Running with your Dog

With cooler temperatures upon us, it’s a great time to think about running with your dog.  Before you start, here are a few things to keep in mind.  Take your dog to the vet for a check up before you start, so you can be informed about any respiratory issues, joint problems, or pad issues.  Keep in mind that dogs are less tolerant of heat, and can overheat much more quickly than humans.  Take frequent breaks, especially in hot weather or when running with a young dog, an old dog, or an out of shape dog.  If the dog is overweight, start with long walks to build endurance.  You will want to ensure your pet is up to date on vaccines and licenced.  Teaching your dog good manners will help both of you when you encounter another person or pet, and teaching him or her to run along without pulling on the leash (and stay on the same side of the tree as you!) will make the outing much more enjoyable for you.  It’s important to keep your dog on leash because there may be unexpected hazards along the way (broken glass, etc) and your dog may react in an unpredictable way to new situations.

When you are getting started, short frequent runs are better than one long run on the weekend, which will likely leave both of you sore!  Start with running during portions of your regular walk and increase from there.  A safe, conservative recommendation is to increase the time you spend running by about 5 minutes per week.  Enjoy a cool down walk afterwards and don’t forget to check your dog’s pads. If you going on a longer run, bring along some water for you and your dog, but be careful not to pour the water down his throat – there are light weight collapsible water bowls available.  Watch your dog carefully for limping, slowing down, or excessive panting and stop running if any of these occur. Be aware of the terrain, which can include hot asphalt, broken glass, rough gravel and so on.  Consider bringing along some dog treats to keep the outing fun and motivating, and don’t forget the poop bags.

Have fun running with your best friend!

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