Approximately 44 percent of homes in the U.S. are homes to dogs. If you're one of the many dog owners in America, and you're also a runner, chances are that at some point in time you'll take your pup out for a jog.
The average runner in America covers just over 27 miles each week. While that might not be excessive for a healthy, fit human, it's a potentially exhausting distance for a dog, depending on its breed. If you're ready to start running with your dog, take a look at the following tips for keeping your dog safe and happy during your daily jogs.
Both you and your dog need enough water. Exercise, especially on a warm summer day, can quickly lead to dehydration. While you might stop for a water break the moment you feel those telltale signs of thirst, your dog may keep going - not alerting you to the fact that they need water right away.
Bring an extra bottle of water along for your dog when you go running. Symptoms of a dehydrated dog include drooling excessively, dry gums and low skin elasticity. Keep in mind, however, that these are late signs of dehydration. If you notice these red flags, your dog is already dehydrated and may need veterinary attention.
How well does your dog walk on a leash? If your pup isn't a pro at staying by your side, give them plenty of practice before running on the open road. Chances are that your dog's first run will be an exciting time for them. A dog who isn't used to staying on a leash and can't respond to basic commands may become unruly.
An unruly dog can not only make your run a challenge, but also put themselves in danger, especially if you run near busy roads. If your at-home training sessions don't work well, take your dog to a professional. A dog obedience class or one-on-one training sessions with an expert can help your pup follow directions and stay safe during the run.
You may already feel comfortable going on a one-hour run, but that doesn't mean your dog feels the same way. If your dog isn't used to serious activity, start slowly and gradually build up to your desired run time.
Begin with brief walks a few times a week. As your dog builds up their stamina, gradually increase the walks to jogs and then to runs. Increase the time of the run or the number of times that you take your dog out with you depending on how well your pup does.
Check with the Vet
It's likely that someone at some point told you to check with your doctor before starting a new exercise program. The same goes for your dog. Prior to starting a new running routine, bring your dog to the veterinarian for a check-up. Even if your dog seems healthy, the vet still needs to assess your canine companion's ability to keep up with you.
The vet visit also provides the perfect opportunity to ask any questions that you have. These may include questions about pet exercise safety, avoiding injuries or obedience and realistic behavioral expectations.
Along with a check-up, make sure that your dog is up to date on all of their vaccinations - especially if your dog will be around other pets. Don't assume that everyone is as responsible as you are. Other dogs may not have their vaccinations, putting your pup at risk.
Do you need to make a pre-running routine vet visit? Contact West Riverside Veterinary Hospital for more information.