As a pet owner, you are responsible for meeting your dog’s emotional and physical needs.
But as you’re unable to communicate with them through words, it can be difficult to know whether you’ve accidently caused them pain or discomfort.
The RSPCA has revealed how often owners should walk their dogs – and the signs they should look out for to know whether they’re walking them too far and need to ease it off a bit.
A spokeswoman told The Mirror: “Exercise is incredibly important for dogs but all dogs are individuals and may have different requirements depending on their health, age, weight and breed.
“Environmental factors such as the weather, heat and terrain may also have an impact on how far you should walk your dog.
“What’s really important is that dogs have opportunities to go to the toilet, sniff and say hello to other dogs, as well as enjoying the exercise and stimulation they get from going for a walk.”
Owners with older or overweight dogs as well as large and heavy breeds or those with health problems should stick to short but regular walks as it’s safer for their pet.
“It’s important to speak to your vet about exercise requirements for puppies as these can vary breed to breed, and in some over-exercising could contribute to joint problems. And remember to avoid walking during hot weather when they could be at risk of heatstroke,” the spokeswoman added.
“You know your dog best so take walks at their pace and never push them too hard. If they appear to be excessively panting, struggling for breath, appear to be stumbling or lethargic, then it could be a sign that they’ve walked too far or are struggling in the heat.
“If this is the case then please stop the exercise, move them into a cool space, offer them small amounts of water and speak to your vet for advice.
“If your dog limps after a long walk or the following day then it could be a sign that they’re overdoing it or an early sign of arthritis.
“Please speak to your vet if you’re concerned about this as there are lots of treatments for arthritis. For older or arthritic dogs, little and often exercise on a regular regime is really helpful.”