With the season of New Year’s resolutions and fitness goals upon us, your ever-faithful, ever-enthusiastic running buddy & four-legged friend can give you all the motivation you need to get this year off to a healthy start. Whilst there are some dog breeds not built to jog beside you, there are many dogs that benefit from a morning or evening run just as much as you. Daily exercise with our dogs helps them from developing behavioural issues, digestive and health problems, as well as improving confidence, socialisation and of course keeping lean.
- Slow & steady
Just like us, dogs take a while to adapt to a new form of exercise. You and your new running companion should start gradually, slowly building up from a short jog as you face longer distances together. A slow starting pace is great to help build up resilience on your pet’s paws, as well as getting them used to running for longer periods on the lead beside you.
- Get a grip
A good leash is key to a good and safe run: you’ll want to allow your dog some flexibility but not enough to let them run off. A fixed-length, strong leash should do the trick as retractable leads can result in too much loose material turning into a health hazard! With so many running leads on the market there is a great selection to choose from. We love Ruffwear’s Roamer Leash, Carnicross’ Starter Kit and Inner Wears’ Non-Stop Dog Runner.
- Bring your bags
Your gym bag may not be needed but dog litter bags most definitely will be – don’t leave home without them or fellow runners could have an unfair surprise.
- Ground rules
Be aware of the surfaces and routes that you’re running along; some areas could potentially cause injury, especially at a quick pace. Beware of ice, areas with debris, or routes where bikes may zoom past.
- Canine communication
Your dog can’t tell you when it needs a rest, so look for the signs. Pulling back on the lead or panting may mean time to take five. Other common signs include sore or sensitive pads, extended periods of fatigue directly after exercise or over-heating.
- Hydrated and happy
You already know the importance of staying hydrated before and after a run, and the same applies to dogs. Bring water with you if you plan on running a good distance and be sure to share with your running partner – don’t let them drink from puddles as they’re can be high in contaminants or toxins. There are lots of lightweight portable dog bowls on the market.
When you’ve both got your breath back and had a stretch, it’s worth giving your dog a bit of a wash down and also checking their paws for any foreign bodies that could cause discomfort.