Running outside comes with tons of perks, but one of the best is being able to bring your dog along. They're the perfect exercise companion because there's no skipping out on a workout when you see that excited grin and wagging tail. Now that temps and humidity levels have risen, here are some things to consider in order to keep your dog happy and prevent heat exhaustion.
- Ease into training: If you've never taken Spike out running before, ease into it, especially if he's overweight. Start off with 10-minute workouts that include running and walking to not only build his endurance, but also to get him used to running alongside you on a leash, or to train him to run freely in the woods without running away. Gradually increase the duration of the workouts to prevent pushing him too hard too soon. Remember — dogs can suffer from heat stroke and injuries, too.
- Check the weather: It's no fun to exercise on a 95 degree day with 80 percent humidity — for either one of you. Check the weather the night before and be flexible with your workout time, choosing cooler times of the day to get your run in. Your dog may be really sad and whine when you shut the door, but if it's way too hot, it's best to leave him at home in the air conditioning.
- Consider the surface: Asphalt and concrete can be too hot for furry feet, and rocks and gravel may cause cuts, so stick to dirt roads or sandy trails. After the run, check your dog's pads for cracking or other injuries.
Keep reading for more safety tips when it comes to running with your dog in the heat.
- Seek out water: A dog's fur coat doesn't offer the same wicking benefits as your Lululemon top and can actually put him at risk for overheating much faster than you. One way to keep Rover cool is to exercise near a water source. Choose a route along a lake, river, or ocean so your pooch can jump in to cool off and lap up some H2O whenever he needs it. Exercising near water also tends to be cooler and breezier, so you'll prevent overheating as well. If you don't live near water, bring along a water bottle and a collapsible bowl, periodically giving your dog water breaks. If your dog is of the superfurry variety, a short Summer 'do will keep him much cooler on runs. Consider taking him to the groomer during the sunny season.
- Accessorize: Cooler times of day tend to be early in the morning or late in the evening, when the sun isn't that bright. Keep him safely visible to you and others with a light-up collar.
- Look for warning signs: Dogs are all about go-go-going, so it's not like yours will stop and let you know he needs a break. Keep a watchful eye on your dog, and notice whether he's struggling to keep up, panting excessively, or limping. Take breaks throughout your workout to give him a chance to catch his breath, rest his muscles, and grab a few laps of water. If he seems to be having a really hard time, don't hesitate to cut your run short and take him home.