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5 Tips for Running with your Dog

posted by
Cain Leathers

5 Tips for Running with your Dog as Seen in Cain's Weekly Rundown on 2/6/2023

Cain Leathers
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Cain Leathers

Running isn’t just great exercise for the human body, it’s great exercise for dogs too! Running with your dog can improve your running experience and be tons of fun! Who doesn’t love running with their best friend? You may find yourself more motivated to lace up your shoes and get outside, you may run quicker at some points and practice speed work a little easier, and the best part, your dog won’t judge you if you need a break one day and slow down a bit.

Here are some tips for taking your furry friend on a run with you:

Check with your Vet

Unfortunately, there are some dogs that are not optimal running companions, and it’s important to consider your dog’s health before having them join you on a run. For example, running can negatively impact the health of puppies and elderly dogs because of their stage in life. Additionally, certain breeds naturally do better with running than others. It’s always safe to check with your vet first before switching up your dog’s activity level and confirm that the breed and your dog’s health can handle the added fitness.

Ease your dog into running

After you’ve confirmed with your vet that your dog if fit to join you on your running adventures, ease them into it. Think back to when you first started running, and how it must’ve taken you time to build up your stamina. Start by going on a longer walk with your dog, then by mixing in some small spurts of jogging into your walks here and there. Eventually take them for a light jog around a few blocks, then you can gradually work up to a consistent run with them over time.

Choose dog-friendly routes

Running on terrain, like dirt, sand, or grass (in wooded trails, a park or on the beach) is much easier on your dog’s paws than running on asphalt. This can also reduce the likelihood of injury for both you and your pet. If you live in a city, running in the streets or on the sidewalk can be hard to avoid. Be sure to check that where you plan to run is dog-friendly and not heavy on vehicle traffic before heading out.

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Keep an eye on your dog, and keep them near you

One of the key components to a dog being a good running companion is being able to walk well on a leash. Having trouble with your dog not wanting to run by your side? Do you keep getting tangled up in the leash? There is an easy solution to this, and to avoiding injuries that may arise because of these issues. Bring some treats along with you in a Ziploc bag and store them in your running belt or in a pocket. Whenever your dog strays call them back and give them a treat, telling them to stay. Training treats are the best for this. They’re bite-sized, and don’t easily upset a dog’s stomach if quite a few are eaten during activity.

It's also important to keep an eye on your dog whenever you run with them. Not just regarding their position in relation to your body (in front of you, next to you, etc.). Check your dog beforehand. If they seem tired and don’t want to go for a run, don't force them.  Do they seem sluggish or tired after just a few minutes? Offer them water. Making sure your best friend is comfortable and ready to go is going to set you both up for success, and ensure you have the best time together.

Check the weather, plan hydration

Exercise dehydrates dogs just as it does for humans. In any type of weather, remember that it’s possible for your dog to get dehydrated. Try to bring water with you on each run, no matter the length, and a vessel of some sort to pour the water in. If it’s hot or humid outside, this can dramatically affect dog’s health and can cause heatstroke or heat exhaustion. High temperatures can also make the asphalt too hot for your dog’s paws. In contrast, when it’s icy or snowy outside, frostbite is something to be weary of with your dog’s paws. They are also more susceptible to slipping on the wet surface and getting injured.

Find the right gear for your dog

Some dogs run best with a collar; others run better with a harness. Both options offer pros and cons, but the best thing to do is experiment with what works best for your dog. There is no universal right answer. You’ll be amazed by some of the other gadgets out there for running with your pup. From leashes that wrap around your waist and reduce the pull between you and your dog, to collapsible on-the-go water bowls, reflective dog vests, and so much more.

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5 Tips for Running with your Dog as Seen in Cain's Weekly Rundown on 2/6/2023