Running with Your Dog | The Ultimate Guide to a Healthy Bond
Don’t you love crossing two to-do’s off your list in one go? Say, get your run in and exercise your dog? Welcome to the world of running with your dog! Of course, getting through your list faster isn’t the only reason to run with your dog… They also make great company, can help us feel safer, and get to keep their own fitness up too.
But that doesn’t mean you should just lace up your sneakers and go run with your dog. There are a few things to check in on first to both make it a success and keep your pup safe. We’ve made it easy for you by listing them out below.
KNOW YOUR DOG’S RUNNING COMPATIBILITY
Some breeds are natural runners. Think collies and retrievers. Others like to run but are suited to short spurts rather than long jogs (think greyhounds). Yet others, such as pugs and French Bulldogs, would really rather (and should) stay home.
CHECK HE’S READY
MAKE SURE YOUR DOG UNDERSTANDS CUES
Stop. Heel. Stay. Maybe even “Go left!”. When you’re running you need to make sure your dog is well controlled. Add busy roads or packed trails to the equation, and it’s more important than ever.
START SLOWLY AND PAY ATTENTION
No matter how experienced you are as a runner, you need to break your dog into his running career slowly. Pace yourself, check in to how she is doing, see how she recovers, and slowly increase the pace and length of your runs.
HYDRATE. HYDRATE. HYDRATE.
Dogs don’t sweat like us, so it’s hard for them to cool down properly. They also can’t tell us when they are thirsty, so we need to look out for signs of dehydration such as heavy panting, refusal to run, sunken eyes, vomiting, and a dry nose. Avoid that risk altogether by attaching your Spleash to your leash every time you go running with your dog, and check in frequently to see if they need a drink. Bonus: you can squirt away any aggressive dogs or bees on your run too!
CHECK THE CONDITIONS
Is it 90 degrees out? Don’t run with your dog. Minus 15? Same advice. Would you be comfortable walking barefoot on the tarmac? Check it with the back of your hand for 5 seconds – if it’s too hot for you, it’s too hot for their paws.
CHOOSE PAW-FRIENDLY PATHS
Yep, that scalding hot tarmac isn’t just going to burn their paws, it’s not the best for their joints either. If you have access to it, it’s better to pick a forest trail, beach, or other natural terrain for you and your dog to run on.
SCHEDULE REST DAYS
You know that feeling where you can barely lift yourself off the coach 48 hours after a particularly hard run? Your dog can feel that too! Just like you should plan your own rest days, make sure your dog gets to take a break to recover too.
Once you and your dog get underway, you’ll both be burning more calories from your running sessions. Be mindful that your canine companion might need some extra food on running days, just like you.
GET THE GEAR
You definitely don’t need to invest in a bunch of gear to go running with your dog (except your hydrating Spleash, of course!) but there are things out there that can make it easier on you both. Check out running booties (ideal for protecting paws on hot days), high visibility collars, and pet trackers (just in case…).
One thing we couldn’t fit in this list but that is super important: Have fun! If our pets help us with one thing in life, it’s learning to take ourselves (and even our personal bests) less seriously. All hail our fluffy friends!
Written by Zoe Oksanen
I am 69 almost 70 and I still can run with my 3 pups, One mixed female going on 15yrs old. Two Yorkies, both 5 lbs., one will be 6yrs Aug. 15 and the other will be 2yrs Aug. 14. Some times hard to keep up with the Yorkies lol
Olivia Olivas on
The DOG is aware of his/her limits.
Tallulah Sherrill on
Thanks for the good info.
Billie Wallace on