In most cases, you know when your dog is well. He eats normally, isn’t limping and has plenty of enthusiasm and energy.
Even so, it’s a good idea to pop into your vet clinic and have him examined before you start an exercise program with him. This was brought home to me recently on a busy Saturday morning in the vet clinic where I work.
A beautiful lean healthy boxer was brought in for vaccinations. Nothing wrong with him at all, except the owner mentioned in passing that the dog occasionally had funny “turns” after he’d played ball for a while. He stared, seemed quite vacant, staggered a little and got over it very quickly. It wasn’t a problem and he nearly didn’t bring it up.
After much discussion, it turns out this dog quite possibly had a condition called syncope, a genetic heart problem which caused abnormal rhythms, and fainting. Imagine what could have happened if this owner had taken his healthy dog with no obvious problems out for a run?
A more common, but no less serious, condition that could interfere with your dog’s ability to enjoy a run, is obesity. Over 40% of our pet dogs are now overweight, and it can affect their joints, and their heart. Sometimes we’re not sure if our dog is actually overweight or not, so it’s not a bad idea to get a professional opinion. It may save a lot of pain later on.