Many people enjoy running and jogging. It may also be the reason you got your dog in the first place. There may be nothing better than running with your dog to keep you company as you enjoy the fresh morning air with him.
However, to enjoy running with your buddy for many years, there are some things that you must consider.
Running can be great fun. Be cautious if you are taking your dog out for the first time. Just like you, your fur buddy needs to build up his distance gradually. This is especially true if they have existing health considerations.
1. Remember: get veterinary clearance
It’s always a good idea to see your vet before any running program with your dog – or any fitness or conditioning program.
Your vet will make sure your dog is in good shape. He ensures that your dog can handle any extra exercise or stress safely. This will avoid unforeseen problems from arising later on.
Some of the factors your vet will look at are:
- Weight and diet or your dog.
- Heart and lung function.
- General health considerations when taking on an exercise program.
If your dog is a little paunchy, gentle exercise, along with some possible diet considerations, will be required before a full out run on a long trail. This will help with unnecessary strains on your dog’s joints.
2. Consider your dog’s breed
Most dogs and most breeds love to run. But not all breeds are cut out for long-distance running.
The marathon runners out there include some gun dogs, scent hounds and herding dogs such as Siberian Huskies, Vizslas, Rhodesian Ridgebacks, Weimaraners, German Short Haired Pointers and English Setters. These dogs are able to do half marathons with ease.
Popular breeds such as Labradors, German Shepherds, Border Collies and Australian Cattle dogs manage a 10km run or less with ease.
Basset Hounds, Dachshunds and dogs that have overheating tendencies such as Pugs and Bulldogs, are much more comfortable going for a leisurely walk around the neighbourhood block.
3. Consider your dog’s age
The general rule: young dogs and very old dogs are not designed to do high-impact exercises such as running.
If you have a puppy, wait until their skeleton has fully formed. That is approximately 1 year for smaller breeds and 18 months for medium to larger breeds.
This is when it is safer for their bones and muscles to do short distances.
Any long-distance running before these ages can cause irreparable damage to your dog’s body and joints. They will have serious musculoskeletal problems later on.
If your dog is getting on and is a little senior, it is best to first check with your vet to ensure he is able to embark on a running program with you. Some breeds have various factors that need to be considered as they get older. Your veterinarian will ensure your older buddy’s safety.
4. Assist your dog with recovery
Rest and recovery between runs are vitally important, especially for bones, joints and muscles. This means your buddy needs to take a few days off in between runs and workouts.
The best thing you can do to ensure joint health and recovery is and complete joint health supplement like Sashas Blend. It protects your pet’s joints, assists in recuperation and alleviates and stiffness after exercise.