Being a dog owner can have many benefits, one of them being a life-long running buddy by your side. But before you jump into doing a marathon with your dog you may want to warm them up to the idea of daily runs first. Here are a few tips to help you when you decide to start running with your beloved dog.
When to start running with your dog
While young dogs are full of energy, the same may not be said when it comes to older ones. It would be best to check with your vet on when your breed of dog should become your running partner and how much running they should do to start. The last thing you want to do is overrun them and make them not have fun. Usually, with small-sized dogs, they can start running at 6 months, while larger dogs can start running within a year. However, if your pet is over 10 years old then they may not be able to do the long runs. This is why you must check with your vet to see how much they can handle, before you push them too far.
Start off short
Running works best when you implement a training program with your dog. Start off with short distances and pay attention to how your dog reacts to this. The first step for any runner whether it is a person or a pet is to walk nicely, and with a short amount of time build up speed. However, you should always check your dog’s paws when they start training. If you notice bleeding, raw spots or tenderness then it would be best to give your dog a break in order for them to heal. Do not worry, with time their paws’ pads will toughen up to handle long-distance running in no time.
While running or hiking with your dog make sure that you have enough water for you and your pet. You can teach them how to drink from the water bottle or you can have a water bowl to pour their water in. You should also plan your route to stop at places where you can refill your bottle as well as to catch your breath (for the both of you) especially if the weather is hot.
It is very important to look out for signs of them overheating. They can be sensitive to heat which could have a negative effect on their well-being. The signs to look out for are:
- Heavy panting
- Unable to stand
- Foaming at the mouth
- Glazed eyes
- Any sort of weaknesses
- Uncontrollable movements
If they show any of the above signs there could be a good (or in this case, bad) chance that they are suffering from a heat-related illness. If this is the case pour cool water over them. Let them have a swim in safe, nearby water, or rush them into an air-conditioned room for them to cool down.
Another thing you should be aware of is if they start to vomit and do not stop for 10 minutes. Then they should be rushed off to the vet.
Solo with a leash
The last point is that you should keep them on their leash. Regardless of how well-trained they are, there are some trails, parks; running areas that require people to have their dogs on a leash. This can be done so that the other people in the park do not feel uncomfortable if they have a fear of dogs. Plus, there is a high chance that your pet may get excited. Especially, if they see another dog or animal and runoff. This is how you may end up losing them.
When taking your dog for a run especially if you plan on taking them off the leash always make sure that they are wearing ID tags. Find out if your dog is going to take off in an area that you can catch them. All too often new pet owners end up having to chase or even lose their pets on runs or trails because their pet takes off. Be prepared and if you do lose your pet you can go to this PawMaw resource to help you find them.
It is also suggested running solo or with one other person and their dog if the four of you all get along. Running in a group is not advised since other dogs in the group may react badly towards your friendly pet.
Therefore, with these tips in mind have a fun run with your furry friend.