As all pet parents know, dogs need exercise. Going for a walk with your pet is one of the easiest ways to exercise both human and canine. Kick it up a notch and ease into jogging with your dog. Here are three easy steps to start:
1. What breed and age is your dog?
Like humans, some dogs are more suited to running. Match your activity level with your ideal dog breed:
- Long, steady runs: Labrador retrievers, poodles, and dalmatians
- Short, quick runs: Beagles, and Golden and Labrador retrievers
Overall, medium-sized dogs with an enthusiastic attitude and plenty of energy make the best jogging partners. Short-nosed breeds like pugs and bulldogs have difficulty breathing on strenuous jogs, so go easy on them!
It is important to note:
- Do not start training your canine companion too young; puppies’ growing bones are vulnerable to injury.
- Only pets older than nine months and younger than ten years old should engage in jogging.
- Senior dogs’ joints can ache from arthritis or hip dysplasia.
- Short walks are actually healthy for older dogs, but jogging can cause pain or injury.
No matter what your pet’s age, get him or her checked out by your vet before you begin any serious training; strenuous jogging can exacerbate any minor, unnoticed injury.
2. Work up to it.
Do not try and make a couch potato pet into a hard-core athlete in a day. Overweight pets need to shed some pounds before they are ready to pound the pavement. Start by walking three times a week at a steady pace for 15 to 20 minutes. Add five minutes to the time every week, and gradually increase your pace.
3. Watch for signs of fatigue.
You can tell if Simba’s had enough if you notice any of the following symptoms:
- Flattened ears
- Tucked-down tail
- Heavy panting
- Dragging hind legs
- Laying down and refusing to get up
Too much exercise and your pooch will be lethargic afterwards; skip the next walk to allow your pet to recover.
4. Teach your pet running etiquette.
- Always control your dog with a leash or harness. This allows you to keep your pet on the beaten path and teach him or her not to stop for potty breaks every few meters.
- If you’re jogging on a street, direct your pet to the inside, away from the road.
- Always keep your pet within a 1-meter radius of you. If you’re on a narrow path and another jogger comes along, step off to the side and prevent your pet from interacting with him or her – not everyone loves dogs.
- And most importantly, always pick up after your pet!
Jogging with your pet can be a fun, healthy way to bond. However, not every dog is suited to running a marathon, and some pets flat out shouldn’t because of breed, health, or age restrictions. Work up to long jogs and enjoy the time you spend with your pet!