How to run with a dog

Do not start running with your dog without understanding your dog and without taking the following precautions

How to run with your dog

Dogs love running as much as they love chasing cats or rolling in the dirt but before you go on run there are a few things to keep in mind. Especially if you have a high-energy dog, they need much higher exercise time. 

You will need a 3 to 5 foot bungee hands free leash and harness for your dog, a plastic shopping bag for collecting poop, running shoes for you, comfortable athletic clothing, dog treats, a full water bottle, a fanny pack, a portable dog dish, and a towel. And most of all do check your dogs’ physical health and start running at a slow pace and increase gradually.

Following are some important things you need to understand before you start running with your dog.

Check your dog’s physical health

Check your dog’s physical health before start running
Check your dog’s physical health before start running

Have your dog checked over by the vet to make sure he doesn’t have any physical issues that would stop him from the regular runs. Your dogs’ health and age matter a lot. Calculate your dog’s age with this new, improved formula.

Hydrate yourself and your dog during the run

Hydrate yourself and your dog during the run
Hydrate yourself and your dog during the run with hydrating bladder back pack and portable water bottle for dogs

Make sure you use a running backpack with a bladder that at least holds 1 to 2 litre of drinking water, you can share the same water with your dog by using a portable dog dish or keep a separate water bottle for your dog.

Feed your dog an hour before or after the run

Feed your dog an hour before or after the run
Feed your dog an hour before or after the run

Avoid running with your dog right before or after you feed him, give his stomach at least an hour to normal. Load up your pocket with dog treats in case you need to control him during the run.

Larger, barrel-chested dogs like Dobermans, German shepherds, boxers can experience a potentially fatal condition called “dog bloat.” This occurs when a dog exercises too quickly after eating or drinking and the stomach literally turns over. The dog can die within minutes. To counter this, walk or run only 1 hour after feeding or drinking, which gives the food or drink a chance to settle. Read this detailed article to understand the average daily calorie and energy requirement for your dog.

Running with a poop bag is not so good

Running with a poop bag not a good idea
Running with a poop bag not a good idea

It is better to plan your running route so that your dog can go near where there is a public garbage can. If you want to maximize your run, this is a crucial thing. Build this “strategy” into your running routes so you’re not stuck carrying a stinky bag for more than a few hundred feet.

Control your dogs sniffing along the trail

Control your dogs sniffing along the trail
Control your dogs sniffing along the trail

Dogs sniff along walks as a method to know the way home. It’s quite natural, that’s their nature, they born with it. They pee and sniff for comfort and security of knowing the way back home.

Our primary activity is running, right? we need to keep the pace and at the same time, you need to make your dog happy by allowing them to sniff at the beginning of the run, and then less so throughout the run. Plan for wide paths to run on, and run in the middle so less foliage can distract and pull the dog. Gradually, your dog will get used to sniffing (and stopping) less when on runs.

A hands-free leash and dog harness will keep your dog safe

A hands-free leash and dog harness will keep your dog safe
A hands-free leash and dog harness will keep your dog safe

Hold your dog on a short control portion of your leash so he concentrates on you and he will keep up with your pace. If the leash is too long he’ll fix it on squirrels passing cars, clouds, and whatever else it is they distract. You need to take extra care in selecting the harness and leash because it matters a lot.

If your dog pulls on the leash then use a good dog harness so they’re not choking themselves. If your dog knows how to stay at your side then you could use their collar.

I usually just use my dog’s collar (or a harness and leash with a handler would be a better choice to handle them). Because when we’re running he just stays right next to me he doesn’t pull on the leash. He’s actually a lot better when we’re running, he will be completely on my side the whole time but if we walk he’s pulling, it’s funny but I do suggest off-leash running with your dog if you can do that because that gives them the opportunity to stop and pant and cool down when they need to instead of being attached to you and trying to keep up with you.

Here is the detailed research article on selecting the right running harness for your dog.

Start slow, take breaks during the run

First of all wait at least 6 months before start running with your puppy.

There are risks with running with your dog especially on a leash where they can’t slow down they’re just trying to keep up with you, if it’s really hot outside and you’re pushing your dog to the limit and they can get heatstroke. They don’t sweat like humans they pan to cool down, and sometimes when you’re running with them they just can’t pant enough to cool down and they may get heatstroke. The fatal signs of heatstroke are red gums, your dog is drooling excessively and if it just can’t stop panting to cool down then you need to stop and take a break.

