Running with your dog can be a paw-some experience. You get your exercise and the dog gets out of the house to burn off excess energy. However, do your research before you and your pooch hit the road to ensure you both arrive home safe and happy.
Not all breeds are designed to run long distances
The Pugs, English and French Bulldog, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Boston Terrier, Shih Tzu, and Pekinese are just a few breeds that have short legs and a compressed skull that can lead to breathing difficulties. If you own one of these breeds, keep in mind they are doing almost triple your steps to keep up with you. Try HIIT training or Fartlek Training or simply go for a power walk instead.
If it’s over 25 degrees C, it too hot for your dog
Unlike humans, dogs don’t sweat. They way they cool down is to pant. If they get too hot, no amount of panting will cool them down, putting your pet at risk of heat stroke. Dogs need shade, cool water and to avoid overexerting themselves during warm weather. Also, remember unlike you, dogs don’t have the latest Nike trainers, asphalt can burn the pads of their feet. The best time to run with your dog is first thing in the morning or later in the evening and choose a shady, grassy area rather on the road.
Avoid taking new puppies on runs
The idea of having a new furry addition to the family is exciting, but before you take them out running, you need to wait at least two weeks after their last vaccination (usually around 14-16 weeks) before you can introduce them to the outside world. Puppies also undergo a great deal of bone development during the first 12 months, so avoid taking them out for a long distance run until they are around a year old.
Dogs can be susceptible to chafing
Ill-fitting harnesses can rub, and just as if you were wearing the wrong size shorts, top or sports bra, the constant friction can cause painful chafing.
Be safe, be seen
If you are running at dusk or on rural roads, make sure you and your pooch are both wearing reflective gear. Oncoming vehicles have a better chance of spotting you if you look like a radioactive beacon.
Start out slow
You can’t expect your K9 to be able to complete a 5km fun run straight off the mark. Start with smaller runs, otherwise, you may find your furry friend lays down on the halfway mark, and you’ll end up carrying them to the finish line. Not so bad if you have a little cat-sized dog, but if you have a bigger golden retriever or German shepherd, it may take more than treats to convince them to move.