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How Far Can A 12-Week-Old Puppy Walk?

Taking your puppy for a walk is one of the best ways to keep them and yourself healthy. Walking your puppy can increase physical fitness, improve mental health, lower blood pressure, and decrease stress. In addition to offering numerous health benefits to you, a regular walk is also important for your puppy’s health.

However, walking your puppy too much can tire them and cause muscle pain and stiffness. Knowing how far can a 12-week-old puppy walk is the best way to prevent overexertion and keep your pup healthy.

All dogs are different, and how far a puppy can walk depends on several factors, including your pup’s breed, activity level, and weather. Keep reading to discover how long to walk a 12-week-old puppy, how much exercise a puppy should get, and what are the signs that your puppy is overexercised.

How Far Can You Walk A 12-Week-Old Puppy?

A common question among first-time dog owners is how far a puppy can walk at 12 weeks. Generally, a 12-week-old puppy can walk from half a mile to two miles daily. Exactly how much a puppy can walk depends on the puppy’s energy levels, breed, weather, and the surface it’s walking on.

It’s important to let your puppy set the pace and observe their energy levels. If your puppy seems tired and can’t walk any longer, pick them up and carry them home. Although regular walks are key for mental and physical wellness, long walks and strenuous exercise aren’t recommended for young puppies.

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To determine how much you can walk a puppy safely, you’ll need to consider your pup’s breed, size, and energy, among other factors. For example, a large breed puppy like a Labrador retriever has a longer stride than a Chihuahua puppy and can consequently cover longer distances during a walk.

Furthermore, a highly energetic puppy will have more stamina to walk for longer than a less energetic pooch. Weather is also an important factor to consider. Puppies can cover longer distances in moderate weather. However, most puppies will become tired and unable to walk far in the sweltering heat.

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How Long Should You Walk A 12-Week-Old Puppy?

Generally speaking, you should be able to walk your puppy for five minutes for every month of their age, two times a day. This means that you can take a 12-week-old puppy on two 15-minute walks per day. Ideally, take your puppy for a walk in the morning and then again in the evening.

However, this varies from one puppy to another, and it’s best to keep an eye on your pup’s energy levels during the walk. If your puppy seems tired or isn’t enjoying the walk, it’s time to head back home.

How Much Exercise Does A Puppy Need?

A common recommendation is that puppies need five minutes of exercise per month of age, two times a day. However, the reality is that the amount of exercise your puppy needs depends on your puppy.

Over-exercising puppies, especially large-breed puppies, can damage their joints and causes musculoskeletal problems. Therefore, it’s essential to develop a balanced exercise plan to help your puppy release pent-up energy without harming their developing skeletal system.

According to a general rule for exercising puppies, a three-month-old puppy should exercise for 15 minutes at a time once or twice a day. Follow this rule until your puppy is fully grown and their body can handle longer walks and more vigorous activity.

The type of exercise appropriate for your puppy depends on their age and breed. Breed size is a crucial factor to consider when determining how much exercise your puppy needs. Studies have shown a potential link between too much exercise and orthopedic diseases in large-breed puppies.

Low-impact exercises such as walking, swimming, playing with humans and other dogs, sniffing, and training are low-impact activities that put less stress on the developing joints and bones than running and jumping do.

Can You Over-Walk A Puppy?

Daily walks provide many health benefits to your puppy. Walking strengthens muscles, improves cardiovascular health, and lowers the risk of obesity and associated health problems. 

While regular walks are important for overall health, it’s possible to go too far. Long walks or runs aren’t recommended activities for puppies. In fact, over-walking a puppy can harm their developmental plates and cause strains or sprains.

Here are the most common signs of over-exercising a puppy:

1. Sore Muscles 

Muscular pain and stiffness are common signs that your puppy is getting too much exercise. If your pup is limping or refusing to walk, they may be sore from walking or exercising too much. 

Sticking to a regular walking and exercising schedule is the best way to reduce muscle soreness and stiffness. Make sure your puppy remains active throughout the week, and don’t try to fit a week’s worth of activities into the weekend. 

2. Wear And Tear On Paw Pads

Paw pad injuries are extremely common and very painful. Overused paw pads may appear red, thinner than usual, worn away, or have tears. Long walks or running on concrete can damage paw pads and make it impossible for your puppy to walk. Check your puppy’s paw pads for injuries if they are limping or have trouble walking.

You can also prevent damaged or dry paw pads by regularly applying paw butter.

3. Heat Exhaustion

Heat exhaustion and heat stroke are a serious concern during warmer months when dogs are at risk of overheating. Puppies and older dogs have difficulty regulating their body temperatures, and too much exercise can cause them to overheat. Heat exhaustion is a potentially life-threatening condition that requires immediate veterinary care.

Common symptoms of heat exhaustion include drooling, excessive panting, lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, red gums, and loss of consciousness. If your puppy exhibits any of these symptoms, take them to a cool and shady spot and provide access to fresh water. 

RELATED POST: 10 Genius Cooling Products for Dogs During a Heatwave

Wrapping Up How Far Can Puppies Walk At 12 Weeks

Although small, all puppies need daily exercise to release pent-up energy and build lean and strong muscles. If you never owned a dog, you’re probably wondering how far I should walk my puppy.

A general rule is that most puppies should be walked for about five minutes for every month of age, up to two times a day. According to this, a 12-week-old puppy should have two 15-minute walks per day. When walking a puppy, let them set the pace and keep an eye on their energy levels. If your pup looks tired, starts limping, or seems like they aren’t enjoying the walk, it’s time to head back home. 

Although walking isn’t as intensive an activity as running, it’s still possible to over-walk a puppy. To prevent this from happening, stick to a regular walking schedule based on your puppy’s age, breed, activity level, and weather conditions. 

More Puppy Advice & Care Guides:

12 Week Old Puppy Must Haves For Walks

Remember to check your puppy collar often to make sure it’s not too loose or too tight (ideally you would need to fit 2 fingers between the collar and the neck) as they grow out of their puppy collars fast.

You will also need to bring an engaging toy to practice your recall and teach them that you are the most interesting thing they can play with when outside and a treat and poo bag pouch to make it easy to carry the essentials.

How long should puppy walks be?

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