Get ready to run with your dog! Man’s (and woman’s) best friend can also be man’s best running partner – dogs love being with you, being outside and have tons of energy. Below are some things to keep in mind before hitting the road with Fido – read on, grab the leash and lace up those shoes!

 

1. Talk to Your Doctor – and Your Dog’s Vet

First and foremost, talk with your doctor to confirm it’s safe for you to start running. Also, talk to your vet to verify your pup is ready to run, too. Here a few things to consider:

  • Age: If your dog is older, make sure they don’t have any joint problems. If your dog is younger, make sure they’re fully grown – running can be harmful for puppies with bones that aren’t fully formed yet.
  • Breed: Depending on your dog’s breed, he/she may have difficulty running. Breeds with short legs may have a hard time keeping up, and flat-faced breeds may have breathing difficulties, for example.
  • Diet: Some dogs may require a new diet to accommodate the extra exercise.
  • Medication: Make sure your dog is up-to-date with tick medication.

2. Start Slow

Just like you need training, so does your dog! Follow a “couch to 5K” training program to ensure you aren’t running too much, too fast.

3. Warm Up

Warming up protects both you and your dog against injuries, so be sure to walk briskly for 10 minutes prior to running. A warm-up walk also gives your pup a chance to “take care of his/her business.” Speaking of which, remember to bring doggie poop bags with you!

4. Watch Your Surroundings

  • Weather: Thanks to their furry coats and inability to sweat, dogs overheat more quickly than humans. Don’t run with your dog if it’s too hot or humid and make sure the ground is a cool enough temperature by seeing if you can comfortably touch it for 10 seconds. And don’t forget to take lots of water breaks!
  • Wildlife: Whether you’re running at the park or in your neighborhood, always be aware of the wildlife around you. Deer, foxes and other creatures could seriously injure your pet – or worse.
  • Terrain: Your dog’s joints are important. If possible, try trail-running – the soft forest floor is a lot more gentle on your pup than asphalt and concrete. Always check your dog’s paws when you finish your run to make sure they are still in tip-top shape.

If at any time your dog seems uncomfortable, stop running, find some shade and water, and head home when it is safe to do so. Fatigue, drooling, vomiting, extreme panting or bright red gums could signal heatstroke. If the symptoms persist, contact your vet immediately.

 
Run With Your Dog
 

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