The month of May marks the start of the National Physical Fitness and Sports Month and here at Zims we love getting outside and moving our bodies in nature. One great way to do this is to run with our dogs. It helps us to bond with our pets, getting exercise for both and our furry friends can help us stay motivated to get the most out of our run. However, there are some tips to keep in mind when running with your dog to ensure it is a pleasant experience for everyone.
First, as with any exercise routine make sure you to talk to your physician and veterinarian before beginning to run with your dog. This is important for our health but your veterinarian knows your dog and will help give you advice on what will be the best plan for both pup and owner!
Second, make sure that your dog is healthy and able to run. Not all breeds are meant for running. “Large-breed dogs, such as most protection dog breeds, may be more suitable to longer runs than smaller dog breeds with less endurance” (Dogtime.com). Also the age of your dog may come into play. Puppies’ bones are still developing up to 18 months and running can be tough on their bodies. For these younger dogs it may be best to walk rather than run.
Third, build up your dog gradually to a longer run. Start with a 10-15 minutes and then add on to it each time. Also, keep track of how your dog is doing and increase fitness levels when they are ready. Usually our pets will let us know when they aren’t enjoying an activity but we shouldn’t force it if they aren’t. You also want to make sure your dog is used to walking on a leash before you try to run because if they are fighting it running will be next to impossible.
Fourth, be aware of road conditions and other hazards for dogs. If there is glass or debris on the road or the gravel is especially hot your dog may feel it more than you do because they don’t have shoes to protect their paws! We don’t want any injuries so don’t just assume if you’re comfortable they are as well.
Fifth, don’t forget to keep your dog hydrated during the run. Pack a water bottle for you and your dog and keep a doggie bowl so that your dog will have enough water. Especially in humid weather it can be easy to forget to drink enough, so the break will benefit both dog and dog owner and make your runs more effective.
Both humans and dogs require physical fitness and exertion to be healthy and happy. Developing a running routine with your dog can be a positive fun activity for both dog and owner. You may even find your dog looks forward to the run and will miss it if there is a break in your routine.
If you run with your dog we would love to hear any tips you have gathered from your experience. Please share in the comments section.