The sun is shining and the runners, walkers, bikers, and rollerbladers are back on the streets. Whether you’re a seasoned outdoor exerciser or if you’re just starting out, bringing your pup on those exercise runs is a great way to spend time together and get your dog in shape.
Below we’ve got our top ten tips/things to consider when you’re starting to workout with your dog. It’s important to remember that while your pup may seem like he’s got buckets of energy, they still need to train and build up their endurance, just like you do. It’s important to pay attention to them and what they are doing so that you can prevent injuries to them and yourself!
These tips apply to whatever exercise you choose, so get outside and enjoy the sunshine with your dog this summer! They will thank you for it.
1. Talk to your vet
Before you start running and working out with your dog, talk to your vet about their overall health. If you pup suffers from heart issues or is overweight, you’ll need to take that into account when you start training. Your vet will be able to give you some personalized tips and things to look for in your pup as you start your training.
Thanks to @amandakmetz for this beautiful picture on Instagram!
2. Know your pup’s limitations
Not all dogs are runners. So it’s important to keep that in mind. If you have a small, short nosed dog like a pug for example, they won’t be able, or willing to run that far so you might want to stick to walking. If you have a Siberian Husky though, they will love to run, but might overheat in the summer months. Greyhounds are great for shorter distances, but faster speeds. Pit Bulls are great for longer distances.
Check out dogbreedinfo.com to find out more info about your breed.
Thanks to @nattyohlala for this great picture on Instagram
3. Start slow
Remember when you first started running or biking? You started with shorter distances and it was hard at first. But you gradually built up your mileage and your cardiovascular abilities. Your pup has to go through the same process. We recommend starting with 10 minutes, see how it goes, and then add 10 minutes every week until you’ve reached your optimal distance.
Thanks @deadlysunshine for this great Instagram picture!
4. Keep him to one side all the time
When you first start training with your dog, they might lag behind, try to go faster than you’re able to, or try darting all over the place to smell things, chase birds, or whatever it is they do on an average walk. This can be dangerous for both of you when you’re going at a higher speed. Train them to stay to one side of you at all times. If they dart in front of you, you could trip hurting yourself and them. They need to know that this is not a normal walk.
Thanks to @malirafo for this great Instagram picture!
5. Watch where you’re running
Keep an eye on where you’re going and the surface you’re running on. If you’re running in the winter, salt and sand can get into your dog’s paws and cause irritation. Hot asphalt can burn their paws, and glass will cut them. Just be cautious of surrounding dangers. While you have your shoes on, they don’t have anything protecting their paws.
When you’re done exercising, consider giving your dog’s paws a wash to ensure there’s no debris stuck between their toes. Use World of Angus Dog Balm to soothe their skin and keep irritation at bay.
Thanks to @gwen4191_runs for this pretty picture!
6. Use the appropriate leash
Never wrap their leash around your wrist. If they jerk suddenly they could break your wrist and hurt themselves. Retractable leashes aren’t ideal for exercising since it can allow too much distance between you and your pup. A three to six foot leather leash is lightweight and provides just the right amount of space between you.
If you’re going long distances, consider using a hands-free leash.
Thanks to @linkisteyn for this cute picture on Instagram!
7. Don’t overdo it
Keep an eye on your dog as you exercise. Even if they are tired and dehydrated, they will continue to run. It’s up to you to impose breaks on them to ensure they don’t overdo it. If they have a glazed look in their eye, frothing at the mouth, or they are panting excessively, stop in the shade and take a break.
Thanks to @jip_and_co for this adorable Instagram picture!
8. Watch their recovery
Just as you might be sore after working out, your dog can experience the same thing. If they aren’t used to running such long distances or they aren’t usually so active, it will take some time for their muscles and body in general to recover from their run. Keep an eye on them when they get home for stiffness or soreness, particularly when they lay down or get back up again.
If you notice any stiffness or soreness, give them a few days to recover before heading out again.
Thanks to @runeatyogarepeat for this adorable picture on Instagram.
9. Stay hydrated
If you’re heading out for longer distances with your pup, then consider bringing something for them to drink and drink out of. Dogs don’t sweat the same way as you do. If you notice them panting a lot it might be time for a break. Find a shady area and let them catch their breath and have a drink.
Thanks to @pacer_thegolden for this great picture on Instagram.
10. High protein diet
Just as you need protein to repair your muscles after exercise, so does your furry friend. Make sure you feed them enough to make up for the calories they are burning while they exercise with you. This is a great thing to talk to your vet about to make sure they are getting the nutrients they need to be active.
Never feed your pup within an hour of letting them run. Their stomachs will get upset and they could get sick.
Thanks to @anthonytieuli for this great picture on Instagram.
Do you run with your dog? Any tips we missed? Let us know in the comments!