Running with your dog is a wonderful pastime that makes you feel good and it strengthens the bond you have with your four-legged friend. Fitness and fun… but not without some warnings! In order to have fun together and not worry, you have to take some precautions so that you are not endangering the health of your dog.
So you finally got that wonderful fitness inspiration and you want to go jogging with your dog? You love to run and don’t want to leave the dog at home? It’s true, running is a great sport, but doing it with your dog is even better! Whether it’s for the company or just to stay in shape, being with Fido is always a pleasure. So let’s take a look at the things you need to know so that all this activity will be beneficial to him too.
First of all, just because he’s a dog doesn’t mean he’s immune to the problems that can arise from running. Obviously, we all think running is a natural for dogs, but that’s not really true for all of them. Purebreds in particular, who are more delicate than mutts, may suffer complications. Toy dogs and some of the small breeds like Chihuahuas, Pinchers and Yorkshires are certainly not the running type. A jogging session would be far too strenuous for them. Bulldogs and Pugs, or any dog with that type of snout, have a hard time breathing and it’s best leave them be. But hunting dogs, Collies, Retrievers (above all Golden and Labradors), Weimaraners, German Shepherds and Boxers are ideal running companions as they have plenty of energy, are athletic and are physically strong.
You also have to be very careful when it comes to puppies and older dogs. Just like us at that age, they too are more fragile. Puppies should not undergo workouts that may stress their muscles and growing bones. Excess exercise might actually damage them. The same is true for older dogs, so follow their lead and don’t force them to follow yours! That said, everyone benefits from a nice walk and you can always choose this healthy but less intense pastime for your old or young, big or small dog without going overboard. If your dog has problems with his joints, suffers from arthritis, for example, don’t make him do anything that might cause him pain, and in any case don’t forget that before doing any new activity with him, a visit to the vet for a general check-up is always a good idea.
What is the best season and where should we go running? Dogs suffer from the heat just like we do, so in summer it’s best to go out for the excursion when the temperatures are more bearable, and always bring plenty of water with you! Cold is less of a concern for your four-legged friend, so he’ll be a great companion on runs in the other seasons, unless it’s really freezing out there. For those of you who aren’t discouraged from your outdoor activity by bad weather, you can get your dog a waterproof cape, like the ones of Ferplast’s Sailor or Sporting lines. It will keep the worse of the rain off him. And don’t forget that the pads of their paws are far less ‘technical’ and protective than our running shoes, so the ideal terrain for running with them would be the woods, open fields or the soft shoulders of the roads.
Now that we have given you a general idea of who to take running, when to do so and where, we can take a closer look at the ‘how’ and ‘with what’ aspects. In one of the following articles we’ll look at these two topics and so, if they interest you, stay tuned!