It’s common knowledge among pet owners that dogs need consistent exercise in order to stay fit and healthy, even as they grow older. Of course, one simple way of providing this is letting them romp around your back yard, while another would be to take them to the nearest dog park so they can play fetch or interact with other dogs. But if you’re also into keeping healthy and getting some exercise yourself, you might consider taking your dog on a run with you. However, you need to be prepared for this sort of activity in order to keep your dog under control and avoid injuring either yourself or your pup. Here are a handful of considerations to keep in mind should you plan to take your pup out on a run!
First, make sure your dog is able to keep up with your running. Smaller dogs or those with shorter legs might not be able to match your pace, meaning you either have to slow down considerably or they may strain themselves trying to keep up. Other dogs, like bulldogs and pugs, can have breathing problems, and may not be able to run too hard without struggling to breathe.
Check with your vet to make sure your dog is old enough to go running. Puppies with bones and joints that aren’t fully developed might injure themselves, especially if running on pavement and other hard surfaces. When you do begin running, start with short and slower runs, working up to longer courses as your dog adjusts to the new activity. It’s also good to start each run with a warm-up, walking a bit at first to not only get them ready for a faster pace, but to let them take a potential bathroom break before you get going so your run isn’t as likely to be interrupted.
Make sure your dog is under control at all times. Pick a leash that can have its length altered, and make sure you’re strong enough to keep your pup by your side without straining yourself (such as if they bolt for a nearby squirrel). There are also leashes designed to strap around the waist, leaving your hands free and giving you more stable balance and gait.
Lastly, if you can find a trail that allows for dogs to be off-leash, this is a great opportunity to enjoy some trail running–again, so long as you are able to keep your dog obedient with voice commands. Oh, and don’t forget tick protection, especially if you’re going running on trails or parks during tick season.
Do you run with your dog at all? What adjustments have you made to ensure both you and your pup have a fantastic time on the route?
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