Running with Your Dog | Keep Exercise Safe and Fun

Dogs can make great running buddies, and there are several benefits to logging your miles together. It’s a great way to bond with your canine companion, and they will enjoy getting some exercise outside. Running can also ward off obesity and heart disease in your pet as well as help boost their confidence, which is vital to their mental health. But before you grab your pup’s leash and head out the door, you should think through the health and safety issues that could arise.

It is important to note that not every dog is a suitable running buddy. In fact, running can be dangerous for some breeds. This is especially true for brachycephalic breeds, or flat-faced breeds, such as Pugs, Boxers, Shih-Tzus, and Bulldogs. Their short snouts can cause breathing difficulties and make them more likely to overheat. No matter the breed, your pet’s individual health should be considered before you start running together, so it is best to talk with your veterinarian.

Start Slow
When it comes to mileage, start slow. Just like humans, dogs need to gradually work up to running longer distances. You can begin by introducing short intervals of running during your usual walks. It is also a good idea to train your pet to run on one side of you. That will prevent them from darting back and forth, which could trip you up and cause injury to one or both of you.

Consider the Conditions
Humans have running shoes and clothing to keep them comfortable in a variety of conditions, but dogs do not. Running in heat could not only cause your pet to overheat, but they could burn their paws on hot pavement or sand. Additionally, long distances on hard surfaces could be tough on their paws no matter the weather.

Get the Right Gear
Make sure you have an appropriate harness and leash for your pup. Using a harness instead of a collar will prevent your pet’s neck from being yanked if they get excited and try to run ahead. While you can use a regular leash while running, there are also short leashes that connect to a belt that you wear.

Put Your Pup First
While your fitness goals are important, you must always put your pup first if you are running together. If your dog needs to stop to rest or is unable to keep up with you either in distance or pace, do not force them to keep going. You can always run a short distance with your dog, then drop them off at your house before finishing your scheduled miles for the day. It is also important to make sure they are hydrated, especially in the summer months.

Running with your dog is a great way to further build your connection, but not every pup winds up being a great running buddy. It is important to remember that all pets need exercise, so be sure to find the appropriate activity level for your dog so that they are happy and healthy.