Running With Your Dog
This article is written by Pet Circle veterinarian, Dr Ivan Duong DVM
Dogs are a perfect companion for exercising, one of the most popular ways to exercise with your dog is going for a run. However, it is important to note a few things before starting your dog on a run.
Things to Consider
Which Breeds Are Best?
Breeds can be an important factor to consider whether your dog is suitable as a running companion. Hunting, herding and athletic breeds including but not limited to Kelpies, Border Collies, German shorthair pointers, Labradors, and Greyhounds are more suited to run longer distances, however they will still need to be trained to reach such distances. Dogs that are very large, such as Great Danes or very small such as Miniature Poodles, Chihuahuas or brachycephalic dogs like Pugs, French Bulldogs and Bulldogs are less than suitable for running as their body conformation do not tend to lend itself to long bouts of exercise. If you are in doubt, contact your local veterinarian for advice.
What Age Should You Start?
Age is another important factor to consider when selecting a running partner. Geriatric or juvenile dogs should not partake in high-impact exercises such as running. Puppies should not be run regularly until at least a year of age as their bones, muscles, tendons and ligaments are all still under development, high impact exercises may impact the normal growth of these structures. If your mature dog begins to experience exercise intolerance, such as being out of breath quickly after a walk or run, or acts sore and stiff after the run, it is best to contact your veterinarian for a consultation. Unfortunately, this age can vary widely between individuals and breeds.
How to Start Running With Your Dog
In order to train your dog to run with you, it is vital to start the program gradually. Start by taking your dog on long walks a few times a week for a few weeks, this will allow your dog to gradually adapt to the distance and the route. Once your dog is comfortable with this routine, begin adding some light jogging for short periods of time during the walk. Continue monitoring your dog for any signs of excess fatigue. If they continue to cope well, continue increasing jogging time until the walk is replaced with a jog. You may gradually increase speed and distance if your dog continues to cope well. Overtraining, like in humans, can lead to injury. Remember to allow your dog to have rest days, which will allow them to recover and continue to get fitter.
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