Taking your Dog Running

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Dogs can make terrific running partners as long as you take their physical condition and abilities into account. Also keep in mind that your dog may need time to work up to your intensity.

Make sure you check with your veterinarian before taking your dog running, and follow any recommendations that may be provided.

Here are some factors to consider when deciding if your dog can or should run with you.

  • Age —  Wait at least until your dog has completed his first year’s shot schedule.
  • Training — Your dog needs to understand walking on a lead before he can run with you. You’ll also want to make sure your dog is focused enough to stick with you when you run. Investing time in training your dog to heel will be a benefit as dogs should be maintained on a leash at all times. Proper training will make the experience more enjoyable for you and your pet.
  • Breed — Although individual dogs within a breed may vary, some breeds enjoy a good run more than others. Dogs with short muzzles and/or short legs often don’t make the best running partners.

If your dog is ready to run and has been cleared by your veterinarian, start out slow. Start at a walk and gradually increase the distance covered. Then, intersperse periods of walking and running over time. Add speed and/or distance gradually, and if your dog starts lagging, slow down.

Watch your dog for warning signs of overexertion and injury—frequent rest stops, limping, heavy continuous panting following exercise, bowing legs, yelping when you pick him up or move him. If you see any of these signs, take your pet to your veterinarian.

Other Tips:

  • Never exercise your dog right before or just after he has eaten a meal
  • Offer sips of water as an aid for cooling him down rather than free access to water directly after exercise.
  • Keep in mind that darker colored dogs will likely be affected by the heat and humidity faster than you will.
  • Dogs that have short muzzles will often tire quicker when heat and humidity are high.
  • Make running fun. Talk to your dog and offer praise.  Don’t run him to exhaustion. You want this to be an activity you can both enjoy.

 

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