7 Tips for Running With Your Dog

Dogs can be great running companions. They're reliable and adjust to whatever pace you want to run—and they also won't bore you with stories about their latest running achievement.

If you want to get your dog to be your training partner, follow these tips to keep him safe, healthy and comfortable:


Ease Your Dog Into Running

man running with dog

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Start your dog out slowly, just like you would if you were new to running. If you gradually increase the miles, your dog's pads will toughen up and make him less susceptible to injury. Check your dog's pads for signs that he overran. If you notice tenderness, raw spots or bleeding, give him a few days off from running.


Check With Your Vet to See When Your Dog Can Start

Although smaller breeds may be able to start running at six months, you may have to wait until larger dogs are a year to begin. Check with your vet for guidelines for your specific breed. Also ask about any recommendation for how much running your dog should be doing once you start.


Keep Your Dog Hydrated

Make sure you carry enough water for both you AND your dog. That means that you may need to plan to stop somewhere and refill your water bottle at some point. Teach your dog how to drink from a water bottle or carry a portable doggie dish to put water in.


Don't Run With Older Dogs

Most dogs shouldn't be running past 10 years old. Check with your vet to see at what age your dog should stop running.


Stick to Trails

Whenever possible, run on trails, which are shaded and soft. The softer surface will be easier on the dog's joints than running on the road or sidewalks. Be sure that you follow the park or trail's posted rules. And follow these tips for trail running, whether you're running with or without your dog.


Watch for Signs of Overheating

Dogs are susceptible to heat-related illnesses, so you need to follow rules for running in the heat, just as you would if you were running alone.

Be familiar with the signs of fatigue or heat illness, which include panting, slowing down, foaming at the mouth, weakness, inability to stand, uncontrolled movement, agitation and glazed eyes. If you notice any of these signs, cool your dog immediately by thoroughly wetting him with cold water and getting him into the shade or an air-conditioned area, if possible. If your dog starts to vomit or doesn't improve within 10 minutes, seek veterinary help as quickly as possible.


Don't Bring Your Dog to a Group Run

While your dog may be friendly and an excellent runner, he may make other runners nervous and uncomfortable. So bring your dog along for solo runs or when you're running with a running buddy who is also a dog lover.


Always Keep Your Dog on a Leash

Even if your dog is well-trained, he may still try to run off if he sees another dog or animal. In addition, most public parks, trails, and bike paths require that dog owners keep their dogs on a leash. Other runners or walkers may be afraid of dogs, and it's not fair to scare them when they see an unleashed dog running toward them. If you want your dog to run unleashed, take them to a dog park instead.

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