Running with your dog is a great way to exercise, bond and keep both you and your four-legged friend in great shape.
Many dogs need more exercise than a walk can provide. Dogs that have excess energy or were bred to work such as herding, sporting and working dogs will enjoy an opportunity to stretch their legs.
Benefits Of Running With Your Dog
• Great exercise for you and your four-legged friend.
• Burning off excess energy can help reduce anxiety and can lead to better behavior.
• Allows you to spend time and bond with your dog.
• Dogs can be motivational running partners.
Before You Begin Running With Your Dog
Make sure to check with your veterinarian before taking your dog on a run. Running offers several great benefits to a dog’s health, but it is not for every dog. Dogs who have heart conditions, difficulty breathing, are over-weight or suffer from over-heating, may not be cut out for a daily run. Even a dog that appears to be in perfect health could suffer from a physical problem, such as elbow or hip dysplasia that could worsen with a jarring exercise such as running. If you have a puppy, make sure that a running routine will not be harmful to developing bones.
Basic leash training is important for a safe and fun jogging experience. Make sure that your dog will turn and stop with you and is able to walk and jog at your side without pulling ahead. Leash pulling can cause sore neck and shoulder muscles for your dog and can also be dangerous for you. Teaching a basic heel will keep you and your dog safe at a walk or run.
Work up your speed and routine gradually. If your dog is not used to running you will want to start with a walk/jog combination, keeping the speed and distances short until both you and your dog are comfortable. Gradually increase the distance in small intervals when you are both ready.
On The Run
• Run or jog on a soft surface. Dirt, grass, sand and even asphalt are all more forgiving than concrete which can be jarring on bones and joints.
• Try running in the morning, evening or in cooler weather. Hot weather can also mean hot pavement which can burn your dog’s paws or can lead to heatstroke and dehydration.
• Include a warm up and cool down in your run. Walking before and after a run will help avoid muscle tears and injuries.
• Have a plan. Know how far you are headed and at what point your will need to turn around.
• Take breaks as needed. If you are going for a longer run, stop occasionally to check your dog’s feet and body for injuries. This is also a good opportunity for a water break.
• Praise your dog during and after.
• Have fun!
Even if you take every precaution to keep your dog safe, accidents and injury can happen. Paws can easily become cut, scraped, burned or bruised, and muscles can be strained or pulled. Watch your dog for stiffness or limping during and after the run. If you discover your dog has an injury, visit your vet and avoid exercising until it is fully healed.