Running with your Dog. Disease Prevention.

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We had a great response to the first installment of our “benefits of running with your dog” series where we discussed the mental benefits of running. Thanks to everyone for the great comments and for sharing our post. I hope that some folks were motivated to get out and run around with their dog because of it. This week, we will discuss a second benefit of running: disease prevention.


Running with your Dog and Disease Prevention

Running, and exercise in general, has been linked to increased lifespans and reduced disease risk in humans. In a paper published in the American Heart Association Journals, Meyers (2003) makes the stunning statements based on a review of the research literature:


As many as 250,000 deaths per year in the United States are attributable to a lack of regular physical activity. In addition, studies that followed large groups of individuals for many years have documented the protective effects of physical activity for a number of noncardiovascular chronic diseases, such as non–insulin-dependent diabetes, hypertension, osteoporosis, and colon cancer.


In the Meyers paper, there is a chart (shown below) that shows the inverse relationship between fitness level (as measured by metabolic units related to exercise intensity) and relative risk of death.


activity and risk of death


As if all of the above information is not enough reason to exercise, in a 2002 review in the Journal of Nutrition of near 170 prior research papers, Friedenreich and Orenstein conclude that:


The evidence for decreased risk with increased physical activity is classified as convincing for breast and colon cancers, probable for prostate cancer, possible for lung and endometrial cancers…


If this still isn’t enough to get you out running, think about your dog. It seems logical that dogs would achieve similar benefits from intense exercise like running. We can always point to the Purina Study for proof. This study followed the lives of Labrador Retrievers and found that the leaner dogs lived almost 2 years longer on average than did the fatter dogs.


Running with Your Dog: What are you waiting for?

With all of the evidence pointing to the fact that moderate to intense exercise like running can reduce the risk of disease and increase lifespans, the only remaining question is “what are you waiting for”? Of course, you should always check with your doctor and vet before dramatically changing your exercise routines. For those of us for whom running is not an option, find other moderate to high intensity activities that you can do with your dog. You will both have a lot of fun and will very likely live a longer and healthier life.



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  1. How bad is running on pavement for their joints? I hear mixed things. We’d have to trek a bit to find running trails that aren’t pavement.
    Tenacious Little Terrier recently posted…FitDog Friday #33 – Marquam Trail to Council CrestMy Profile

    • Well, it’s not great – for them or you, but if that’s all you have. Try to remember the temperature of the pavement too and run early in the day before it gets too hot. Pavement is better than concrete and dirt is better than both.
      mkob recently posted…Running with your Dog. Disease Prevention.My Profile

  2. I am not a distance runner but the dogs and I love intervals, lots of elevation gain on walks or hikes and epic (half marathon plus) treks so we get or moderate to intense exercise in! And it does feel great!!!

  3. Hi Y’all!

    My Human used to run on the beach with the Chessie Candy. Under the Memory tab there is a photo of her with waves behind her one of the last years she was up to doing it. Prior to her, my Humans had a Flatcoat and a Basenji which outran her on a vast vacant beach here that is now part of a huge wealthy housing development. In the east now almost every inch of beach is developed. Some allow dogs after certain hours or only certain times of the year.

    Y’all come by now,
    Hawk aka BrownDog
    Hawk aka BrownDog recently posted…Fitness FunMy Profile

  4. Great post, you know we are all fans of running, and have run at some point in our lives. Mom is so happy to have Bailie as a willing running partner. They both have lots of fun and get a good workout. I join now and then, but usually let those two go for it on their own and then I walk with Katie.
    Emma recently posted…Young And Old Dogs Need Cardio WorkoutsMy Profile

  5. Great information and yes makes me think about getting out and running, I do need to talk myself into it a little first. Wow 250,000 deaths would think that would be just in WI as I see a lot of people who have eaten too much cheese. Have a great day.
    Sand Spring Chesapeakes recently posted…FitDog Friday~Channel BlindsMy Profile

  6. Another great post! Veruca, being a tri-pawed dog, can\’t run that far or for long distance. But we get out and hike as much as possible and will dash up a hill when we can.

