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A certain amount of stress from exercise and sports is good because it helps dogs be prepared to handle stress. On the other hand, too much stress without time to recover can affect dogs’ attitude, how quickly they fatigue and their willingness to perform.

“Virtually all dog sports and training and conditioning programs involve natural stress related to travel, unknown surroundings and a change in routine,” explains Purina Director of Sporting Dog Programs Bob West. “Excessive fatigue and inadequate daily recovery can impair a dog’s immunity. Regular conditioning increases a dog’s fitness level and makes it more difficult for fatigue to set in.”

Fatigue can cause decreased immunity that can trigger microbial imbalances and increase susceptibility to stress. Dogs that do not receive adequate nutrient absorption after exercise or competition may experience stress-related diarrhea. Diarrhea impairs recovery and results in fluid loss that can reduce hydration for the next day’s performance.