Having a dog as an exercise partner can provide the motivation you need on the days you don’t feel like running, strengthen the bond between the two of you and make any boring run fun! There are a few things to consider before grabbing the lead and getting your trainers on, but we have put together some advice to help you go running safely with your pet.
Things to consider before going running with your dog
Your dog’s age and health
If your dog is a little older, is overweight or has existing health conditions, it’s best to speak to your vet before going out on a jog or run with your pooch. They’ll be able to provide you with the all clear or give you some advice specific to your dog’s health.
If your dog is still a pup, they won’t be ready to go running until they’re fully grown as their bones and joints are still developing.
The length and route of the run
If you’re a seasoned runner, you’re probably used to longer distances and all sorts of terrain but if your dog is new to the running scene, they’ll need to work up to your level. Pick shorter and level routes to begin with and increase as you and your dog progress.
Walking the route prior to the run can prepare you for the difficulty of the terrain, allow you to plan breaks and recognise any potential hazards.
The pace they can manage
Don’t try to push your dog too much while out running and run at their pace, instead of trying to get them to match yours. This will make the run much more enjoyable for everyone.
Time to warm up and cool down
If you’re putting time aside for your run, don’t forget to include the time to warm up and cool down. Us humans know just how painful it is the next day when we skip these vital steps, and they’re just as important for our canine friends.
Warming up their muscles can help protect them against injuries to muscles, tendons, ligaments and joints while cooling down can helps reduce the risk of stiffness.
Enough room for supplies
Before heading out on your run you might want to consider taking some supplies. These could include:
- Water to keep you and your dog hydrated
- A folding water bowl for your dog
- First aid kits in case one of you gets hurt
- Poo bags as you still need to pick up after your pet
- A mobile phone in case of an emergency (or you get lost!)
Staying safe when out running with your dog
After preparing for your run and heading out with your dog, it’s important to remember that things can change while you’re exercising.
Keep an eye on your dog
Always look for signs that your dog might be feeling unwell, getting tired or in need of a break.
Look for patches of shade
If the sun is getting too warm or has come out of hiding from behind the clouds, patches of shade can provide a cool break for you and your dog to enjoy some water and catch your breath.
Always stay alert
Keep an eye out for any signs and always adhere to what they say. If your running route takes you through fields remember that unused land can suddenly be used for grazing animals or farming machinery could start to work on it so it’s important to stay alert to your surroundings and to keep an eye on your dog. Put them back onto a lead when signs say to and when near roads or farm animals.
Which breeds are the fastest dogs?
Most dogs will love to run but some of them are naturally faster runners than others, we look to see if there are any similarities between these fast breeds and our accident and injury claims.
Border Collies, Greyhounds, Jack Russell Terriers, German Shepherds and Whippets are all amongst the top fastest breeds in the world, and they all appear in Animal Friends’ top 10 breeds for accident and injury claims.
On average, these claims cost our customers around £569 (based on Animal Friends 2019 claims data), and it shows the importance of keeping our dogs, regardless of their speed or breed, safe while out and about.
And that’s it! Our top tips on making your dog the perfect work out partner while keeping them safe and healthy.