Can Your Dog Run With You?

dog running

dog running

Have you decided to take up running or jogging as a New Year’s Resolution for this year?

If so, you might be wondering whether you can get your dog involved to keep them fit too. This can be a great opportunity to build a stronger bond with your pet but it’s not suitable for all dogs.

Here are our tips for deciding whether it’s safe for you and your dog to run or jog together.

Check With Your Vet

Before you get going, let your vet know about your intentions. They will be able to confirm that it is fine to go ahead with your plans based on your dog’s general health. This can be particularly important for older dogs and breeds that could experience issues while running. Your vet can also advise on the type(s) of runs that are best suited to your dog’s breed.

Does Age Matter?

Puppies can cope with short bursts of activity but shouldn’t attempt longer runs while their bones are still developing. Older dogs can still exercise but this will often be at a more sedate pace.

Which Dog Breeds Are Best Suited as Running Partners?

Not all dogs are well suited to a gruelling run so it may be this that determines whether your dog can go running with you. Some breeds are better suited to shorter runs while others are ideal companions on longer outings. Terriers, retrievers and “working dogs” in general are perfect partners for long runs, for example.

Some breeds can have issues with certain types of runs, for example:

  • Bulldogs and pugs can easily overheat, which makes them ill suited to longer runs.

  • Border Collies are prone to hip dyslasia and this can become more likely with running.

  • Dogs with short muzzles and short legs can find longer runs challenging and are better suited to shorter, less strenuous jogs.

Small dogs can struggle with running and it’s often recommended that you stick to walking with pets of this size.

Training

Whatever age your dog is, he or she should have successfully learnt how to walk and stay calm on a leash before you start running with them.

Start Slowly

Build up your dog’s fitness and stamina gradually, even for energetic and boisterous breeds. Your dog’s paw pads are sensitive and will not cope well with the amount of distance being covered compared to normal everyday activities. Start off with shorter runs to let your dog get used to it and build upwards from there.

Keep Hydrated

Unlike humans, dogs do not sweat to release heat. This can make it more challenging to know whether the pace and length of your workout is proving too strenuous for your dog. Look for signs such as heavy panting, slowing down and limping. Keep your dog hydrated during a run, as well as before and afterwards.

Do you work out with your dog? Let us know in the comments section below!

 [Photo Credits: Tim Shields BC]

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  • Mick Cotter

    Yes we do we have a Staff/Lurcher cross and he runs regularly during the week and most Sundays will easily cope with 16-22 miles. He’s built up the mileage gradually like any runner, we do scale it down a bit if it’s hot, but as we run along the canal he’s learnt to take a dip now and again.

  • Heather

    I run with my happy flat-coated retriever and he is brilliant company and motivation. We run beside reservoirs mainly so he always gets a cooling swim and a drink along the way. Great fun, super bonding and a fabulous addition to a training/exercise regime for dog and owner.

  • Kerry

    Yes, my parents lab loves going for a run, she can easily cover 5 miles and is still raring to go when she gets home!

  • Frances Ward

    l have Multiple Sclerosis – and cannot walk – so l use a Tramper scooter to get about on. lt is all-terrain, so my two Rotties and Romanian Shepherd run along with me over the fields and woods. They are all rescue dogs – and are very fit. The steady pace of the scooter gets them ‘pacing’ well – good for their confirmation. My daughter takes her English Bull Terrier out with her on her bicycle – he has a harness that connects to a safety bar connected to under her saddle. This prevents him from getting near the wheel. He too is slim and fit.

    • David G

      I have MS too, and find the walking exhausting. I’ve decided to try my hand at getting my Rescue Cross (Pudsey-type) used to the mobility scooter but worried he may get tangled up with the wheels. It is a Breeze 3 model and quite heavy at 135kgs so would cause considerable harm should I run him over…he never walks/trots in a straight line! First thing is to get him unafraid of it and then try around the garden with him on my lap.
      Then the walks can be much longer if we get a good summer. I have high hopes as he is very intelligent and should get the idea quickly.