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Published: Apr 27, 2012

Regular exercise is important for healthy dogs, but owners need to consider their canine's health before they push them into intense physical activity. Delaware Online reports many owners do not consider things like their dog's health, temperament and the weather outside before they head out for exercise.

"There are things people forget in their urge to get out there in the beautiful spring weather with their best friend," veterinarian Tim Wright told the news source. "They are just like us, and if they've been cooped up all winter they need to get into shape, too. Not every dog is ready to run two miles."

Owners need to make sure that their dog is ready for physical activity. This is especially important if the dog has existing medical conditions. For example, canines suffering from dog hip dysplasia may need to engage in alternate activities for physical fitness, as the owner could be putting them in pain without knowing it. Your veterinarian can make exercise recommendations tailored to the needs of your specific dog.

VCA Animal Hospitals also recommends that pet owners look for ticks on dogs after they have been playing outside for extended periods of time. Ticks may carry the bacteria that causes Lyme disease or other serious illnesses, which can be debilitating to dogs.  After you start an exercise program with your dog, monitor for any signs of lameness or discomfort and bring any concerns to the attention of your veterinarian.