A dog can be a perfect running partner, and taking them on your regular runs is a nice way to get a great workout for both of you. Before you start running with your dog, make sure you know the basics of keeping your dog safe and healthy while running.
Here are our dos and don’ts of running with your dog.
- Make sure your dog is healthy. If your dog is having health issues, for example, joint or muscle pains, it’s not the best idea to take them on your runs. If in doubt always consult your vet first.
- Make sure your dog’s breed can handle running. Short-nosed dog breeds, such as Pugs or Frenchies typically experience breathing difficulties (Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome). These dogs should never go running long distances (if at all).
- Build up slowly. Running a half a marathon on your first go is not a good idea. Start off running short distances, and build up slowly, always watching your dog’s body language to check on how they’re doing. It is generally recommended for puppies not to start running until they are between 8-18 months old, depending on when their body growth is finishing. Again, consult your vet if in doubt.
- Invest in the right gear. Make sure both you and your dog are comfortable. You will want to check whether a collar or harness is best for your dog.
- Pay attention to food and water. Keep your dog hydrated: both before and after the run. You may want to take along a water bottle with a dispenser during the run as well. Don’t go on a run within half an hour of feeding your dog, so they have time to digest their meal.
- Push your dog past their limits. During the run, keep an eye on what their body language is telling you. Signs that your dog is tired are: they drop back behind you, heavy panting and changing their gate from a run to a trot. If your dog is tired during the run, always stop.
- Run when it’s too hot. Going for a run with your dog during the middle of the day, particularly summer can be dangerous. It can heat up a lot here in Australia, and if you’re feeling hot, image how your dog must feel underneath all that fur!
- Let your dog stray far from your side. If your dog runs far or wide away from you, they could be a tripping hazard to other people on the path. It’s a bad habit to develop, especially if you run with your dog near roads.
- Keep going if your dog poops. Even if you’re running (and you don’t want to stop), you still need to pick up their poop!