My Dalmatian Spotty, who is four-year-old, jogs with me for 45 minutes every day. Recently I noticed he has started panting more than he used to. What is a safe amount of time to jog with my dog?

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Dogs, too, can become complacen­­t and lazy when it comes to fitness. Before you start your dog on any new exercise routine, make sure you get the ‘all clear’ from your veterinarian first (joint, lungs, heart etc). Not all dogs are built for speed or endurance. Also note that dogs with short snouts like Pugs and Bulldogs aren’t able to breathe as efficiently as dogs with longer snouts, so you’ll have to count them out of too vigorous activities. Since your dog is only too eager to please you, he’ll try and keep up with you even if he’s too tired or in pain. You’ll need to keep a close watch for any signs of fatigue or discomfort like heavy panting or limping. If you see that your dog is struggling, stop and take a break. If you think he’s okay to continue, proceed at a slower pace. Otherwise, head back home and give your dog a break for a couple of days before you work out again. Exercising your dog in extreme heat puts your dog at risk for dehydration or heat exhaustion. In the summer time, opt for an early morning or evening workout when the sun and heat are less intense.

Question by – – R Subramanian, Chennai

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