Dr. Amy Serino Moffatt 0000-00-00 00:00:00
Sometimes, there’s nothing better than a running companion, especially when they’re furry, have four legs, and are always ready to go just about anywhere. Dogs are perfect companions for running, and running can be just as beneficial for them as it is for the owner. However, like humans, dogs need a training period, too. As a veterinarian and owner of MobileVet Memphis, I’d like to share these things to consider before hitting the road with Fido . FITNESS WITH FIDO Dogs need time to get in shape, too. Dogs are like humans in that they can’t run long distances without some training first. Just like you had to, start slowly and build them up to more mileage over time. This is particularly important if your dog is relatively inactive or overweight. Consider a quick walk around the block for the first few times. Then build in short warm-up runs that end at your home where you can leave the dog before completing your run. Consider the weather before bringing your dog. Extreme heat can be deadly to animals, especially when they’re being active. Dogs don’t sweat, so the only way they can cool down is by panting — and they can only do so much of that before passing out. Never take dogs on long runs when the temperature is 90 degrees and higher. Water, water, water. Runners know the importance of hydration for themselves; the same goes for dogs. They should get plenty of water before and after a run. On warm days or long runs, bring extra water for your dog. Consider your dog’s breed. Some dog breeds are better suited for running than others. Some breeds, such as pugs, bulldogs, and other short-legged dogs, might not be good running companions. Short-legged dogs have trouble keeping up. Short-nosed dogs, like pugs, may have respiratory problems that get worse with lots of activity. Walking — not running — might be better for these breeds. Watch for injuries or signs of fatigue. Humans have great protection between their feet and the road: shoes. Dogs only have their paw pads. Repetitive pounding can wear on a dog’s paw pads, and hot or wet pavement can increase the chances for injury. Also, keep an eye out for broken glass. Watch for signs of fatigue, such as slowing down, wanting to lie down, or excessive panting. While some dogs don’t know when to stop, many will let you know. It’s important not to push a dog to the point of exhaustion. Above all else, remember it’s great for animals to be active, and the right running program can be a great benefit to you and your dog!
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