with my pups and young dogs along with some age-appropriate tug games. Swimming is GREAT for all dogs and you can play fetch games in the water as well. It's the acceleration and then slamming on the "brakes" that can be so tough on dogs. I do make sure puppies and young dogs wear a life jacket when swimming, even if they show no fear and great aptitude for that activity and I never force puppies to swim. Most of them learn to like it if you take it at their pace.
A regular vet may or may not be able to advise you on when your pup's growth plates are closed. It does require an xray for absolute confirmation. If you plan on neutering your pup, be aware that neutering delays growth plate closure . I think that for many large breeds, growth plates close between 12-18 months as a general rule. I hope this helps!