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Running With Your Dog - How To Keep Your Best Friend Healthy And Happy

Posted on 2017-04-10

Dogs need exercise too. And, just like many of their owners, many dogs are overweight: over 50 percent of dogs are overweight or obese. So, taking your dog running with you can be a great way to kill two birds with one stone. Plus, it’s hard to skip an exercise session when the pooch is ready to go - leash in mouth - waiting at the door. Here are a few things to consider before diving in or before giving up too soon:

Check With Your Vet

Not all dogs are particularly well-suited for running or jogging. A dachshund may not be as good of a running companion as a greyhound, for example. Short legs aren’t the only barrier to entry, however. Small nostrils, joint pain, and old age are all factors to consider before working some pudge off your pooch. The best route is to visit a veterinarian for a consultation before committing your dog to a training regimen.

Hit The Trails

Dogs have paws. They don’t wear shoes. The asphalt can be tough and hot on their tender feet, and therefore, it is better to run with them on dirt trails. Although, they may look happy as can be on the asphalt, it could create long-term problems for them. On the trail, they will also enjoy the smells of nature. Before letting them off the leash, check for the trail policy and wildlife situation.

Train Them Well

A dog that still misbehaves while walking isn’t ready to upgrade to running. Be sure to teach them basic commands such as “sit” and “stay” for heavily trafficked intersections. Also a “leave it” command will be helpful for when they come across enticing items. Additionally, it will be important to use a 6-foot leash or shorter and to hold them right at the collar while training. Trails can become tight and so it is important to keep them nearby.

Pay Attention To Their Needs

Dogs have needs that may turn into problems on the trail if not properly cared for. Consider the outside air temperature and the temperature of the running surface; dogs overheat easily and their paws are sensitive to the ground. Don’t forget to hydrate; dogs can’t tell if they are thirsty so be overly cautious. Additionally, listen to your dog for any other signs of problems. If they stop, don’t force them to continue.

Have A Poo Plan

Last but not least, don’t forget about poop. It may be best to allow time for your dog to defecate before and after the run. Don’t forget to bring waste bags with you and know where you will dispose of it along the route. Don’t forget these tips and have fun with your pup. You might even consider getting them their own treadmill for the winter months!