Safety Tips for Running with Your Dog
There is just something so peaceful about getting out on a mountain trail with my best friend, that makes my day so much better! The dog is always ready for an adventure in the woods. My Lilo would go three times a day if I’d let her. I couldn’t imagine those long trail training runs without my faithful running buddy by my side. Here are some tips for making sure you don’t over do it with your dog.
- Before exercising with your dog, make sure he is physically fit enough to handle it.
Dogs should be evaluated by a veterinarian before beginning a workout program. Also consider your dogs age. Long distance isn’t good for developing dogs, and dogs that are too old may need to take it easy as well.
- Ease your dog into running.
Start your dog slowly, just like you would if it was you starting out. If you gradually increase the miles, your dogs pads will toughen up and it will make him less susceptible to injury. Check your dogs pads often. Make sure there isn’t any raw spots or bleeding. If this occurs give him a few days off running.
- Stick to the trails when you can.
Whenever possible run on the trails. The softer surface will be easier on your dogs joints.
- Off leash running.
My dog is always on leash except when we are out on the mountain trails exploring.( so much more enjoyable!) As long as your dog has excellent recall and for the most part will stay close to you, I encourage the off leash time. I do not recommend this for puppies. I have had to help people find their puppy that got lost in the woods. That’s a scary feeling! It was only after I went through training class and had fully bonded with Lilo that I trusted she would stay by my side. About a year old in most cases.
- Watch for overheating
Be familiar with the signs of fatigue or heat illness which include slowing down, panting, foaming at the
mouth, inability to stand, weakness, uncontrolled movement, glazed eyes. If you notice any of these
things cool your dog immediately by wetting him down with cold water and getting him into the shade or
an air-conditioned area. If your dog starts to vomit or doesn’t improve within 10 minutes or so, seek
veterinary help as soon as possible.
- Stay hydrated
I always carry a water bottle in the car with me for my dog when exercising long periods of time.
- Consider your dogs breed
Some breeds are better equipped for harder exercise than others, greyhounds for example, do better with shorter sprints while pit bulls have a higher endurance and can tolerate longer distances.
Exercising your dog is a great way to strengthen your bond. Follow the tips above to make sure that you both are safe!!