As a group, dogs are typically ecstatic to leash up and hit the pavement. Sure, many prefer a brisk walk to a full gallop, but a large portion of dogs really, really like to tear it up. If your pup initiates a run, chances are, they’re built for the activity and have the endurance to make it fun. If you’re thinking about taking a run with your dog, there are few things to consider before heading out.

Know Before You Go

Some dog owners learn of a dog’s proclivity for running through sheer chance, while others want to cultivate these skills in their dog. Either way, we encourage you to have your dog examined beforehand. We can help you understand possible challenges your dog might face, as well as how you can support them. For example, dogs with shorter legs or those with flat faces can overexert themselves, leading to injury or illness.

Just the Right Age

Depending on your dog’s breed and age, we might suggest waiting until their bone growth plates have closed. Running with your dog too early in their life can cause damage to the joints and bones.

On the other end of the spectrum, older or senior dogs may have certain physical limitations that preclude sprinting or long-distance running. However, even dogs with arthritis should continue to exercise, as it keeps weight gain to a minimum and enhances overall health.

Special Training

If your dog is the right breed, age, and physical condition, the next step is working on (or fine tuning) basic obedience. Without a doubt, your dog must be able to follow commands for the sake of everyone’s safety.

Total compliance with leash rules is critical to having a successful run, as is the ability to ignore wildlife, pets, and other people. Train your dog so they won’t react to cars, bicycles, strollers, and more. When you run with your dog, make sure they’re always on the same side of you.

Start Slow, Then Grow

When starting out, it’s a good idea to run with your dog for 5-10 minutes at a time. See how they do before increasing their running time. Take frequent breaks, drink lots of water, and never push your dog past their point of exhaustion. It’s always better to head home before they become too tired.

Before You Run with Your Dog

Running together can be an incredibly rewarding experience. To ensure your dog’s safety, we offer the following tips:

    • Keep up with parasite prevention. Even if you’re not regularly hitting the trails for a jog, your pet’s flea, tick, and heartworm medication should always be up to date.
    • Take extra care regarding your dog’s paws. Paw pads are highly sensitive to rough gravel, hot concrete, asphalt, and rocks. Always inspect them after a run.
    • Don’t forget treats, water, and elimination bags.

If you have additional questions or concerns about how to run with your dog, please know our veterinarians and staff are always here for you and your pet.