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ArrowOwner

Running: How much is too much?

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Hi All, 

Quick question about running: Our Arrow, whom we've had for about six months, is doing great. She's about seven years old, raced in about 60 races and was then kept for breeding racers (three litters of pups). Arrow is pretty chill at home, but she LOVES to run at the dog park and doggy day care. It's just now starting to get a bit hot outside, and we took her to the dog park this weekend. She did a big round of several loops, dazzling everyone with her speed and agility. After about 15-20 minutes, she went for the shade and was panting quite hard. We brought her home, got her lots of cold water. The panting kept going for a good while and she seemed overheated, we cooled her down with some cold wash cloths and it eventually stopped. We noticed the next few days she would have weird breathing things happen occasionally, almost like a weird little cough or snort. It's allergy season here, so that could be it. But I'm wondering for a dog her age, if you all have any advice as to how much they should run and if they can overdo it in the summer. I'm thinking 1-2 good runs a week, but maybe even that is too much in the heat? 

So appreciate this forum! 

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I'm not sure there's a "right" answer to how many runs per week at a given age, but there definitely is a right amount of "hot time" - and it's not a lot. If you're going to let her go full bore at a dog park it should only be early in the morning or later at night, when it is not hot (or humid). Depending on where you are, there may be times of the year where it's best to only do walks, because it's too hot even in the middle of the night.

These pups are not to be trusted to self-regulate when it comes to heat, I know we're going to have to keep a careful eye on our black boy who LOVES to lay in the sun. You might also get a cooling vest/shirt to put on her when you are out and about in the heat.

As far as the little cough/breathing - you're right it definitely could be seasonal allergies. But I'd also just keep an eye on it and maybe mention if it seems to continue to appear. If she's overweight or has any cardiac concern I'd just be mindful; exercise intolerance and the issues that arise from it can come on without a lot of warning and, unlike us, dogs don't know when to quit.

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There is a serious condition (see link) where one of the causes can be over exertion at temperatures where the dog can not cool themselves as normal.  If your dog is panting and and it continues, then you need to take measures to slowly cool the dog down like cold towels.  There have been a few dogs in this forum that experienced it .. hopefully they will also respond.

https://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/rhabdomyolysis-symptoms-causes-treatments#1

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Ditto MaryJane's post! 

You would be surprised at how quickly rhabdomyolysis can happen. We were with a group that walked in a St Patrick's Day parade. Slow walk, slightly warm day, and a 6 year old greyhound collapsed. We were able to cool her down, but follow up testing to make sure one has truly passed the crisis point is necessary.


 

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Thank you all for the heads up about rhabdomyolysis. I will try and keep her running jaunts spread out and during cooler weather in the summer. 

I've also noticed that she does love to lay in the sun and sometimes doesn't seem to realize she's getting really hot. I've noticed that if I toss her a couple of pieces of ice, she'll eat them and then tends to get in the shade; as if the ice reminds her that she's getting hot or something. Lots to learn!  

Thanks!

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Yes, you need to watch that they don't lay in the hot sun too long and always make sure your yard has some shade, even if from a giant parasol or pergola thing that can't blow over.

I stopped Peggy from running in the summer except in the early mornings, and evenings when the sun was gone, when she reached 7/8.   Now she's on her way to 12 she really doesn't like to walk when its over 65 anyway.  Definitely no hot high angle sun.

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I don't think it is a question of how often she runs during the week, but how long she runs each time.  My old boy Henry really felt the heat, but he still wanted his walks so I got him a cooling jacket from Ruffwear.  It made a tremendous difference when the temperature got above the mid 80s.  Now I have a new black girl who will use the jacket as she got overheated just lying in the sunshine.  She's a 7 yr old broodmama just like your girl.

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