Running with your dog can be a rewarding and mutually beneficial experience for you and your pet. Aside from the health benefits, running with your dog can also be an incredible bonding experience.
Here are tips on how to safely include your dog in your running program.
THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO START RUNNING WITH YOUR DOG
All you need is a leash and collar, or body harness. Choose the one that is most comfortable for you. If you need to stop your dog immediately from harmful obstacles, the collar can have a strangling effect; the harness can be safer as it allows your dog to run without obstruction.
Always leash your dog if you are running in traffic or in a park setting near small children, or near cars, cats and squirrels.
Avoid retractable leash, it offers little control and could be dangerous at high speed. If you’re running in low light, reflective or LED leashes and collars will help make your dog visible.
A dog that pulls can be challenging. If your dog is large and athletic, he or she will probably pull you through your run. A helpful tip is to shorten the leash. If you have a 6-foot leash and your dog already has the habit of pulling you during your walks, you can keep the leash short, 2 to 3 feet at the most.
If your runs exceed 20 minutes or it’s extremely hot, you’ll need access to water as well. Dogs are more sensitive to heat than long distances.
Start by taking your dog for long walks at least a half a mile every other day.
Dogs, much like people, need to ease into running. Begin training with your dog slowly. You should probably start by walking, even if your dog is energetic and ready and willing to go all out.
WALK THEN RUN
After a few weeks, add short periods of running during your walks and gradually increase the distance of your walk/runs to keep your total exercise time at 20-30 minutes. Increase your distance by 10 percent each week.
If your dog starts to tire and fall back, slow down and add more rest (off) days. Keep decreasing the frequency of walking until your program is all running. For every day you run, your should give your dog a day off.
Many veterinarians agree that you should not run long distances with puppies under one year old as their bones are soft, still growing and running stresses their skeleton.
Consider your dog’s size and shape before you attempt to run with them. If your dog fits in your purse or has short legs compared to body size, like a Dachshund or Bulldog, their desire to run may be stronger than their ability to run. Some breeds are better suited for running than others.
Dogs are susceptible to overheating, they don’t sweat like humans, body heat is dissipated through panting and via the paws. In hot weather, it’s all too easy for your dog to overheat.
Ensure your dog swims or drinks every 2-3 miles. Your cool and hydrated dog will make a much better, and healthier, running partner.
DOGS NEED EXERCISE TOO!
A healthy, trim, exercised dog is a happy dog. Obesity is unhealthy for your dog, and walking, jogging or running with your pet is one of the best ways to keep them fit.
Dogs love to run, he or she will be a happy and motivated running partner so do yourself and your dog a favor and become a dog runner! You’ll develop a stronger bond, and you’ll both be more active, healthier and happier for it.
RUNNING WITH YOUR DOG ESSENTIALS
Besides running, what’s your favorite way to workout with your dog? What are your dog running essentials? Tell us all about it in the comments below.
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