A blog by runners. For runners.

Summer running with dogs

Summer is a great time to enjoy runs with your favorite four-legged friend. I’ve been taking my pup, Eli, out with me on many of my runs so he too can relish the sun on his face, roll around in the grass, and get his blood pumping. However, the warmer weather isn’t always a welcome feeling for my dog and his black fur coat. Today I’ll share some of the tips to make summer running with your dog more enjoyable for everyone.

  1. Be mindful of the time of day. Likely, you’re already more conscious of this during the summer anyway, but keep your dog in mind as well. We humans might be able to tough out a noon run but our dogs can have a harder time with it. Running at off hours can make it easier for your pet to run in the heat.
  2. Cool your dog off with water before, during, or right after your run. We happen to run next to two ponds that allow dog swimming so I often let Eli jump in during our runs to cool off. If you don’t run near water, use your garden hose to wet them down.

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  1. Get a hands-free leash. I find running with a leash in my hand annoying most times of the year but especially in the summer. Who wants a sweaty hand, yuck. Lately I’ve been running with a hands-free leash and love it. The leash fits around your waist and adjusts to whatever tightness you desire. Mine also has a handy spot for my keys. I wasn’t able to find adjustable leashes at chain pet stores but many boutique dog shops carry them and you can also find them online.
  2. Be careful of the ground. Even on days that aren’t sweltering, the ground can still be HOT! My dog has very sensitive paw pads, which we learned the hard way. In direct sunlight, asphalt, cement, and even sand can burn your pup’s feet. If you’re going to be out for an extended period of time or going over rough terrain like on trail runs, consider doggie booties. They look silly and it took a while for Eli to get the hang of them but they really work.

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  1. Pay attention to your dog’s body language. We’re often so focused on our own run that we disregard our dog’s. Notice how your dog is holding up throughout the run, is he dragging behind, panting more than usual? When you stop for water, make sure your dog has some as well. Take rests in the shade or short walking breaks as needed. After a run I give Eli cold water with ice cubes to help cool him down. It is also recommended that dogs avoid eating 30-45 minutes after physical activity, especially deep chested dogs, to avoid bloat.

Taking a few extra steps will help make running in the heat fun for all. Enjoy your summer runs with less worry for man (and woman’s) best friend.

Photos and article by Lisa Horvath.

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