I’m sharing five tips for running safely with your dog this spring. One thing my mom goes crazy about in the spring is people grabbing their dogs and running for miles, even though the dog has not run for months over the winter. Just as humans need a safe start to a running program, so do we dogs.
5 Tips For Running Safely With Your Dog This Spring
Never Ever Run With A Puppy!
One of the saddest things we see in the spring is people out jogging with puppies or young dogs. Many humans assume that since a puppy has so much energy, running is a perfect way to settle them down. This could not be farther from the truth! Leave your puppy home!
Dog’s joints have growth plates which depending on the breed, don’t fully close until at least nine months to a year of age. Running with a dog who is still growing, can cause permanent, life long damage to joints and legs. Once your puppy approaches one year of age, check with your veterinarian to find out if she can start running with you.
What Breed Is Your Dog?
Not every breed of dog is made to be a jogging partner. Dogs with flat faces/noses such as pugs, may have trouble breathing on runs. Small dogs, or dogs with short legs are not cut out for marathon training. If you really want a dog as a running partner, check with your veterinarian to find out what the best breed for you would be.
Ease Into A Running Program!
Many dogs and their humans spend winters on the couch, being lazy. Just as humans need to ease back into running, so does your dog. Even if you ran all winter long, don’t expect your dog to start spring running with several miles the first time out. We are super active all year round, but over the past months, we have only been walking, and not running because of all the ice. Our spring running started April 1, no joke. We’ll be running just a mile for a week, then two miles for a week, and finally be up to three to four miles.
How Far Should You Run?
I am pretty short, so Mom knows not to run me more than three to four miles. If she wants to run five or six miles, she will either take Bailie or run on her own. Nothing would be worse in her mind than forcing us to run too far.
One needs to take a dog’s breed, overall condition, health, and age into consideration. If your dog is struggling to keep up with you, or to make it the entire route, slow down or take shorter runs. Humans often treat dogs like machines, but we have muscles, and other physical limitations just as humans do. Know your dog, and watch for any signs of stress or discomfort.
What Equipment Do You Need To Start Running?
Technically speaking, all you need for your dog is a leash. Over the many years of running with dogs, my mom has found several things helpful for her when running with dogs.
We wear a harness. Collars can slip off easily, and if there is pulling, the throat can be damaged. We find the Freedom No Pull Harnesses work best for us on walks and for runs. They are comfortable, safe and come in a variety of colors and sizes.
You can choose to hold your dogs leash while you run, but it tends to get your running posture out of whack. Mom has been running with the Umbilical Belt, now the Blackbelt Leash, a hands free leash, for about four years now, and just loves it. We will pull sometimes if we see a squirrel or rabbit, but having the belt to stop us is so much stronger than Mom using her hand/arm. The leashes don’t tangle, and the four feet is plenty of length. Running hands free lets Mom keep her normal running form.
One of our leashes also has a Fifth Paw for putting a used poop bag so Mom doesn’t have to carry it in her hand until we find a trash bin. An extra bag or two are also hooked on the Fifth Paw in case we need them.
We wish everyone fun, and many happy running miles this spring!
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We’re thankful we get to go running with Mom, so we’re joining Brian’s Home Blog in the Thankful Thursday Blog Hop! Visit some other blogs to see what they are thankful for.