Running with your dog can be a great mental and physical health boost for both you and your furry friend. Plus, it’s a great way to spend some quality time together.
That said, it’s not quite as simple as attaching a leash and heading out the door. Read on for some of our favorite tips to ensure that running with your dog is an enjoyable experience for everyone involved.
Perks of Running with Your Dog
If your pup is prone to anxiety, boredom, or destructive behaviors, he may need some help getting rid of excess energy—and running is a great way to do that!
In addition to helping to get rid of excess energy and weight, running can have a significant effect on your dog’s mental health. Exposure to new sights, sounds, smells, and a general change of scenery are all great for mental stimulation. (In fact, even if you’re not a runner, we highly recommend going on some outdoor adventures with your dog every so often.)
Running with your dog is also a fun way to keep yourself motivated. After all, you don’t want to disappoint your dog by skipping a run, do you? Plus, who doesn’t want an adorable running buddy?
That said, not every dog is built for running, so it’s important to know whether running with your dog is a good idea before you hit the pavement.
Check for Compatibility
Before you make any plans to set world running records with your dog, consider whether his breed, age, and health make him a suitable candidate for a running companion for the types of runs you have in mind.
For example, some breeds, such as Golden Retrievers and Dalmations, can make great long-distance running buddies. Others, such as Greyhounds, are better for sprinting short distances.
Larger breeds such as Great Danes or Rottweilers don’t make great running partners due to their size, as it can be hard on their joints and they tend to lack the necessary stamina. Brachycephalic breeds such as Pugs and French Bulldogs should probably avoid running too, as their short snouts can make for breathing difficulties.
Puppies, while full of energy, should also wait until they’re older to join you on your runs. This is because their joints are still growing, so shorter, more frequent bursts of exercise are a better option for the time being.
Even if your dog’s breed and age make him the ideal running partner, consider his weight and overall health as well. If he’s significantly overweight, strenuous exercise could be tough on his joints; underlying health conditions could also make running risky. If you’re unsure whether your dog is fit for running, talk to your vet to get the green light.
Once you’ve confirmed that your pup can be your running buddy, it’s important to consider how bringing him along will affect your runs. If you’re an avid runner and he’s just starting out, you’ll need to go slow, working up to longer distances over time. In other words, let your dog set the pace.
If you’re looking for a record-breaking sprint or training for a marathon, it may be best to leave your pooch at home. It’s best to think of running with your dog as more of a leisurely hobby than anything else.
Walk Before You Run
Control is crucial—if he’s pulling on the leash while you’re running, both you and your dog (plus other passersby) are at an increased risk of injury. Take some time to train your doggo to stay close to you while you’re out, using a short leash and teaching commands such as “heel.”
Bring the Right Gear
There are several leashes, collars, and harnesses to choose from when it comes to choosing the right running equipment for your dog. Do some research to choose the equipment that makes both you and your dog feel the most comfortable.
It’s worth reiterating that when you run with your dog, you’ll want a short leash to keep him nearby. You’ll also want to choose a harness that doesn’t restrict shoulder movement or cause any discomfort when running.
Make sure to bring a collapsible water bowl, plenty of poop bags, and treats and snacks, too!
Be Weather Wise
You may be able to push yourself through uncomfortable weather, but you shouldn’t expect your dog to do the same.
Dogs don’t sweat like we do to regulate their temperature—they pant. If your dog goes for a run when it’s too hot outside, he’s at an increased risk of heatstroke and breathing difficulties. Plus, hot pavement could be harmful to his paws.
Similarly, cold weather can also pose some risks. Watch for slippery ice or harmful chemicals on the ground, and remember: if it’s too cold for you, it’s too cold for your dog.
Know Your Dog’s Limits
Always monitor your dog for any signs of overheating, breathing difficulties, or joint issues. After a run, it’s also a good idea to check his paw pads for any post-run wear and tear, and take breaks from running on asphalt or pavement as needed. Schedule plenty of rest and recovery days, too.
Ultimately, running with your dog should be a positive experience. If he doesn’t enjoy it or seems reluctant to head out the door with you, don’t force it. Some dogs are better suited for “playtime running” in short, random bursts, rather than running in a straight line for an extended period of time. Besides, Fido can easily get his exercise fix with daily walks and plenty of fun games like fetch!
Help keep your running partner’s joints healthy with PetHonesty’s PureMobility Chews. These tasty chews are made from natural ingredients to enhance bone and joint health, help to ease joint stiffness, provide connective tissue support, and promote mobility.