  7. I’m a huge believer that having a dog can really motivate you to move. I’ve seen it not just with ours, but with family and friends, especially the older generation. My Mom is in her 80’s and after losing my Dad the one thing that got her out of the house and moving was her dog. While she could shut out the rest of the world, that dog was her life line. She walked him and interacted with neighbors along the route and was forcd into conversations she wasn’t having with others. When she moved to where she lives today, he was her way of meeting people in her new neighborhood. She gets out and walks him and not only has the physical beni’s, but the social connections as well.
    Bailey recently posted…Friday Flowers: HostaMy Profile

    • Absolutely. I”m so glad your mom has her dog – it really does make a difference and keeping her social relationships is so important for your mom.
      mkob recently posted…Running with your Dog. Disease Prevention.My Profile

  8. wow! I can’t believe there are that many deaths related to lack of activity!!!! That is just crazy!!!!
    ღ husky hugz ღ frum our pack at Love is being owned by a husky!
    Jenna,Mark “HuskyCrazed” Drady recently posted…Pet Parade – Blanket Pod Pet IDMy Profile

  9. We are going to the beach soon too! But no running! Love Dolly
    Dolly the Doxie recently posted…FitDog Friday: Chicago Musuem Campus Lakefront WalkMy Profile

  10. Love a good beach day! Plus running on the sand is just that little bit more difficult!

  11. Great Post Slim Doggy! You know how we feel about running. Thanks for the informative post. Do.Run.Run
    DogTread recently posted…Form Good Workout Habits with Your DogMy Profile

  12. Hi
    Don’t forget to send me your link and nomination as it is Friday and I need to get it ready for Sunday. Hope that is OK.
    Have a fabulous Friday.
    Best wishes Molly
    Molly The Wally recently posted…Dog House Blog On Freaky Furry Friday!My Profile

  13. When Leo runs with my husband, he tears up his paw pads so badly. I need to find something to apply BEFORE he goes out there. Recently we’ve been riding our bicycles with the Woof Trotters attached. This works great because we’re ALL able to go along. We ride at a “trot” pace. It’s a fabulous workout for both Boys and Leo’s pads are not getting bruised as much. One day, I’ll be able to put the bike down and trot along with them. That’s my goal at least 🙂 Have a great weekend Slim
    Cathy recently posted…SEPARATION ANXIETYMy Profile

  14. As I’ve told you before, I can no longer run on my bad knee. However, Tucker, my Golden & I used to run every night prior to my injuries. Bentley only runs when he and Pierre are playing but…I have been giving him Revitamal all week and on last night’s walk, he began to run! I was like “What the heck is going on here?!” The change in him in one week is incredible with these drops on his food. I’m going to do more yard play with him, so he can run. It is very exciting!
    M. K. Clinton recently posted…Silver Paw Pet TagsMy Profile

  15. When I can run–look out, here I come!! And Mom and I do lots and lots of walking–always at a fast pace. Well, at least until last Sunday when she tore up her knee. But we’ll be back at it–it’s the best way for us to stay as fit as we are!!
    Sage recently posted…Council Crest HikeMy Profile

  16. Buddy and I average about 5 miles a day walking. No running, but lots of brisk walks.
    Buddy recently posted…Busy, Busy, BusyMy Profile

  17. Running sure has a lot of benefits and is a great way to keep in shape. Hope you are having a nice weekend.
    2 brown dawgs recently posted…RememberingMy Profile

  18. Very interesting! I knew running/exercise in General had loads of benefits, but I didn’t know about the cancer related ones. It makes sense though. Thanks for sharing! It’s great motivation for me to keep going and to stick with my exercise routine with Petal. 🙂
    Marquie recently posted…Hitting the TrailsMy Profile

  19. Since time always seems to be an issue for me, and I’m sure for many people, I like that I can get more results in a shorter amount of time when we run as compared to walking too.
    Jan K recently posted…Why I Love Summer – Sepia SaturdayMy Profile

  20. We did a nice hike on part of the Appalachian Trail this weekend! Great workout for both of us!
    Diane and Rocco
    Diane recently posted…How One Adopted Cat Rescued Ginny #AdoptaCatMonthMy Profile

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