I love running with my dog, Bonnie, because it's a way for us to both get some exercise and fresh air, and I know I appreciate the company. It makes me feel a little safer when running alone, and it also makes the time go by faster.
Before you lace up your running shoes and leash up your dog too, consider these pet exercise tips.
- It's not good for puppies' developing muscles and bones to run consistently for long periods of time. Wait until your dog is at least one year old or more. If she is older or overweight, running may be too hard on her joints, so stick to walking.
- Consider your dog's breed. If she is a Pug or other dog with a short nose, walking might be better than running to limit breathing difficulties. If your dog is a large breed such as a Standard Poodle, running long distances may be hard on her joints, so opt for short runs.
- Build up your dog's endurance gradually. Start off with short intervals of alternating between walking and running. Even though your dog may want to keep going, you don't want to overexert her too quickly and risk an injury.
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- Don't get frustrated if your dog has a hard time staying next to you, pulls on the leash, or stops constantly to smell things. Practice makes perfect, so be patient. It may take some time for her to get used to being on a short leash and running beside you at your pace.
- Asphalt and concrete can be too hot for furry feet, and rocks and gravel may cause cuts. Monitor your dog’s pads for cracking and wear.
- Dogs overheat easily, so avoid exercising in hot weather. Make sure to carry water with you or exercise near water so your pup can hydrate and cool off.
- Dogs like routines, so if you establish a regular exercise time, you’ll never have to self-motivate. Your dog will beg you to get up and get going.