Thursday, July 21, 2016

Five Tips for Running with Your Dog

July 23rd is Clear the Shelters Day where animal shelters all over the US are waiving their adoption fees and offering other incentives to help animals find forever homes. In 2014, we were lucky enough to adopt our yellow Lab, Yogi, from a local rescue, California Labs and More. He's been a great addition to our family, all 119 pounds of him!

When we first got Yogi, I would take him running with me a lot. I don't run him quite as much any more as he gets tired pretty quickly. We usually do some light jogging within our walks. With his large frame, running a ton isn't exactly good for him. In fact, running with your dog isn't always an easy task and I thought I'd share my tips so your four-legged friend could become your best running friend too.

Before I continue, I'm linking up with the Friday Five link up hosted by Courtney at Eat Pray Run DC, Cynthia at You Signed Up for What and Mar at Mar on the Run. Be sure to show them some love!

Yogi getting ready to run!
1. Wait until your dog is done with the majority of his growing before hitting the roads. The primary purpose of our muscles is to support our skeletal system. When our muscles tire, it's difficult to keep our bones moving the way they should (which is why strength training is so important for runners - it builds muscle strength and endurance!), which increases our chance for injury. When muscles are not mature, they tire even more rapidly and the chances for injury are greater. This is true for puppies too. Talk with your vet to make sure your pup has finished the majority of his growing and is ready to pound the pavement with you. While you're at it, make sure your vet thinks your doggie is able to run with you. Not all breeds make good runners.

2. Just like you, dogs need to gradually increase their mileage. Don't expect your dog to handle a 3-mile run as soon as he joins your family (unless his previous owners were runners too). Ease into mileage the same way you would: try a run/walk interval, covering short distances at first and build up on a weekly basis. And try to keep the pace on an easy side until your dog has adapted to the mileage. Dogs will try to keep up with you or run their heart out even if it's exhausting them. They go until they can't go anymore. Pay attention to how alert your dog is, how labored their breathing is or if they're showing any other signs of distress. Give your pup a break and keep things easy until you know what your dog can handle.

3. Aim for soft surfaces whenever possible. You know how trails and grass are much softer on your joints than concrete and pavement? Same goes for your doggie's joints and paws too. Just be sure you know if dogs are allowed and if they need to stay on leash while on the trail.

4. Your dog needs to hydrate too! Be sure you're giving your dog enough water before and after as well as throughout your run.

5. For the safety of your dog, as well as your own, try to keep your dog close to you while running. Giving him too much leash can spell trouble: lots of zig-zagging, pulling or dragging. You can practice this while on your walks first and then work it into your runs. And don't forget your poop bags!

Yogi in recovery-mode 

Do you run with your dog? How often do you run together and where do you like to run?


  1. I'd love to have a dog to run with. I have a Cocker Spaniel, who is too little to run. We do walk together, tho! My neighbors have offered me their Malamute!

    1. A Malamute! You could sit on his back while he runs! Lol!

  2. Replies
    1. Thanks! Sleeping is one thing Yogi does amazingly well!

  3. Great tips! I love running with my dogs, too hot for them now... can't wait to start back up in the fall.

    1. Definitely too hot here too. Hope Fall arrives quickly!

  4. I have a lab too and i'd love to run with her but I don't because she's getting older. I would like to add to the list to be careful how hot the surfaces are. Your dogs can actually burn their paws on concrete and grave even if we don't think it's very hot. It happened to my lab. Just last month. Also wait an hour or so after your dog eats to run him. Large dogs like that can suffer from bloat and activity after eating can turn their stomachs and you do not want that to happen. Happy running to you and Yogi!