Top tips for running with your dog

by Nancy Boland

Here are some Top tips for running with your dog:

Get a check-up first

Any increase in physical activity can create stresses on canine bodies, just like our own. Before you start a new physical exercise routine like running, get a check-up with your doctor and take your dog to the vet for a once over. Some dogs, like pugs, may have respiratory, overheating or joint-related issues that need to be taken into consideration before you attempt to run with them. Most dogs are great sprinters but some just don’t have the stamina for long distance.

Know your dog

Knowing the specifics of your dog’s breed and recognising their limitations will help to insure a safer and more rewarding run for both of you. Very young, overweight or geriatric dogs may need regular breaks or shorter runs altogether. Other dogs may lack social skills and may quite literally need to ‘walk before they run’, benefiting from learning socialisation and the rules of the road.

Keep your dog on a lead

It can be tempting to let your dog off the lead when you think there aren’t impending risks. But anything can happen at any time and often when you least expect it. The presence of wildlife, unexpected vehicles or other dogs can create situations that may lead to injury or worse. Your dog may not always react predictably, especially in different places, so always air on the side of caution when it comes to new situations. When leased, you have control of your dog and can help guide and protect them from harm. Remember you are still a responsible dog owner even in the midst of a run.

Create a routine

Shorter, more frequent runs will benefit your dog more than long marathons.. Once you’ve both built up some stamina by increasing the length of your runs over a number of weeks, you can take more of those longer, weekend runs. Just keep it consistent!

Keep hydrated

Remember to carry extra water for your dog and offer it to them often to keep them well hydrated. On warmer days, they will need more water just the same as you. Try not to let your dog lick from puddles too frequently as they can contain chemical hazards like anti-freeze which is poisonous to dogs.

Mind your dog’s paws

Unlike you, your dog won’t have the latest running shoes so be mindful of potential hazards like broken glass, stones, and sharp shells if you run on the beach that may hurt their delicate pads. Pay attention to what your dog is encountering during the run and always clean/wash off their paws afterwards if you detect any cause for concern.

dog running 2

Stay safe

You never know what you’ll encounter during your run, so be prepared. Always try to run in familiar areas, so you know where to go for help if needed, and also take your mobile with you in case.

Unfamiliar wildlife may be roaming such as snakes if you choose to run in a woodland area, or just off-lead dogs that may pose a threat. Keeping a few treats on your person can help in these instances, even if it just bides you enough time to get away from any potential danger from another dog.

Clean up

Most public places require you to clean up after your dog by law, which means carrying a bag around at all times, and running with your dog is no exclusion. You can also enlist the help of a pooper scoop, though no amount of fancy equipment will change the fact that the deed has to be accounted for!

Play by the rules

Parks, beaches, streets and even running tracks all have rules. They may limit hours, require dogs to be kept on leads or not allow them at all. Wherever you run, unless it’s property that belongs to you, will have rules to follow. This is for your own benefit of course, and for everyone else’s, including your dog.

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