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8 tips to start running with your dog

getting-started-running-with-dogs

Are you looking for a new running buddy? You may not have to look far. Your ideal running mate may be your best friend. Your best furry friend, that is.

Dogs are great running partners (especially ones that are mixed with certain breeds). They’re always eager to head out the door and don’t complain — which is more than we can say for most human runners! But before you hit the ground running, you’ll have to take some precautions to keep your pup safe and comfortable. Follow these tips:

  1. See the vet. Dogs can have nagging health issues without showing symptoms, so it’s a good idea for Fido to get a checkup first. Ask your vet if it’s OK for your dog to run – running may not be safe for smaller breeds and dogs with pushed in noses. It’s also not safe for puppies or some senior dogs to take up running – wait until your dog is at least one.
  2. Choose a safe running surface. Remember your dog is always running barefoot. Stay off hot pavement, ice, and surfaces covered with debris. Check your dog’s paws for injury and clean out dirt between his paws after each run.
  3. Teach your dog how to run with you. At first, your dog may not understand that you want him to run with you – he may think it’s playtime! Start off by doing short runs and reward your dog when he runs by your side and behaves well when you pass others. In time, he’ll get the hang of running and grow to love it.  
  4. Ease into it. No matter how eager your pup is, it’s not a good idea to start his running career off with a 5 mile tempo run. It will take time for him to build up speed and distance, so start slow and keep it short.
  5. Carry water. Your dog needs to drink on runs to prevent dehydration. If you don’t offer water, he or she will drink out of puddles and streams. Try not to allow this because your dog could get sick. (You can also get your dog a backpack so he/she can carry their own water and treats.)
  6. Mind your dog’s signals. Just because your pup can’t talk doesn’t mean he won’t tell you when he’s tired. Signs of fatigue include heavy panting, foaming at the mouth, flattened ears, tail down, and glazed eyes. If your dog slows down mid-run — or even lays down – it’s time to call it a day. If he’s really worn out after a run, he may need a day or two off. Dogs need easy days and time off just like we do.
  7. Follow leash laws. In many areas, it’s the law to keep your dog on a leash. It doesn’t matter if your dog is friendly and stays by your side — the law is the law so follow it. Even if you’re in an area that allows dogs off-leash, consider using a leash anyway for your dog’s safety. Your pup could get lost or injured if he chases after another animal, for instance.
  8. Scoop the poop. It happens. Carry plastic bags and dispose of your pet’s waste in the trash.

We know lots of you guys run with your furry friends! What advice do you have?

Written by Jen Matz

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