Run With Your Dog and Get Fit

Run With Your Dog for Health and Fun by David April

Running is wonderful exercise for humans and is a natural and healthy activity for dogs.

Both you and your dog can enjoy the therapeutic benefits of running together which include:

  • stress reduction
  • weight loss
  • improved cardiovascular and bone health
  • and
  • improved muscle tone
  • Fit dogs are more alert, content and have fewer socialization and health problems.

    There are many important things to consider before taking “Spot” out on his first run.

    Just as one should consult a doctor before engaging in rigorous exercise, you should consult your veterinary to make sure that distance running is an appropriate activity for your dog. Not all dogs breeds are able to sustain intense aerobic activity. So make sure your dog is capable.

    The Ideal Running Dog

    The ideal running dog is medium-built and weighs 50 to 70 pounds. Some appropriate breeds include: Golden Retrievers, Labradors, Huskies, Alsatians, Greyhounds, and Border Collies to name a few.

    It is best to avoid running with very large dogs or small ones because their bodies are not well portioned for distance running. Some breeds have inherent problems such as hip displasia that might be aggravated by rigorous exercise.

    It may take some time to get use to running with a four-legged companion. Dogs are easily distracted by smells, other dogs and animals, noises, and of course food left on the ground.

    Begin Your Exercise Program Slowly

    Gradually build up the stamina of your dog especially if she is overweight or spends most of her time in the backyard, a pen or indoors.

    Just as you would before and after running alone, allow time for warming up and cooling down.

    Keep in mind that dogs, by nature, will loyally try to keep up with you even when their health is in danger .

    Tips to Keep in Mind

    Some useful tips to keep in mind when planning to run with your dog.

  • Monitor your pet. If he looks tired, is panting heavily, and lagging behind, he probably needs a break

  • Respect the heat. Dogs do not sweat. They dissipate heat through their paws and mouths. Long-haired dogs have more difficulty in the heat. Plan your running route to allow drinking stops, and let the dog run through puddles.

  • Check pads. Always check your dog’s pads before and after a run. Look for cuts, abrasions, tar, and material embedded in between the nails

  • Plan your route to include soft surfaces. It is best to run on grass or dirt surfaces. Avoid hot asphalt, gravel, frozen surfaces, uneven surfaces, and be vigilant about running through oil, salt, glass, and pot holes

  • Always keep your dog on a six-foot leash when running on public roads and trails. It is safer for everyone, and it is the law in many communities. Be mindful of cars, pedestrians, and other runners

  • Keep your dog visible. At night, use a reflective dog harness, a reflective tape the length of the leash, or flashing lights around the collar

  • Avoid busy traffic. Keep your dog away from automobile exhaust pipes.

  • A dog can make a wonderful running partner but you must remember to pay special attention to his needs.

    His loyalty to you and his natural instincts for running, even while hurt or dehydrated, means you have to think for him to ensure his health and safety. So the next time you lace up your running shoes, consider if “Fido” is fit and able to come along.

    Some useful links:

    Reflective Dog Collars

    Reflective Dog Collars

    Wetbone Water to Go

    Folding Dog Bowls

    Protect Those Paws!

    Hands Free Leashes