How do you (and your pet) break away from the daily grind? A walk can be nice, but what about getting further away, faster? Running with your dog can be healthy for you and your dog — body, and mind. You start out slow. You pass your neighbor’s houses, your neighborhood. Before you know it, you’re free on that path, in that nature, by that road, or near that forest, coast, or simply under the open sky.
If you think running with your dog will give you a sense of freedom, imagine how your pooch will feel.
Want to go running with your dog but you’re not sure how it will go? Read these tips and tricks first for a safe and fun jogging outing with your pooch.
Want To Go Running With Your Dog? Make It A Fun And Safe Outing
Health junkies are always saying to find a workout partner. But, people aren’t always reliable as running mates. Life can get in the way for friends — they have a deadline, they have to pick up their kids, or they might just not feel like it today. But you know who is always around and always ready to get some exercise?
A dog’s body craves exercise. And pooches tend to be devoted running mates. Before you start running with your dog, you’ll want to make sure they have the endurance to run long distances and will behave during the workout.
There are ways to keep your pet safe and happy as you work up to a regular running routine. Paying attention to your pet’s panting and making sure you have plenty of fresh water for them are just two of the ways to stay in tune with your companion.
Here are some other ways to make sure you keep your canine companion safe as you exercise with your pet pal.
Best Practices And Tricks For Running With Your Dog
Your dog isn’t expecting you to run a marathon each time you head out the door, but the consistency of regular jogging or running routines can help keep your pet healthy and dissuade negative behaviors born from unspent energy.
1. Make Sure Your Vet Gives Your Pet The Green Light To Run
You may think your energetic companion has all the energy in the world when you see them chasing a rabbit or trailing the mailman, but long runs aren’t for all dog breeds. A simple check-up with your vet will be a great place to start when assessing your dog’s health, capabilities, and endurance.
Your vet may notice concerns that might prevent your pet from running by your side. Depending on your dog’s breed, you may need to be aware of potential hip dysplasia, breathing issues (especially for pugs and bulldogs), or a tendency to get heatstroke. You will also need to take it slow with dogs that are overweight.
While running can be a great way to get them back into shape, they might not have the endurance of a physically fit dog. Talk with your vet about the best way to go about getting your overweight pet into a regular running routine.
Your veterinarian can also make sure your pup is protected should you encounter ticks or other insects on your runs. And they’ll make sure your dog is up to date on all vaccines.
2. Consider Your Dog’s Breed When Planning On Running Together
Again, not all pets are good companions for running. The following breeds are great for those who enjoy taking their pet on a run:
- German Shorthaired Pointers
- German Shepards
- Border Collies (and other herding breeds)1
You may not want to take dogs like pugs or chihuahuas with you on extended runs. Most larger dogs are more likely to keep up with you on a run that smaller dogs.
3. Should You Run With Your Puppy Or Your Older Pet?
Just like if you were to run with a human friend, the age of your pet matters. You wouldn’t take your 12-month-old baby for a run, nor should you take your puppy. And would you go running with your 70-year-old grandma? Similarly, maybe let your older furry companion rest.
Really, you should only run with your pet when they’re in their prime. A puppy’s muscles are still developing, and an exercise regime that’s too intense may actually interfere with your puppy’s development.2
Of course, older dogs may be dealing with vision issues, arthritis, or hip dysplasia. So again, keep your vet involved. They’ll let you know when it might be time to stop running with your dog.
4. Running On A Leash
If your dog is leash trained for walks, you’re off to a good start. But leash running is different than walking. To train your dog on a running leash, head out for a normal walk. For a few days, try out some short sprints together. Allow your canine companion time to get used to the leash running. And never take your dog off the leash when running.
Also, bring a collapsible bowl for fresh water. And start your running training on cooler days or in cold weather (not freezing weather, of course). This will allow your dog to work up to longer runs on hotter days.
A retractable leash is a good idea, too.
Give your dog some freedom on an isolated trail with a longer lead. You can shorten the leash if another dog appears, or if you come across traffic.
Finally, have you heard of a waist leash? Training your dog to run on a hands-free waist leash can help allow you to stay active and free while still being able to control your dog. A waist leash simply loops around your waist so your hands are free to focus on your workout.
5. Safety First When Running With Your Dog
When running with your dog, you’ve got to stay alert to your surroundings. Keep your dog away from traffic. This may take some training. You’ll want to use simple verbal cues to keep your dog out of trouble — heel, stop, come, and stay are good basics. If you’re running at night, a reflective vest is a great idea.
If it’s hot out, be mindful of heatstroke. It’s easy for dogs to get overheated. Here are some tell-tale signs of heatstroke to be aware of:
- Your dog’s body feels warm to the touch
- Bright red gums
- Rapid breathing or irregular pulse3
Surprisingly, your dog’s sweat glands don’t do much to help your dog cool down. Panting regulates their temperatures.4 Check your dog’s paw pads to see if they’re sweating. If this is the case, allow your pet to rest in a shaded area and get them some cool water.
Also, try to run on softer surfaces to keep your dog’s joints healthy. Safe surfaces are sand, grass, and dirt.
Running With Your Canine Companion
In the end, if you can focus on these tips and tricks, you’ll train your pooch to inspire you to keep up your own healthy regimen. Humans and dogs alike need exercise. Why not give your dog the best care? Running together can help keep you both fit, healthy, and engaged.
Dogs are pack animals, and if you’re leading them together on fun runs, they’ll likely thank you with their love, loyalty, and best behavior.