5 Tips for Running with Dogs
posted on 4/26/14
Now that there's finally some consistently nice, warm days, a lot more people are taking their dogs with them on their runs. Here's some things to keep in mind to keep your companions happy and healthy.
Hydrate. Just like we need to make sure we are properly hyrdated and fueled, don't forget your dog needs water too. Especially if it's unusually warm out, as a rule of thumb, when you need water, most likely so does your dog. Just as you wouldn't eat a full meal just before a run, your dog shouldn't be stuffed just before activity. If you're out for a long afternoon, bring a little extra kibble.
Keep cool. Humans are far better equipped for extended activity in warm weather than any other animal. So you may want to reconsider taking your dog out for a long run on a hot day. Dogs cool off by panting instead of sweating. If their tongues hang completely out with their mouth open wide and the commissures are pulled back, it's time to slow down or stop for rest and water. If the dog's breathing doesn't go back to normal within a few minutes, it's time to end the run.
Take a break. Dogs often go above and beyond to please their owners. Be sensitive to that fact and check to make sure you don't overtire them when running at a serious pace. If they stop leading and start to lag behind, slow down or take a break. If they lie down, you should probably walk it in.
Protect them. If you run at dusk or in the dark, get a reflective collar or a flashing LED clip-on light. This can be life-saving if they accidentally get off leash and dart into traffic.
Keep them healthy. Just like people should have regular physicals, dogs should have at least annual check-ups. Dental health is often overlooked, which could eventually hinder getting proper nutrition, and their ability to keep up with you on runs.
Tony has been a runner for over three decades, competing in cross country and track in high school and college, and road races for various clubs. He's served as team captain for several Corporate Challenge teams at YMCA of the USA, and has informally coached many friends over the years.
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