You may already be an avid runner, or perhaps you want to start an exercise routine that you can get your dog involved in. Whatever your circumstances may be, running with your dog is a great way for both of you to get your daily exercise. With that said, as a responsible owner it’s really important you take plenty of precautions and understand the physical needs of your dog before you go running together.
Check your dog’s health first
The first step we’d recommend is getting your dog checked by a veterinarian to make sure it’s fit enough to start a running routine. This will give you peace of mind and ensure that your dog has no barriers that could prevent it from running with you, such as injuries or underlying health conditions.
Every dog will have different levels of fitness, health and overall wellbeing. For example, a dog that’s severely overweight will struggle to run full stop – you should never make drastic changes to your dogs exercise routine without the ok from a veternarian.
Take the necessary precautions beforehand
Make sure that you have the required equipment (such as backpacks, leashes, and harnesses) and plan for every obstacle you can to ensure that you and your dog have the safest run possible. You need to make sure that you have enough supplies for you and your dog, including water for both of you. Be cautious of any potential dangers on your route such as roads or railroads. We recommend reading this guide from PetMD dedicated to staying safe with your dog while on runs.
Ease into running before starting your program
Just like humans, dog’s need easing into a running routine. The phrase “walk before you run” comes to mind, and more often than not this is a good starting point to assess the general fitness level of your dog. Once you and your dog feel eased into exercising together, the next step is finding a running program.
If you’re looking for inspiration we’d recommend checking out programs from Dr. Lauren Talarico (linked below). As an avid runner herself she decided to combine her love of running and dogs to form Washington DC’s first running group for dogs. Cool idea huh?
How far can dogs run?
Always get your dog’s capability for running checked by a veterinarian beforehand. Dogs can run anywhere between one to eight miles (based on board-certified veterinary neurosurgeon Dr. Lauren Talaricos training programs), the distance you are recommended to run with your dog depends on its breed, and the level of activity you’re both capable of.
Can my dog get too much exercise?
The simple answer is yes, giving your dog too much exercise can be detrimental and cause it serious injury.
Worried about over exercising your dog? Have a chat with your veterinarian who will give advice on your specific circumstances.
That said there are common signs that your dog is getting too much exercise such as wear on their paws, obvious discomfort and behavior changes.
Running is an excellent way for you and your dog to spend quality time together and improve your fitness levels. That said, it’s vital you take all the necessary precautions and get your dogs health checked with a veterinarian. Ease your way into running and when the time comes, look for a program from an expert in the field. Hopefully, this article has given you all the information you need to get going with your new training partner.