Today is National Running Day, celebrating one of the best ways to get healthy and stay in shape. Although many people prefer to run solo, you might have an eager running buddy right in your own home! Besides keeping your pet in good shape, a healthy dose of daily exercise also helps prevent behavioral issues in dogs such as chewing, hyperactivity, and rough playing. Going for a brisk walk or run is also a great way to bond with your pup, and there are even 5Ks that cater to the canine fitness crowd!
Here are a few of our top tips for bringing your dog along on your next morning run:
1. Young pups on the run: While energetic young dogs might seem to be the perfect running partner, dogs under 18 months of age should not participate in sustained periods of jogging or running since their bones are still growing.
2. Prevent chronic pain: Rule out any health or joint issues with your vet before taking your dog on the road or trail, and keep an eye out for any signs of soreness or discomfort both before and after an exercise session.
3. Conditioning for canines: Just like humans, dogs need to work their way up to longer runs, too! Start off slow, adding an extra few minutes each week to build up your pup’s endurance.
4. Keep it cool: Consider the weather before taking your pooch out for a run. Sunny sidewalks can scorch your pet’s feet and hot, humid days prove an extra challenge since dogs can’t sweat to stay cool. Bring a portable water bowl for your dog and move your run to early morning or after dusk hours on hotter days.
5. Stay safe & in control: Dogs should always wear a collar with identification and stay on a leash when on a run. Additionally, giving your dog a few minutes at the beginning of your workout to sniff and explore for a bit helps him warm up and will help you avoid having to stop at a tree every minute along the way!
Having a canine companion on your workout can turn that dreaded dose of cardio into a fun bonding activity for you and your dog that you’ll be sure to commit to. Learn more about the benefits of exercise for your dog and find out how you can help other pets in need while running for Team ASPCA.