Five Tips for Running Safely with Your Dog
It’s no secret that dogs need some sort of exercise and stimulation to stay happy and healthy, so you may have already thought about incorporating them in your running routine. Wonderful! Here are a few things to keep in mind before you hit the trails so you and your pooch can have a safe and mutually beneficial exercise routine.
1. Get the All Clear from Your Vet
Not every dog will be up to the task of running on a regular basis. Some breeds like Great Danes are more prone to joint issues, meanwhile short-nosed, or brachycephalic, breeds like pugs generally don’t have a long enough airway to safely manage the heavier breaths needed. Keep in mind that some breeds won’t have the same temperament, size, or physical capabilities to enjoy it as much as, say, a retriever. Age is also a factor—obviously, many senior dogs no longer have the stamina to keep pace, but puppies, despite their excessive energy, shouldn’t be run in a formal manner until their joints have set and their bones and muscles have fully developed.
2. Walk Before You Run
Make sure that you and your dog have a solid foundation of proper leash etiquette first. They shouldn’t be expected to run alongside you if they’re not able to follow your lead during basic walks. If you haven’t gotten there yet, ask an obedience instructor about leash behavior training.
Once you’ve completed these steps, you can begin, but go slow to start. It takes time to build up stamina, so always warm up and switch off between walking and running until they get there. Remember, even if you’re a seasoned runner, you didn’t start out being able to complete a marathon right away.
3. Be Mindful
Pay attention to the running surface—asphalt is particularly damaging to dogs’ paws. Even dogs bred for outdoor activity can still be cut from debris or injured from having too hot or too cold paw pads, so be sure to check and clean them before and after runs. And if you’re in a region where ticks are a problem, always thoroughly check their fur after runs to avoid serious health issues.
And as the weather is turning hotter, pay very close attention to your dog’s cues, as they will likely overheat before you. Watch for excessive panting, foaming or unusually heavy saliva, vomit, diarrhea, or lethargy. Stop running immediately if you notice these symptoms and find a cool, shaded area, and let your dog drink slowly to recover.
4. Pack for Success
To avoid dehydration, always pack water, and if you’re out for a longer run, then bring along a collapsible bowl. Their leash should be sturdy and not too long, around 2-3 feet to give them an ideal combination of freedom for them and control for you.
And of course, don’t forget doggy poop bags to clean up their post-run business. No one wants to deal with your dog’s mess. Just because your pup is an animal doesn’t mean you should be!
With these tips in mind, you can start working your dog into your workout. Be patient, manage your expectations, and have fun out there!
Do you need help getting your dog leash trained? Contact us today and we’ll give your best friend the manners they need.