Take Your Dog Running
Looking to get in shape? Your dog can make an excellent running partner, but consider these factors to make sure he’s up to the challenge.
Is Your Dog a Runner?
• Age: Wait at least until your dog has completed his first year’s vaccination schedule.
• Training: Your dog should understand walking on a lead, and know how to “Heel” before he can begin to run with you.
• Focus: Make sure your dog is focused enough to stick with you when you run.
• 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 may need to move at a slower pace.
• Clearance: Make sure to get the “OK” from your vet before taking your dog running.
Whether or not you are an experienced runner, your dog needs to 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 distance gradually, and if your dog starts lagging, take it down a notch.
• Never exercise right before or just after he’s eaten a meal.
• Offer sips of water as an aid for cooling down rather than free access to water directly after exercise.
• Keep in mind that dogs may be affected by heat and humidity faster than you.
• Dogs that have short muzzles may tire more quickly when heat and humidity are high.
• Watch for warning signs of overexertion and injury- frequent rest stops, limping, heavy panting, bowing legs or yelping.
• Make running fun. Talk to your dog and offer lots of praise.
Get the whole family involved. You’ll be on your way to a healthy, happy life together, and look great doing it!