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What are some tips for running with a dog?

Dawn Marcus
Neurology
Here are some tips for running with dogs:
  • Remember, humans are better suited for long distance running than
           dogs.
  • Don't run long distances with puppies.
  • Just like humans, dogs should also slowly build up their running
           distance.
  • Watch for sore pads to tell you you’ve gone too far too fast.
  • Watch for overheating in your dog. Remember that it’s harder for
           them to lose extra body heat than you.
  • Maintain good hydration throughout the run.
  • Avoid eating before running.
Running with your dog is great for both of you!  Remember to be courteous of other people as you navigate with your pooch, carry and use poop bags, tote water and offer your pet a drink, and allow your dog to rest between outings.  You both will enjoy the benefits of exercising together!

The best tip I can give when running with a dog will be to go at their pace. Your dog will easily go at your pace but it would be best to try and go at theirs. If you are unable to keep up with them, then consider getting a bike to be able to go at their pace. If they are unable to keep up then slow down slightly to a power walk.

There are many variables to consider when deciding to run with your dog including: your dog’s breed, size, age, and level of physical activity. Others are temperature, training and the route environment. For example, a Daschund is not going to be the best running companion if you are training for a marathon. Neither is it a good idea to run a dog with a thick coat in the summer heat. If obedience is an issue, then I would not suggest a route with a lot of distractions. This has been an issue with my Husky, when he was younger, when we would run past a farm with chickens and goats. For larger dogs, or pulling breeds, a good harness or head collar make a big difference as they are less likely to pull you around. I know from experience that sometimes feet can get tangled and the two-legged animal is always going to be the first one to fall. For that reason, I have taught my dog a few signals for right, left and stop. This way there are no surprises for anyone. 

As for the health of your dog, overheating and dehydration are always things to consider. A dog’s panting is not as efficient at higher speeds compared to rest. Growing dogs can be at risk for growth plate injury if they are pushed too hard. So, running for puppies should be restricted to play. Some vets even suggest waiting until 18-24 months before running with your puppy. Bloat can also be a problem. This is twisting of the stomach on the duodenum associated with exercise after eating. It is more common in larger, deep-chested breeds. For this reason, it is a good idea to wait at least a half hour after a meal to run with your dog. And lastly, if you want a good relationship with your neighbors, bring poop bags.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.