In need of a workout partner that's always eager to spend time with you and has loads of energy? Then look no further than your furry friend on the end of the leash. Dogs can be great workout partners and motivators. The companionship they offer is second to none with an added running distraction bonus.
Dogs need exercise and benefit from it just like humans. Similar to humans, there is an obesity rate in dogs: an estimated 52% of dogs are overweight. Walking or running your dog offers a way for both of you to get in shape while reaping the countless other benefits of physical activity. While not all dogs are cut out for the running aspect, almost all dogs enjoy a nice walk. Many dogs can learn to be great on-leash exercise companions, it just might take a little training.
Your dog's health should always be considered before turning him into mile logging pup. Consider your dog's breed, health, age, and build. If your fearless canine is a chihuahua, bulldog, pug, or other short-nosed, flat-faced breed (also known as brachycephalic), they may not be able to get enough oxygen to keep up with the exertion of running.
Small dogs or dogs with short legs may not be able to keep up your pace and walking may be a better workout option. Larger breed dogs are also known to have hip issues and that should be a factor to consult your veterinarian about. A veterinarian should be consulted with for any questions regarding your dog's health or ability to run/walk for exercise.
When is it a good time to start my dog running?
As much as you want to tire out your puppy, running can be damaging to their growing bodies. If your puppy is not fully grown yet, running may cause too much pounding on their joints and bones that have not fully developed yet. As for other healthy and able-bodied dogs, any time is a good time. No such thing as an old dog who can't learn new tricks!
When training your dog or beginning to run, start out slow. They must condition themselves to be able to keep up and also to understand what you're asking of them. Begin by combining intervals of walking and jogging, so there's plenty of time for active recovery and catching your breath. Teaching your dog commands in the beginning stages may also help your workout go smoothly.
Allow time for your dog to consume water; they can't sweat like humans so their method of cooling down may take more time than yours. During and after your run, watch your dog for signs of heatstroke or overexertion, like lethargy, weakness, drooling and dark red gums, vomiting, bloody diarrhea, or panting to the point that he can't catch his breath. If your dog stops and refuses to continue, don't force him.
Make sure to warm you and your pooch up. Walking briefly before beginning will help prevent injury. Allow your dog some time to sniff around and do his business before you begin. Try to find running trails and areas that are pet friendly to do your workouts. Pavement can be too hot and hard for their paws. A rule of thumb is if the pavement is too hot for you to touch it's too hot for your pet’s paws. Another good idea is to make sure your canine is up-to-date on flea and tick prevention to ensure a safe and healthy run. In case of emergencies, give your pup some proper credentials such as a lost and found tag to ensure you're never lost from one another.
Nows a better time than any! Get out there and enjoy exercise with man and woman's best friend. Just remember to always consult a veterinarian if any issues or questions arise.
Tesa is new to blogging, but hopes to make a big impact with her vast knowledge of athletics and experience. Tesa recently earned her bachelor's degree at the Pennsylvania State University. While majoring in Athletic Training and minoring in psychology, she worked with various division one collegiate sports teams. Tesa is continuing her education by pursuing her Master's of Science in Kinesiology with a concentration in sports pedagogy at The Louisiana State University. Tesa is a board certified Athletic Trainer and a Performance Enhancement Specialist. Outside of the training room, Tesa enjoys going on runs and working out for leisure.
Main Photo Credit: Blazej Lyjak/shutterstock.com; Second Photo Credit: Halfpoint/shutterstock.com; Third Photo Credit: AMatveev/shutterstock.com