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I’m off for a run with my dog

Going for a run with your dog is a great way to go jogging without getting bored on a solitary exercise. But if we take care that our own physical exercise corresponds to our real energy needs, are we equally careful about our four-legged friend?  This is what you should do before putting on its harness for an open air run.

 

More than ever before, we always do everything in a rush nowadays. But if we are determined to go running, why not to do accompanied by our dog? Dog-running is an activity which not only is good for you, it also gives you a moment of pleasure to break the day’s routine, while offering you a delightful opportunity for reciprocal enjoyment that will boost your relationship with your four-legged friend.

In other words, going for a run with your dog brings you nothing but benefits. Such as:

  • running with your dog is fun: not because it’s a race to see who can run fastest, but to combine exercise with play, knowing that part of the time will be dedicated to off-piste activities and games, starting with plenty of cuddles…
  • running with your dog is gratifying: for all dogs, even those who spend too much time lying on the sofa, running is a basic natural instinct. This is one of the reasons why – during your fitness exercise – it’s more satisfying to have a dog by your side rather than a coach who keeps barking at you to run faster…
  • running with your dog is motivational: if your dog is used to regularly running with you, there may well come certain days – getting home from work, tempted to skip your run – when your dog will want to take you for a run! It will remind you loud and clear that it’s time for your run together, holding its harness in its mouth, wagging its tail and barking or whining imploringly at the door.
  • running with your dog is safer: late in the day on a winter afternoon, when darkness falls and running trails or facilities are sparsely frequented, running with a dog by your side is a more tranquil sensation than running alone. Even if your dog is the sweetest and shyest dog in the world, if a suspicious person approaches you’ll be amazed at how fearlessly protective it will become.

So far, however, we been listing the things that are good for human beings. But when there are six legs running, are you sure you know what is good for your dog? Here are some suggestions for running with your dog without harming its health and wellbeing in any way.

 

Running with your dog: guidelines for perfect six-legged running

A visit to the vet: if you intend to run regularly with your dog, you should first take it to the vet for a general check-up. Once it has been confirmed as being in good health, you can start your partnership in running.

Pre-jogging warm-ups: you do some stretching before running, right? Well, your dog should do so too, in order to gradually stretch its muscles. To do so, hold it still in front of you, facing ahead, then take a dog croquette and hold it in different positions: towards the left rear leg, the right rear leg, in-between the rear legs, and so on. When the stretching exercises are finished, set off walking, gradually walking faster until you start running.

No to collars: they make it more difficult to breathe and can damage its throat.

Yes to harnesses: the ideal harness is H-shaped, with the lead attached by a quick release leash, which will be more useful if you don’t want to be dragged after a fall, especially if your dog is large. After all, you’re going for a run together, not going water-skiing…

Water to drink: just like humans, dogs too become dehydrated by running. So, before leaving home, redouble your water bottles: an energy drink for you, and water for your friend. Or else be sure to choose a route where you know that there are fresh water fountains, which are also useful to refresh its coat.

Avoid asphalt: if you live in the city, try to run as much as possible in parks or areas with earth and grass: these are much more comfortable for your dog’s paws. And remember always that we have sturdy shoes that protect our feet and which allow us to run even on broken glass… but dogs don’t.

Avoid the midday sun in summer: you wouldn’t want to run in blazing sunshine, would you? Of course not. And neither would your dog. So, in the summer especially, run in the late afternoon or early evening.

Beach-running’s pros and cons: heat permitting, running with your dog on the beach is beneficial for its joints. But don’t forget that salt water damages its skin, which from this point of view is much more sensitive and delicate than ours. So, before turning to go home, remember to rinse it with fresh water in order to remove salt residue and so prevent dermatitis problems.

 

As time goes by: as your dog gradually grows older, you should reduce the length and duration of your running routes. But then again, given that time goes by for everything, the same process may well be suitable for yourself…

And to conclude, remember that pulling on your running shoes and attaching your dog’s harness is not sufficient in itself to ensure the pleasure of running together. Because if a dog is a man’s best friend, one of the dog’s best friends is first and foremost our own good sense.

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