Need An Exercise Buddy? Learn To Run With Your Dog Safely.
Running is a big-time hobby for a lot of people right now; some would argue it’s a lifestyle. Your dog may make a terrific running partner, depending on breed, disposition and health. Running with your dog can help the two of you bond, spend time together outside, and work out all at once—exercise is essential to both humans’ and dogs’ well-being. However, bringing your dog on your runs does add some considerations to take into account. We’ve detailed a few of them here.
It’s good to have water available on a run, but as this Vetstreet article points out, you also need to be cautious because some dogs are prone to bloat, which is a deadly condition where the stomach turns over on itself. Eating and drinking before exercise are associated with higher chances of bloat. Check with your vet about water intake during runs, and feed your pup after their workout session, not before.
In the warmer months hot pavement can pose a problem for paw pads. Just like we brought up in this post, you’ll want to avoid the sidewalks during peak heat hours—just like with walking, it’s best to stick to the cooler hours of morning and evening, or run with you dog somewhere grassy. If you’re running in a wilderness area, no matter the season, there are added considerations, such as rocks, burrs, and other animals. Additionally, our Chicago winters may not be the most hospitable environment for runs—if it’s too cold for a walk it’s probably too cold for a run, too. If you do go out in cold weather just keep your sojourns together short.
Depending on your dog, she may need training in order to run with you. A dog who pulls while you run is dangerous for both of you. She should be able to run on a loose leash and stay near you. Keep your dog close to you until you’ve gained enough experience running with her to know how far away she can be. If your dog is pulling on the leash or lunging while on a run, Vetstreet recommends teaching her to walk at a heel first and to go from there. And speaking of training, dogs, like people, need to train to run; they can’t just get up and go without risking injury. Start conservatively and gradually build the amount of time and distance you run. If you’re a seasoned marathoner this process may be frustrating at first, but over time you and your dog can become great running partners. This active.com article has a detailed running plan for you and your dog.
Your dog should be in good overall health if you’re running together—if she has any medical issues talk to your vet first before engaging in this activity. Similarly, seniors and puppies should stick to short walks to avoid injury. Puppies have growth plates that haven’t fused and running can damage them. Additionally, not all breeds are suited for the running life—especially brachycephalic doggos like pugs, Boston terriers and bulldogs. Their smooshed-in muzzles make breathing a bit of a challenge, especially in extreme weather. These dogs do best with walks. Some dogs are more sprinters than distance-runners. Always check with your vet before you start your dog on a running regimen.
Having your dog be your primary jogging companion can be a ton of fun and a great way for you to bond, but remember to ease into it, take any health and age issues into consideration, and to always be aware of your pup’s needs as you log those miles together.