Pet Care for Your Canine Running Buddy
If you are a runner, you may enjoy taking your dog with you when you go out running. But take care to evaluate whether running is the sport for your particular dog. Even dogs that love to run and chase things may not enjoy running long distances.
Having a canine running partner can have several benefits for both you and your dog. It is good exercise for both of you and having a dog to run with can be a great motivator. But just as a human can experience a running injury, so can your dog. Striking concrete, asphalt, or gravel can be tough on a dog’s feet. A dog with a thick coat can easily get overheated in warm weather, and a smaller, short-haired dog might get cold during the winter.
Short-nosed dogs like pugs, boxers, bulldogs, or mastiffs may have difficulty running. Their particular anatomy can make it harder to breathe when exercising. If you have such a dog, consider having him or her evaluated by your vet before embarking on a more rigorous running program.
To get the most out of running with your pet, and to make the experience safe for both you and your dog, remember these simple tips:
Make sure your dog has good leash manners and can run safely while on a leash. Going for short jogs first is the best way to evaluate this.
Start with short distances and then gradually work toward longer distances. If your dog is obese, you should start with a walking program rather than jogging.
Map out your route ahead of time and take a test run without your dog. Look for uneven or unsafe surfaces and avoid those if you can. Also look for a place to take a break if you or your dog might need to cool off.
If running in warm weather, choose cooler times of day. Take frequent breaks and bring plenty of water.
After running in cold weather, check your dog’s feet for any road salt that may be on his or her paws. Rinse his or her feet well. If the weather is extreme, it is best to leave your pet at home.
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