15 October 2014
With running increasing in poplularity these last years, maybe some of you will be interested to start this sport with your little companion. But before thinking about running a marathon, there are some precautions to take…
First, you need to take in consideration the age of your little friend. If he is still very young (less than a year for small breeds, and less than two for large breeds), running on hard surfaces like asphalt is not suggested. Free play on grass is a lot more adequate for your puppy while you wait for him to be old enough to follow you on your work out.
Second, it is very important to remember that if your dog is not used to run, you need to take things slowly. Just like a human being doesn’t wake up one morning and start running 10km, a dog needs to train step by step. If he was a very sedentary animal, you need to first start by a good walking program, increasing gradually the distance and adding some interval training before you can really run with him.
It is crucial to evaluate the state of your dog after you both run. It is very normal that he pants after the exercise. Dogs do not transpire except for their paws, so panting is their only way of cooling down. On the other hand, a dog that becomes very stiff following exercise, and/or unusually tired for a long period of time, are signs that the effort was too great for your animal.
Third, you need to considerate the breed of your dog. If your animal is very small, he must take a lot of steps to follow you, so it is likely that he will get tired more easily and might not be able to run for long distances. Also, if your dog is a brachycephalus (flat nose like bulldog, boston terrier, carlin, etc..), is respiratory system is not very compatible with running. It is more advice to walk with these breeds, except for large ones like the boxer.
Finally, some food for thoughts before running….
It is inadvisable to run when it is very hot outside. As mentioned previously, dogs cannot perspire outside panting, so it is very important to favor a cooler period of the day, like early morning or evening. Try also to avoid high humidity rate periods. Choose soft surfaces like dirt or grass over asphalt, and always verify your dogs’s paws after exercise. Abrasive surfaces like asphalt may sometimes cause superficial burns or scratches. If it is the case, give your little friend some rest, and change surface next time!
Have a great run!