When you start running with your dog, you should start out slow maybe try a mile or so start out with short distances and then you could know up and up the distance to increase your dog’s endurance as well as your endurance.

Take breaks on your run don’t just run the entire time and drive your dog along with you. Do like a little bit of running a little bit of walking a little bit of running a little bit of walk, your dog can slow down walk with you and pant and cool themselves down you don’t want to hurt your dog we’re trying to bond with them.

Avoid forcing the pace with your dog, if you do they’ll hate running it will take a few runs for your dog to develop the fitness and stamina to keep up with you. If you’re thirsty it’s highly likely that your dog is as well map a route that allows for water breaks for both of you every 20 minutes or so.

Take care of their paws and joints

Take care of your dogs paws and joints to run with you

For the first few times run on dirt sand or grass until his paws toughen up and his joints adapt to the pounding of running run for 20 minutes every other day each week add 5 minutes to the run time.

Consider the weather and its effects on your dog

Hot asphalt and salted frozen concrete can hurt paws. Short-haired dogs may need doggy coats or sweaters to help them stay warm in sub-freezing temperatures.

Keep a towel in to dry out your dog after runs through rain or snow it’ll help him stay warm and keep your house clean.

Try off the Leash running

If you’re able, select a section of your running route where your dog can run free. I have a half-mile section of woods on my average route where I release him and let him roam off-leash. I continue on my run and let my dog sprint off, sniff, and do his thing. But he has to catch up to me by the time we get back to the path.

He returns to me at the end of that regular section. He comes close so I can clip him back onto the leash fast. We speed back up and continue on our run on the path.

Plan and start your running with your dog, it will be a great fun thing to do with your dog.

When can you start running with a dog?

You should wait at least your puppy reaches six months of age before you start running with your dog. If you start earlier, you can risk affecting his growing joints and muscles. Its better to start after 7 months for large and giant breeds.

How many miles can I run with my dog?

The average dog can run anywhere between two and five miles (3 to 6 km). When you are deciding how far to run, take your dog’s breed into consideration. Many dogs can safely run 20 to 40 miles (30 to 60 km) per week or more. The key is to increase the distance and speed slowly over time, just like you would for yourself.

How do I start running with my dog?

You can start by adding small stretches of running into your walks. Then, on each subsequent days, gradually increase your running time and do not increase the distance at this time. After several weeks, your dog will have adapted to running long distances and will keep up with your pace. You can read more about running with your dog above in this article.

How to carry water for your dog when running?

If you run with a water bottle or hydration bladder backpack, teach your dog to lick the stream of water like it’s coming out of a hose. If your dog won’t drink this way, carry a portable dog bowl or try squirting water into your cupped hand for him to drink.

Is running with your dog good for them?

What’s good for you is also good for you dog (but in moderate dose, depending on your dogs breed size and age) it’ll also help them to lose weight if their body condition isn’t ideal, build muscle, and keep healthy. Running with your dog boosts your and your dog’s mood.

How long can dogs run without stopping?

The average dog can run anywhere between two and five miles. Sporting and herding breeds are the most likely to run the longest distances without stopping.

What are the best dogs for runners?

Following are the top 10 best dog breeds for runners:
German Wirehaired Pointer
Labrador Retriever
Border Collie
Alaskan Malamute
Siberian Husky
Rhodesian Ridgeback

How often can I run my dog?

Start with a few days a week going a mile or two. Slowly increase frequency and length of the runs. Generally, to stay safe you don’t want to increase the runs by more than 10% at a time. The maximum rage advisable is 4 miles a day and a maximum of 5 days a week is ideal.

Written by Your Dog Advisor

It's me Divya, hope you got some new information today. I am the executive editor for Petting My Dog. I and my team provide the most accurate and in-depth tips and advice on dog care, dog food, and training from industry experts, dog trainers, veterinarians, groomers, and animal scientists. We help dog owners effortlessly choose the best dog supplies on the market. We buy, test, review, and rank dog products to help you avoid the bad products and purchase only what's best for you and your dog. Come join us in this movement to keep your pet Dog actively happy. Read more about our editorial process here. Veterinary Review by: Dr. Alexandra Hukill, DVM. Stay updated and subscribe to our newsletter.

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