Dogs make the best running partners! They are always in the mood for a run, never oversleep, are never grumpy and as a bonus…they are great protection. Before you take your dog running with you, make sure that he or she is properly prepared. Just like you would ensure that you have a good pair of running shoes, your dog needs to be equipped for the road.
- Your dog needs to be a minimum of 1 year old to start running. NEVER run with a puppy. In fact you pup should not run free on the beach or go hiking until he is at least a year old
- Is your dog overweight? Ask your vet to recommend a suitable diet to tie in with your exercise programme and increase your dog’s exercise very slowly.
- Have a dog checked for possible joint problems like hip displasia. Some breeds are not designed for running and could face injury if over-exercised. e.g. St Bernards, Boerboels, Pugs and Bulldogs.
- Always run your dog on the lead. Even if your dog is obedient, he might be tempted to chase a squirrel or a cat.
- If pulling is a problem, take your dog to obedience training classes or fit him with a dog halter/head collar or a purpose made “no-pull” harness. (Not to be confused with a regular harness which actually encourage pulling.)
- Never run in the heat of the day. Early morning or evening is best. Your dog could overheat or damage his pads on hot tarmac.
- Feed your dog for the job. Like any athlete your dogs needs the correct nutrition. A diet of table scraps is not adequate; invest in a good complete diet.
- Always warm him up and cool him down with a walk before and after running.
- Never run your dog on a full stomach. Offer water after the run and feed only after he has cooled down.
- Increase the length of the runs gradually as you see your dog’s fitness increase. Don’t start with 5km
Dogs are the best alarm clock. Once you have got into a regular routine of running with your dog in the morning, he’ll make sure you never miss a day! Go on……Start your running programme today.