Get out running with your dog

animal health, Canicross, dog health, dog running -

Get out running with your dog

Many of us want to get a bit fitter, and what better way to do so than with your best friend trotting along at your side? But if you are thinking of running with your pet pooch, there are a few things you need to do to make sure that you are both getting the most out of it and enjoying your run.

Speaking to Metro, Pure Gym Running Coach and Personal Trainer Ian Scarrott, explained why running with your dog is such a great idea

“Like anything in life, exercise can become monotonous, so it is important to try new routes, vary types of sessions, time your run, and of course, if you have a pet that is able to run with you, make it more fun for them and you.”

Of course, with any new routine, there are a few things that you need to consider and be aware of before you set off.

Dachshunds dash photo by Kojirou Sasaki on Unsplashachshunds dash photo by Kojirou Sasaki on Unsplash

Breed and age of your dog

What breed is your dog? If you have a tiny Chihuahua will they be able to keep up? Or if you have a thick-coated dog such as a malamute, they may overheat in hot weather. Likewise you may remember that a while back we wrote about the problems experienced by bracycephalic dogs, with flat faces such as Pugs or French Bulldogs. These may also have difficulties when running with you as their flat faces make it more difficult for them to breathe, particularly in warmer weather as they can struggle to cool down as efficiently as other dogs.

That isn’t to say you can never run with these breeds, but you do need to be aware of any potential issues and keep an eye on the weather forecast too. 

Some breeds may also be prone to genetic diseases such as back problems and hip dysplasia so if you have any concerns before you start then have a chat with your vet. These kind of conditions could also be exacerbated by age so make sure your dog is up the task – check out our article on calculating dog years to make sure you’re not asking a 90-year-old (in dog years) to come for a five mile sprint!

Snowy run photo by Veres Szilard on PexelsSnowy run photo by Veres Szilard on Pexels

Yours and your dog’s fitness levels 

Just like people, dogs have varying degrees of fitness which may need to be built up gradually over time. If you’re already fit, you need to acknowledge that your dog might not be and make sure that you build up gradually and let them get some decent rest in between each run.

You also need to make sure you are running on suitable terrain, as Emma Lee, nutrition expert at dog food brand Burns, explains:

 “Running is a high-impact sport so take care when running on firm ground. Also, be careful on uneven terrain. Dogs will be susceptible to similar types of skeletal and muscle injury that we are.

“Make sure you are observing your dog and watching for signs of pain or discomfort. It is also essential that you allow your dog time to warm up and cool down. There are many stretches and exercises that you can get your dog to do that will help with reducing the likelihood of injury.”

Of course, your dog might be the fit one, in which case you might want to break up your run with a game of fetch. Again, depending on your dog’s breed and age, you need to work out the best course of action. Your dog may be prefer to run and walk in intervals with HIIT-style bursts of speed or a long leisurely jog. Watch them to work out what’s best.

Beach running photo by Magdalena Smolnicka on UnsplashBeach running photo by Magdalena Smolnicka on Unsplash

Running hands-free

If you’ve ever seen a Canicross (dog-running) event then you’ll notice that they attach their dogs to their belts and if you’re going to try running regularly with your own pet pooch you might want to invest in some kit. Ian explains the benefits of getting a harness and lead that are a comfortable fit for you and your dog: 

“You may want to try hands-free running where you are connected by a secure waist belt which means you are free to concentrate on the route. It also means your hands are free if you should take a tumble.

“It can help to avoid being pulled around uncomfortably, especially at speed. Above all, you want this to be a fun experience for you and your pet.”

Have you tried running with your dog? As always let us know in the comments section below - and if you AND your dog prefer to run indoors, check out our unique treadmill designed for humans and dogs - now you've got no excuses to get out of getting fit! 

Main photo: Small dog running by Sergio Rodriguez - Portugues del Olmo on Unsplash

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