Tips for Running With Your Dog

June 29, 2018

Now that summer is in full swing, let’s talk about running with your dog! We all know dogs love to run and it’s important to ensure they’re getting enough exercise, but always put safety first.

Running reportedly gives dogs many of the same physical and mental benefits as it does humans, The Washington Post reported. Not only does it keep pups in shape, but it also delivers the same “runner’s high” that people experience after a long run, according to a 2012 study completed by the Journal of Experimental Biology. So get out there with Fido today! But first, ensure you’re prepared! Here are some tips for running with your dog.

Consult your veterinarian

Always talk to your vet before you start running with your dog or any other exercise. You’re a runner but your pup may not be. Certain breeds were not made to run and can be prone to overheating, The Washington Post reported. According to one of Embark’s Veterinary Geneticists Dr. Kate Robinson, dogs don’t sweat all over their bodies, so they have to pant to reduce their core body temp. Additionally, some breeds aren’t as good as moving air in and out (like pugs).

Heat stroke is something to watch for and is reportedly associated with temperatures of 106 degrees or higher. Heat stroke can occur in as little as 10 minutes and can lead to multiple organ dysfunction, according to PetMD. Some symptoms include rapid heart rate and excessive drooling.

Consider age before running with your dog

Don’t start running with your furry friend too soon as a puppies’ joints and bones may not be fully formed, according to health.com. Here’s another reason to talk to your vet: every dog’s timeframe for when they can start running is different.

Weather and warm up

If it’s hot or humid, be sure to take regular breaks for both you and your pup. It’s also a good idea for both of you to warm up before running. “Be sure to let your dog set the pace and proper distance for him or her increasing both gradually,” Robinson explained.

Hit the trails

Head to a trail for your run. It will be easier for your dog to run on a trail than asphalt, health.com reported. Asphalt can also easily burn your pup’s feet, even if it doesn’t feel hot to you. If your dog will wear them, buy protective booties to prevent irritation from sticks and rocks on trails as well, Robinson said. The natural sights and smells are also beneficial and can make your run more enjoyable. If you are headed into the woods, remember to provide your dog with flea and tick protection!

Use a leash

For safety, keep your dog on a leash and run a bit behind or at least next to him or her, with some slack in the leash. This will allow you to have more control over your furball if he or she sees a rabbit or other woodland creature that they’d like to play with. Robinson noted that a harness is more appropriate than a collar and she does not recommend retractable leashes. 

For serious runners, you may want a runner’s leash that goes around your waist so that your dog is secured but your arms are free in case you trip and have to catch yourself.

Bring water

Just like you need water while running, your pup does too. Bring enough water for both of you, and don’t forget a bowl for your furry friend. Click here for a fancy collapsible one that’s easy to store in a fanny pack or backpack during a run.

Looking for other activities to keep your doggo entertained this summer? We’ve got you covered. Don’t forget to connect with us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter for more important dog info, Embark dog stories, and more!

For the last decade, Ashley has been honing her skills as a multimedia content creator, including working in live television for a top 10 market station. She is now the Communications Manager at Embark Vet and lives in the Boston area with her dog-like cat, Cody.