Running with your dog
Running together can be a great way to build a stronger bond with your pet, but it’s not suitable for all dogs. Here are our tips for deciding whether it’s safe for you and your dog to run or jog together.
Check with your vet
Before you get going, let your vet know about your intentions. They’ll be able to confirm that it’s fine to go ahead with your plans based on your dog’s general health. This can be particularly important for older dogs and breeds that could experience issues while running. Your vet can also advise on the type of runs that are best suited to your dog’s breed.
Does your dog’s age matter?
Puppies can cope with short bursts of activity but shouldn’t attempt longer runs while their bones are still developing. Older dogs can still exercise, but this will often be at a more sedate pace.
Which dog breeds are best suited as running buddies?
Not all dogs are well suited to a gruelling run so it may be this that determines whether your dog can go running with you. Some breeds are better suited to shorter runs while others are ideal companions on longer outings. Terriers, retrievers and ‘working dogs’ in general are perfect partners for long runs, for example.
Some breeds can have issues with certain types of runs, for example:
- Bulldogs and pugs can easily overheat, which makes them ill-suited to longer runs.
- Border Collies are prone to hip dysplasia and this can become more likely with running.
- Dogs with short muzzles and short legs can find longer runs challenging and are better suited to shorter, less strenuous jogs.
- Small dogs can struggle with running and it’s often recommended that you stick to walking with pets of this size.
Whatever age your dog is, he or she should have successfully learnt how to walk and stay calm on a leash before you start running with them.
Build up your dog’s fitness and stamina gradually, even for energetic and boisterous breeds. Your dog’s paw pads are sensitive and will not cope well with the amount of distance being covered compared to normal everyday activities. Start off with shorter runs to let your dog get used to it and build up from there.
Unlike humans, dogs don’t sweat to release heat. This can make it more challenging to know whether the pace and length of your workout is proving too strenuous for your dog. Look for signs such as heavy panting, slowing down and limping. Keep your dog hydrated during a run, as well as before and afterwards.
Pawing the line
Please note that some events may not currently be running, so do check with the organisers before attending.
If you both feel ready to take part in organised events, there’s a number of doggy running communities and events that can help you develop your love for running together.
Canicross organise trail running events which you can take part in with your furry friend. Your poochie pal stays connected to you with a bungee harness. Canicross claim that their events provide a physical workout for your dog and the use of directional commands will help them to learn to use their brain and build up his confidence.
parkrun is a free, timed 5k event taking place throughout the UK every Saturday morning, usually at 9am (9.30am in Scotland and Northern Ireland). Human participants are encouraged to register and bring their personal barcode every week when taking part. Dogs are welcome as long as they are kept on a short lead. parkrun is a fully inclusive event and can be a great way for you both to meet new two and four-legged friends!
Dog Jog is an easy way for you and your canine companion to meet other like-minded runners. The 5k event takes place throughout the UK during April to October. Dog Jog offers a relaxed, fun atmosphere with no times and no pressure.
For peace of mind, it’s always worthwhile having a dog insurance policy in place just in case.
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