To find out more, we spoke to Ian Scarrott, running coach and personal trainer at PureGymand Emma Lee, Nutritionist at Feeding burns for pets. Below, we’ve rounded up some of the most important safety tips to read before heading out for a run with your dog.
1. Consider your dog’s breed
Despite what you may see at the dog park, not every dog is suitable for sports. Lee advises, “Caution should be exercised with brachycephalic (flat-faced) breeds. These dogs often have trouble breathing and will struggle in hot weather because they are not able to cool down effectively. The ability to lose heat will also be an issue for some double-coated breeds Or heavier ones like Siberian huskies.
Also, some dogs, such as greyhounds, are aggressive, but are not able to handle long distances, other breeds that are very prone to orthopedic problems should also be handled with caution. Dachshunds for example are genetically susceptible to IVDD (disc disease) and many larger breeds may be more prone to conditions such as hip dysplasia.
Needless to say, it is a good idea to check with your vet before you start running with your dog. It is not recommended to run with puppies or dogs under one year old because they are still developing.
If you are considering adding a pet to your family, according to American Kennel ClubThe best dog breeds to run with are the Weimaraner, Dalmatian, Visla, German Shorthaired Pointer, Rhodesian ridgeback and English spaniel.
2. Think about both levels of your fitness
Not many people will jump straight from 0-10K, so don’t expect your pet to do that either. If you plan to enlist your pet as a new running partner, you will need to gradually increase the distance between them. You’ll also need to consider the terrain, says Lee, “Running is a high-impact sport, so be careful when running on hard ground. Also be careful on uneven terrain. Dogs will be prone to similar types of skeletal and muscular injuries as we are!”
Be sure to watch for signs of pain or discomfort in your dog, and make sure he has time to warm up and cool down before and after his run.
If you’re just starting out on your running journey and find that your dog is actually the perfect fit while running, running trainer Ian Scarrott suggests adding games to your run to keep your pet occupied, but give yourself a break. “For example, you can run to a park together and get some rest for yourself while keeping them active by playing fetch,” Scarrott advises.
3. Grab the right gear
Just like you can grab one The best running phone mountsA pair of Best sunglasses for runningor one best running hours Before you go out, you’ll want to invest in the right kit for your pet to run comfortably, too.
If you plan to run with your dog in front, many experts recommend running with your dog on a harness rather than a collar, because the harness distributes pressure more evenly around the body, rather than the dog’s neck. Having said that, you should do what is best for you and the dog, but make sure the harness or collar fits properly and does not restrict his breathing or cause him any discomfort. You want to run together to be fun for your dog.
Scarrott advises hands-free jogging if you’re running with your dog on the lead, “You might want to try hands-free jogging where you’re attached to a secure waist belt which means you’re free to focus on the trail, and that also means your hands are free if you must fall It can help avoid uncomfortably drifting, especially at speed.”
4. Fuel Like a Pro
Just as you plan your meals while on the run, you should do the same for your dog. Lee recommends feeding your dog at least one hour before exercise, preferably earlier to give him time to digest the food. We recommend feeding two hours earlier and not feeding for two hours afterward. If you try to feed your dog too much, or you are too close to exercise If you are active, it may lead to risks of problems such as bloating.”
It’s also a good idea to pack a collapsible water bowl or dog-friendly drinking bottle when running together. “Hydration is important, especially in hot weather. Losing just 7% of a dog’s body water can lead to severe dehydration and losing 15% can be fatal. It is important to remember not to let them drink too much at once, but make sure you rehydrate them regularly rather than than drinking too much and too quickly,” he tells me.
5. Use it as a training opportunity
In addition to being a way to keep fit, running together is a great way to bond with and train your pet. “It may be helpful for them to learn new voice commands, which means you are more in sync not only when running but also in everyday life,” Scarrott says.
“Participating in a sport with your dog can be beneficial to you and your furry family members and should be encouraged a lot. It helps increase and maintain physical and mental fitness and health, and can also strengthen the bond between you,” Lee adds.
Running with your pet can increase your motivation to get out of the house, improve your bond, and keep you both fit, but more than anything, you should both enjoy them, so make sure you take things slow, and keep things fun.
Looking for more tips about running? Here we answer “Can running give you abs?” and “Is running on a treadmill better than running outside?”. We’ve also found the best running apps to download, and the best Nike running shoes to invest in.