Running With Your Dog – Races and Tips

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runningRichard Christian posted this awesome piece with tips on how to run with your dog.  In addition, he lists some races where you can test yourself against other fit furballs (and owners).  You can read the full piece here:

All Pet News Running With Your Dog – Races and Tips » All Pet News

Richard summarizes the benefits of running with your dog succinctly in his opening paragraph which I have copied here (italics are mine):

There are so many benefits to running with your dog. First, it’s healthy for both of you. Second, it’s a sure fire way to bond with each other. Third, It’ll tire out your dog like nothing else. Fourth, if you need some motivation to run a little farther, or push a little harder, your dog is a great workout partner.

Richard then goes on to list some tips on how to safely run with your dog.  Read these please!  Here’s my take on the top three plus one more that he forgot to mention:

1. Start at the proper age. Let your puppies bone strengthen and set first before starting a running program.  6 months to 1 year is the minimum age your puppy needs to reach before starting a running program.  Ask your vet! (see next on list).

2. 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 where your puppy can start

3. Build a base and “taper up”. As with people, dog’s need to build a fitness base gradually or risk over-training injuries.  Start slowly and with short distance and gradually build distance and speed.  Try using the 10-20% rule– don’t increase mileage more than 10-20% from week to week. For example, if you run 6 miles with your dog in week 1, plan on extending that by no more than 1/2- 1 1/4 miles in week 2. (Note- many people use 10% as the cap but I have always used 10-20%).  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.

4. Track and keep accurate history of exercise activity and diet. Use the SlimDoggy app to log your dog’s activities and to determine proper feeding amounts. This will be very useful for you as you modify their diet to accommodate the added activity PLUS you will be able to have a digital history of your dogs exercise levels and feeding amounts to look back on and share with your vet if need be.

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