Exercise has numerous health, social and behavioral benefits for pet dogs. Pet owners of miniature poodles might think the poodle doesn’t need exercise, but would be a mistake. All healthy dogs can benefit from exercise.
A miniature poodle needs to have regular exercise sessions. It is recommended that an adult miniature poodle should exercise for 30-60 minutes every day. The duration and difficulty of exercise are going to depend on age, size, and health condition of the poodle.
How do you define a lot of energy? If you consider an hour of exercise every day a lot of exercise, then yes, miniature poodles do need a lot of exercise. It is not just about the duration, there is also exercise difficulty and exertion that plays a role in the impact of exercise on the poodle.
Typical characteristics of a miniature poodle
A miniature poodle has a small frame and typically weighs around 15-17 pounds with a height of 11-15 inches. It is known to be an elegant, loving, adaptable, and protective breed.
They might look dainty, but they are a high stamina dog with a lot of energy. This could be the reason why miniature poodle owners assume they don’t need that much exercise.
Generally, miniature poodles are a healthy breed, however, the most common health concerns for them include hip dysplasia, cataract, ear infections, and allergies.
Why is exercise important?
There is a lot of information available on why exercise is important for people. Some of the same benefits translate for pet dogs. Exercising helps several systems in the body to remain healthy.
For example, the immune system is improved, the cardiovascular system is improved, the digestive system gets a boost, and more. Exercise helps the dog strengthen the muscles which also helps provide more support to the joints. There are several other health benefits to exercise.
Exercise is the single most important activity that can help improve the quality of the life of the miniature poodle.
Apart from the physical benefits of exercise, the miniature poodle can benefit from the social and behavioral benefits of exercise. As a miniature poodle is a high energy dog, there is a lot of built-up energy in them.
Exercising allows them to release this energy which helps them relax. The calming effect of exercise lasts for a few hours and if the poodle is exercising regularly, a marked improvement in the mood and behavior of the poodle can be seen.
A lot of pet exercises are done outdoors where the poodle can get exposure to the outdoor world. They might get a chance to interact with other pets, which makes them learn how to behave with them.
A poodle is generally a high-maintenance breed and they don’t shy away from expressing their frustration. Sometimes, poodles can have behavioral issues such as excessive barking or aggression. Exercise can teach them how to better control their mood.
What duration of exercise do they need?
The duration of the exercise for a miniature poodle is going to depend on several factors. When you are trying to set up an exercise plan for your miniature poodle, it is always best to have an experienced vet before you get started.
Generally, for puppies, you don’t want to exercise too much as the puppies are still growing and their body is still developing. Over-exercising can lead to injury and stunted growth. A common rule of thumb to use for puppy miniature poodles is to add 5 minutes of exercise for each month of age until the poodle is one year old. So for a four-month-old miniature poodle, you should get 20 minutes of exercise every day.
For healthy adult miniature poodles, try to stick between 30 to 60 minutes of exercise every day. Ideally, you want to break down this into 2 or 3 sessions in the day but that might not be practical for many pet owners, so as long as you can meet the daily recommendation, that should be good enough for exercise purposes.
You should never force your pet to exercise. Exercise has to be a lifestyle change and not just a short-term exercise. For the dog to adapt to exercise as part of their life, they need to enjoy it and for that, you need to give them some freedom.
To build stamina, you should pick and exercise that is adjustable in difficulty and duration. For example, brisk walking is a great exercise. You can gradually build the stamina by increasing the distance or pace.
You will be the best judge to find the right balance between exercise duration and difficulty depending on the health and ability of your miniature poodle. You don’t want to push them too much, on the other hand, you do want to encourage them to exercise and build stamina.
It is also wrong to assume that senior pets do not need exercise. If they are healthy enough to do so, they can exercise up to 60 minutes a day. As the miniature poodle ages, they tend to lose some of the muscle tone of the body.
Along with other health benefits, exercise helps to maintain the muscle tone on the body. Senior pets also suffer from osteoarthritis, which a condition that can benefit from exercise. Similarly, pregnant poodles can benefit from exercise. They can do moderate exercise up to the last week of labor.
What type of exercise do they need?
The fundamental purpose of the exercise is to raise the heartbeat for a certain interval of time. Ideally, the best type of exercise is the one that is safe, gentle on the body, easy to do, has adjustable difficulty, and easily fits into daily life.
One exercise that meets all these requirements is brisk walking. That means you don’t have to get too fancy with the exercise. A simple outdoor brisk walk can do the trick.
The key is to make sure the walk is brisk and there are no unintended breaks while exercising. Keep a close eye on the miniature poodle to make sure they are not being forced to run too fast.
An adult miniature poodle will be comfortable covering a distance of 1 to 2 miles in 30-40 minutes. Anything more, and you might be over stressing the poodle.
If outdoors is not an option and you have some space indoors, you can try to playing fetch indoors. If you have stairs, you can use them for a quick cardio session for the poodle.
If the steps are too tall for the poodle, they might not be comfortable exercising on the stairs. Some people have found success using a treadmill for poodles.
Symptoms of over-exercising: What is too much exercise?
A miniature poodle that is being over-exercised regularly is going to start showing some symptoms. They might have reduced energy levels which are expected but if they start to show extreme fatigue or weight loss, then you need to examine your exercise routine to determine if it needs to be eased a bit.
Over-exercising can happen due to the frequency, duration, or difficulty of the exercise. Common physical symptoms of over-exercising include red gums or tongue, foaming at the mouth, breathing issues and dehydration
Apart from energy levels and weight, look for behavioral changes. Is the dog being reluctant to participate in activities they used to enjoy? Are they sleeping longer than usual?
Are they showing signs of extreme thirst? Over-exercising can be dangerous for the health of the dog. It can cause injuries, overheating, depression, and other issues. Keep in mind that you don’t too be too worried about exercising just because of the potential of severe over-exercising symptoms.
What you should do is to just carefully monitor your pet for any signs of over-exercising and then re-calibrate the exercise plan. Don’t let the symptoms scare you into skipping exercise for your pet.
How to prevent injuries while exercising?
As rule, have your miniature poodle warm-up and cool down after each exercise session. The warm-up helps loosen the muscles making them ready for exercise.
If you are planning on doing a brisk walk, start with a gentle walk for a few minutes before increasing the pace. A common reason why dogs suffer from injuries is dehydration which leads to cramps. So make sure they have enough water available.
For a poodle of any size, the vulnerable areas are the paws. Any injury to the paw can severely impact the quality of life of the poodle so pay extra attention to making sure the paws are not damaged.
Any exercise plan should gradually build up the intensity. So take it easy to begin with before ramping up the difficulty level. One of the best ways to prevent injuries is to allow for proper rest between exercise sessions so the poodle can have time to recover and strengthen the muscles.
Exercising your poodle is a worthy investment of your time and effort. It can have a massive positive impact on the life of your pet and create a stronger bond between you and your pet.