8 Tips on How to Jog with your Dog
Our A to Z post for the letter “J” is one of our favorite fitness activities to do with our dogs – JOG. Absolutely, one of the best exercises you can do with your dog is jogging or running. For some people, those might mean the same thing, while for others, the difference is the speed (or intensity) of the exercise.
Today, we will focus on jogging, which to us means a slower paced run. There are many reasons why you should jog with your dog: 1) you get fit, 2) your dog gets fit, and 3) it helps build a lasting bond between you and your dog. Jogging is also a lot easier on the body (and mind) than running because it is performed at a more comfortable pace that keeps your heart rate and breathing steady and only slightly elevated.
If you are interested in starting to jog with your dog, consider these tips to help you maximize the benefits and enjoyment from your new activity.
8 Tips on Jogging with your Dog
See your vet. You should check with a ‘dog doc’ before embarking on an exercise program and keep them up-to-date with any changes in your dog’s activity levels or symptoms that might indicate a health or orthopedic issue. They can also advise you on a safe age to start if you have a puppy. While you are thinking about it, go get a checkup yourself.
Start at the proper age. Let your puppies bone strengthen and set first before starting a jogging program. Their muscular-skeletal systems are still forming and are not ready for the stress that jogging can put on their frames. Six months to one year is the minimum age your puppy needs to reach before starting a jogging program. Your vet will let you know when it is safe to start.
Start with modest time and distance. As with people, dog’s need to build a fitness base gradually or risk over-training injuries. Start with short distances and gradually build up each week. Don’t increase mileage more than 10-20% from week to week. If your dog seems extra tired or sluggish around the house during an increase in mileage phase, back off a bit and re-evaluate next week’s plan.
Cross train. Incorporate other types of exercises into your dog’s routine on days when they are not jogging. Try some core and balance work.
Adjust the program based on the weather. Dogs don’t sweat in the heat nor can they wear layers of outerwear to protect them from frigid conditions. Jog in the early morning in the summer and in the winter, watch for ice patches and wind chill effects.
Don’t over feed. Many people fall into the common trap of over feeding their dog due to over estimating how many calories the dog burns on a jog. To estimate your dog’s daily calorie needs, use the Slimdoggy app if you have an iPhone or try our new web tracker.
Make sure that your dog is well trained on the leash. I recommend that you do some leash training before starting the program. Jogging with a dog who is not properly leash trained can result in injury to both of you. Bonus tip: try a harness like the one from WalkinSync. It can provide an extra level of control without risk of hurting your dog’s neck.
Stay alert. Be cognizant of exogenous factors that could influence the level of effort and safety for the activity. If you are on the trails, scan for terrain changes, wildlife challenges, and other dogs/people/bicycles that could cause an issue and react accordingly before there is a problem. Same holds true for urban runs. Watch for vehicles, other dogs, people, etc. that could cause a problem.
Please enjoy our FitDog Friday Blog Hop brought to you by SlimDoggy and our co-hosts Peggy’s Pet Place and To Dog With Love. Join the Hop or just enjoy the links below – lots of fun fitness tips and advice!
Remember, the fun of a Blog Hop is to share our blogs and visit the other hoppers, so please hop around and say hello to everyone!
We’re joining the A to Z Challenge and keeping our own Blog Hop of all our A to Z posts. Feel free to join the Hop with your A to Z Challenge post!