Q: My dog doesn't enjoy going for walks. What can I do to get him up and at 'em?
A: One of the classic reasons for getting a dog is to have a walking buddy, so it can be worrisome or frustrating when yours doesn't want to participate. Let's look at some of the reasons your dog might be reluctant to shake a leg when you want to go around the block.
If he's young, or simply out of shape, the walk might be too much for him. Depending on the breed, young dogs don't complete their musculoskeletal growth until they're 14 to 24 months old. Too much running, jumping or walking on hard surfaces can leave them feeling tired or sore.
Adult dogs that aren't conditioned might feel the same way if they aren't used to the distance, speed or amount of time you're walking. Maybe you're working on a New Year's resolution to walk every day or faster or longer. Both you and your dog need to build up to that.
Overweight dogs might also have trouble with walks. The surplus pounds they're carrying put painful pressure on their joints.
If your dog is limping, check him over to make sure there's not a sticker or grass awn in his paw. He might have a broken nail or gotten an injury from jumping on or off the sofa. If he's still limping after a day of rest, your veterinarian should see him to check for injuries. Certain tick-borne diseases can cause limping, as well.
Finally, dogs that are reluctant to walk for no apparent reason, especially if they stop frequently or insistently, may have a condition such as congestive heart failure or bone cancer.
Anytime your dog doesn't want to walk, there's a reason. Work with your veterinarian to find it.
Do you have a pet question? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.