Running is one of the few dog-friendly sports that can be a great way for you to bond with your pup while getting fit.
In a world of restrictions and social distancing, your dog may well become your new running partner!
If you’re craving a bit of healthy competition that your dog can’t quite give you, the two of you can join in events such as the Dog Jog. That way, you’ll be getting some exercising and working as a team to reach a goal.
If you are planning on running with your dog for the first time, here are some preparation tips to make sure the experience goes well for both of you.
Before you put your dog’s harness on and run out the door, you may want to consider the following:
- The breed of your dog
- Your dog’s age
- If they have any pre-existing health problems
If your dog is 10 years old or older, they could have arthritis or other joint problems that may slow them down. Ease your dog into the runs and increase the miles only after a few runs if you feel your dog can handle it.
Try and stick to running on softer surfaces like grass, as this will be easier on your pup’s joints.
#2: Protect Your Dog’s Feet
It’s best to take your dog for a run early in the morning or in the late afternoon, as this will prevent your pup from burning their paws on tar and concrete surfaces. The pads of your dog’s paws will take some time to toughen, and you would need to check their paws after every run.
You can try getting your dog to wear dog shoes or peel-and-stick pads. This will help to protect your pup’s paws from potential injuries, burnt paws and can help stop your dog from slipping on some surfaces.
#3: Plan your Route
Planning your route will help you identify the safest route and places where you can stop for water breaks. If you’re not going to carry water with you, then you’d be able to stop at water fountains or dog-friendly cafes for a refreshing drink.
If you’re going to be taking a water bottle with you, then you may need to train your dog to drink from a water bottle. You could use a collapsible water bowl that you can clip to your running belt. This will help you keep your pup hydrated wherever you are. You must also put dental water additives to prevent stinky breath especially when you are on the road and brushing is inconvenient.
#4: Food Portions
Depending on the duration and the distance that you and your pup are running, you may need to increase the amount of calories you feed your dog on a daily basis. You can do this by either increasing the portion size per meal or adding in an extra meal.
Your pet’s diet would vary based on their need. If your dog is overweight, you may need to look at changing their food to weight management food. If your dog needs to bulk up a bit, then put them onto a muscle building food.
#5: Prepare for Emergencies
Put together a small first-aid kit for your dog that you can clip to your runner’s belt or put it into your dog’s running backpack. Here are some items that you’d want to include:
- Small bottle of eyewash
- Styptic pencil
- Electrolyte replacement
- A stretchy bandage
If you don’t enjoy running alone, your dog could be the perfect running companion. Not only will it be a bonding experience, but it will keep your motivation up and your pup will love every minute of being out and about with the wind in his hair and ears!