Running with your dog is great pet exercise and promotes pet healthIf you’re a runner, and you have a dog, combining the two may seem like a no-brainer. You and your dog both get the benefits of a good workout, and the time spent together can strengthen your relationship. Because running with your dog carries certain risks, and not all dogs are good candidates for that type of exercise, it’s important to make sure you cover your bases as far as safety precautions, and The Pet Experts at Springbrook Animal Care Center are here to help!

But First, Come See Us

Just like humans, pets should have a wellness exam prior to beginning any new exercise program. Your veterinarian will make sure your pet is healthy enough for strenuous exercise and up-to-date on their vaccines and parasite protection.

Get the Gear

The right collar and leash is essential to a safe and smooth running experience. Stay away from retractable leashes, which allow your dog to pull too much and may pose a risk of tripping or entanglement. Stick with a standard collar or harness (no Martingales, choke, or prong collars), and consider a specialized running harness to avoid chafing if you plan on doing a lot of running with your dog.

Start Out Slow

Just like you wouldn’t go from couch potato to running a half-marathon in one day, your pet should not begin a running regimen with a long and tiring run. Starting off with too much, too soon puts your dog at risk of injury, and may turn them off to running altogether. Start off with short distances at a slower pace, and work your way up until you and your dog are running at a level that is comfortable for you both.

And, of Course, Safety First Before Running with Your Dog

You probably knew we weren’t going to skip over discussing your pet’s safety, which is one of our top priorities here at Springbrook. Keep the following tips in mind:

  • Brachycephalic (short-nosed) breeds, such as pugs and bulldogs, can have difficulty getting enough air, especially in warmer weather. These breeds are probably better suited for a walk rather than a run.
  • Puppies should not run until they are at least 1 year old (older for some breeds) to avoid injury to still-developing bones and joints.
  • Watch your pet for signs of heat stroke or dehydration, such as excessive panting, drooling, pale gums, or collapse. Whenever possible, exercise your dog in the early morning or evening hours, when temperatures are cooler.
  • Your dog’s paw pads may look tough, but they are a lot more delicate than they seem. Avoid pavement and asphalt during the warmest days, as they can heat up enough to burn paw pads, and be on the lookout for grass, sticks, and other debris that may injure your pet.

Be sure to check out our community involvement page to see if we are hosting a dog run or walk in your area. Don’t hesitate to contact us  at Springbrook Animal Care Center If you have any further questions about running with your dog, or need to make an appointment, we would love to see you.