When it comes to exercising, running is your favorite way to burn calories and stay in shape. And when it comes to spending time with friends, there is nobody you love to hang out with more than your dog. If running with your pooch is an activity you enjoy, then keep reading for some tips you might find helpful the next time you lace up your running shoes and leash up your pup for an invigorating and heart-healthy run.
Talk to your Vet
Just as you would visit your doctor before beginning any new exercise, make sure to do the same for Fido. It is a generally a good idea to take your pup to the vet for a check-up and make sure that he is healthy enough to begin a running routine. If you already run with your dog and she seems fine, it is never a bad idea to check in with your vet just to make sure.
Make sure your dog is built for running
Because dogs can be hyper little balls of energy it might seem surprising but not all dogs are really built for endurance exercise. Some breeds can actually be quite sensitive to exertion and may be prone to overheating, like the Pug for example. German Shepherds, Boxers, poodles and Jack Russell Terriers however, are a few of many breeds considered good running buddies.
Watch your dog’s feet
If you and your pup want to begin a running routine, make sure to get into it gradually because the pads on your dog’s feet are very sensitive and are going to require some time to build up the tolerance for running longer distances. Make sure to check your pup’s paws after a run to make sure there isn’t any raw or bleeding skin. If so, treat accordingly.
Build up endurance
Like Fido’s feet, your dog’s heart and other body systems are going to need time to build up their endurance. If your dog is more used to lazing on the couch then trotting down a running path, his hips and joints are going to need some time to get flexible and used to the movement of running.
When you fill up your water bottle for your jog, make sure you bring enough for your four-legged buddy. Just like you, Fido is going to get thirsty and need a drink. So when you stop for a drink make sure you take care of your pup’s thirst too. Visit your local pet supply store to pick up an easily transportable and collapsible doggie dish to pour the water in.
Pay attention to your pup
Unfortunately if your dog is having a hard time, she is not going to be able to tell you, which is why it is important to pay attention to her when you go for your run. Take time to observe whether or not she seems comfortable or not. Look out for any limping, excessive panting, shaking or other behavior that doesn’t seem right. Dog’s are people pleasers and will push themselves, which can get them injured, overheated and exhausted.
Use the right leash
Although they might seem like a smart idea, retractable leashes are not the way to go when it comes to running with your pooch. They can easily get tangled up with you or your dog and cause serious injury to both you and your pet. You want to keep a nice pace with your pup, which means staying side-by-side. The best way to do this is to get a standard, nylon, leather or similar leash. Avoid choke collars and metal leashes as these too can cause injury to you or your dog and turn your run into an unpleasant experience.
Know your surroundings
Always be familiar with your route. Be aware of high traffic areas consisting not only of cars but of people as well. Not everybody is comfortable around dogs and not all dogs are comfortable around people. If you decide to turn your run into a more nature-filled experience be aware of the terrain you are exposing your dog’s feet to and potential wild animals you may come in contact with, like coyotes and bears.