Dogs make the perfect exercise partners. Many breeds possess seemingly limitless energy and will push you to the limit as effectively as any treadmill or stationary bike at the gym. Dogs offer companionship during exercise time and also help keep you safe if you work out alone.
The best thing you can do when including your dog in daily runs is to make it is a canine-friendly activity. Here are a few simple things you can do ahead of time to realize that goal.
1. Invest in good running shoes
Keeping up with your dog on a trail is quite challenging. You need to make sure your running shoes are good enough for the job. A good running shoe should have durable tread that will not wear down quickly with continual usage. It should also have enough cushioning to act as a shock absorber, protecting your feet as they strike the ground.
2. Use a strong leash
Dogs are curious by nature. They love to investigate new smells and sounds. A durable leash will help you rein in your dog’s natural tendency to run off and explore. Leashes with elastic or bungee cores work best for running. They create less of a jerking motion on your arm and are less likely to injure your canine companion should you need to exert control. Retractable leashes should be avoided because they can become tangled. A leash between three and six feet in length is ideal.
3. Don’t skimp on the water
It’s easy to get dehydrated after running for an extended period of time. Water is crucial to helping you avoid muscle cramps and getting your body to perform at a high level. Plenty of water also does your dog a world of good. Dogs can get dehydrated on long runs, especially during the summer months. Just like humans, dogs are susceptible to overheating and need to drink water at least once every two to three miles.
4. Scout the terrain
Keep your dog’s best interests in mind if you decide to take him with you to your favorite running place. Is the terrain rugged? Will it make him more prone to suffering a serious injury? Are there any native plants or animals that could pose a hazard to his health and safety? What works for a human does not always work well for a dog. Choose a running route that will keep you and your dog safe while exercising.
5. Consult your vet
Some breeds are natural-born runners and are built to go long distances. Others are lap dogs who are better off sticking to a brisk walk. It’s important to consult your veterinarian and find out if your dog is built for running. Your vet can give your dog a check-up and alert you to any potential health issues from heart problems to bad joints that would cause your pet harm while running.
6. Train your dog
The last thing you want to do is rile up strangers because your dog wanders into their yard or becomes aggressive when he crosses paths with another dog or person. Before you begin a regular exercise program with your dog, take time to put him through proper obedience training. You need to know he will submit to your authority so you can retain control on a run.
7. Clean up
When nature calls, dogs will answer. It does not matter where they are. Your responsibility is to clean up after them. Leaving waste on the ground is both rude and illegal. Be prepared to stop and take care of it when your dog does his business.
You need only complete a few tasks before heading out on a run with your dog. As you take care of yourself with a safe route, proper running gear and water, take care of your pet’s needs. Soon you’ll be exploring your neighborhood or local park together!