With the warmer weather it’s tempting to take your best friend for a run. Here are some tips from Dr. Caroline Patten, of Liberty Vet Clinic, to keep it safe and fun.
Training Is Key
Your dog needs to build up his stamina for longer runs just like you do. Start your dog on shorter runs and see how he tolerates them. If he does well and can keep up with you without overheating, you can slowly increase the length of his runs.
Know Your Breed
The size of the dog does not matter, but the breed can make a difference.
Many small breed dogs can tolerate long runs. Some breeds of dogs are not good for running. Brachycephalic breeds (breeds with a shortened face), such as pugs and bulldogs, are not built for long distance running.These types of dog breeds can overheat easily.
Other breeds are prone to orthopedic problems, and so they do not make good running partners. Some dogs also do not enjoy running with their owner.
You must take your dog’s personality into account. For many dogs, running with their owner is an enjoyable activity. Other dogs would prefer to play fetch, or just lounge on the couch.
Dogs do not sweat to cool off like people do. They use panting as their main mechanism for cooling.
If your dog is panting heavily with his tongue hanging out of the side of his mouth, it is time to give him a rest. Provide plenty of fresh cold water and let your dog rest in the shade. If you are by the Wissahickon you can let your dog walk in the creek to cool off.
If your dog starts limping while you are out for a run, that is a sign he needs a break. You may notice a limp because your dog holds a leg up, or bobs his head when running or walking.
If you notice these signs, you should stop running. Let your dog rest at home for a week and if the limping resolves, try going for a shorter run next time. If the limping continues, have your dog examined by a veterinarian.
Dogs do not need any special meals, supplements, or vitamins for running. As long as your dog eats a healthy balanced dog food they will have everything they need nutritionally.
However, there are supplements that can help dogs with arthritis in their joints. If your dog has arthritis, you may want to try a glucosamine and chondroitin supplement, or fish oil. Fish oil contains omega 3 fatty acids which can reduce inflammation in joints caused by arthritis.
The Atlantic recently featured a great article with some recent research and even more information on running with your dog