There is no doubt about the fact that dogs are man’s greatest companions. They make adventurous travel buds, great listeners, and even better exercise companions. Our dogs motivate us to stay healthy and fit; they are a big reason why we are compelled to hit the park every day. However, the regular walks around the block may become boring, and you may want to experiment this is when you get the idea- why not try running with the furry companion! You could use burning a few more calories, and your dog will enjoy the new experience. But you will need to train the pooch before you begin the adventure, here are a few do’s and don’ts to help keep you and your pup safe on runs:
Do Know Your Dog’s Age and Breed
If you start your puppy too young, you will cause more harm than good since the pup’s joints aren’t fully developed. Hence running on hard surfaces may put too much stress on the bones and muscles resulting in damage. You need to wait until your pooch is physically ready to begin running and that specific age varies for different breeds. A small dog may be fit for running before a large-breed, so you need to take such factors into account.
It’s also crucial to remember that not all dogs enjoy or would be up for running. Breeds such as Golden Retrievers, German shepherds, Labradors, etc. can make great running partners but either small dogs such as Chihuahuas, Pugs, or the larges ones such as Mastiffs may not be the best choice as running companions.
Do Check with Your Vet
If you aren’t sure about your dog’s age or whether or not adding something new to his exercise routine would be helpful, it is best to consult the veterinarian. They will be able to assess what will suit your dog and provide suggestions accordingly. Even if you have done your research about your dog’s size and breed, inform your vet before you begin training your pooch.
Do Start Slow
Just as you wouldn’t want to be pushed off the couch and made to run, your furry companion wouldn’t like the same. Since he may be used to strolling on the streets, teaching him to run would require persistence. Start out a slow speed; you can look for a beginner training plan that involves small breaks of walking during the jog to help you and your pooch catch your breath.
Don’t Miss Out on Warm-up
You and your pooch need to prepare for the exercise session by warming up. It will help loosen the muscles while gradually increasing the heart-rate and circulation. This way you and your pooch won’t be at the risk of developing injuries due to stiff joints or muscles.
Do Keep an Eye on Your Dog
It is important to notice if your pup displays any signs of discomfort. Since the temperatures are rising, your dog may overheat so make sure he doesn’t excessively pant and choose a cool time of the day for your run. Hydrate your dog and don’t force him to continue if he shows resistance. Take care of his safety and don’t forget yourself as well. Make sure you power yourself before the run, carry a water bottle for yourself and enjoy the experience with your pooch. Also, ensure you feed your large dog a healthy diet at least 1 hour after the exercise session, so he is ready to burn off the energy the next day.
Jenny Perkins is an Animal Behavior Specialist and a passionate writer. She loves to write about the nutrition, health, and care of dogs. She aims at providing tips to dog owners that can help them become better pet parents. She writes for the blog Here Pup.