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A Guide To Safely Running With Your Dog This Summer

A Guide To Safely Running With Your Dog This Summer

Running with your dog can be a fun and healthy activity that benefits both you and your furry friend. It's a great way to bond, stay active, and provide mental stimulation for your dog. However, it's important to ensure the safety and well-being of both you and your pet while running together. Here's a guide to running safely with your dog:

Consult your vet

Before starting any exercise routine with your dog, it's essential to consult your veterinarian. They will assess your dog's health and make sure they are fit for running. Certain breeds or individual dogs may have specific exercise needs or limitations that you should be aware of. Schedule regular vet check-ups to monitor your dog's overall health and address any concerns or injuries. Early detection and treatment of any health issues can prevent them from escalating.

Start slow

Just like humans, dogs need time to build up their endurance. Start with shorter distances and gradually increase the duration and intensity of your runs. This allows your dog's muscles, joints, and cardiovascular system to adapt and prevent injuries. Also short-nosed breeds such as Bulldogs, pugs, Pekingese, and Boston terriers are some breeds that are not good candidates for running because they have breathing difficulties. Difficulty breathing and trouble cooling down can put them at a high risk for heat stroke, which may be life-threatening, or lead to injuries.

Woman Running with her Dog on Muddy Dirt Road Woman Running with her Dog on Muddy Dirt Road During Sunrise dog run stock pictures, royalty-free photos & images

Leash and collar

Always use a sturdy leash and collar/harness combination when running with your dog. A leash will give you control and prevent your dog from darting off unexpectedly. Opt for a hands-free leash that attaches around your waist to keep your hands free for balance and prevent strain. Make sure your dog has a properly fitting collar or harness that doesn't cause discomfort or restrict movement. Reflective gear or a high-visibility vest for your dog can enhance visibility, especially during low-light conditions.

Warm-up and cool-down

Just like humans, dogs benefit from warm-up and cool-down exercises. Start your runs with a few minutes of walking to warm up your dog's muscles. After the run, gradually decrease the pace and finish with a short walk to cool down.

Bring water for both you and your dog, especially on longer runs or hot days. Offer your dog water breaks at regular intervals to prevent dehydration. Consider carrying a collapsible bowl or using a portable water dispenser designed for dogs.

Watch for signs of fatigue or distress: Pay attention to your dog's body language during the run. Look for signs of fatigue, such as heavy panting, lagging behind, or excessive slowing down. If your dog seems tired or distressed, take a break or end the run to prevent overexertion.

Jogging with my best friend Young man jogging with his dog dog run stock pictures, royalty-free photos & images

Weather conditions & terrain

Be mindful of the weather conditions when running with your dog. Avoid running during the hottest parts of the day, especially in summer, to prevent heat exhaustion. In colder weather, protect your dog from extreme temperatures by using dog booties or a coat if necessary. 

Choose safe running routes that are suitable for your dog's paws and joints. Avoid running on hot pavement, as it can burn your dog's paws, or rough terrains that may cause injuries. Opt for grassy or dirt trails whenever possible.

Be a responsible runner

Always clean up after your dog. Carry waste bags with you and dispose of them properly. Respect other runners, pedestrians, and dogs on your running route by keeping a safe distance and controlling your dog's behavior. Ensure that your dog has basic training and responds to commands, such as "stop," "sit," or "heel." This will help you maintain control and prevent any potential accidents during the run. 

Remember, every dog is unique, and it's essential to tailor your running routine to your dog's specific needs and abilities. Just as not all humans enjoy jogging, never mind training for a 10k, not all dogs are built for running. Keep an eye on their behavior, be responsive to their signals, and enjoy the experience of running together as a team.

Lady in yellow jacket jogging with her dog through the forest
Lady in yellow jacket jogging with her dog through the forest

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February 20, 2024
5 minutes
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