8 Tips for Running with Your Dog

8 Tips for Running With Your Dog

Written by K9 Partners for Patriots

August 22, 2018

8 Tips for Running with Your Dog

by | Aug 22, 2018 | Articles, Pet Safety

Regular exercise is a key element for living a healthy lifestyle. This is also true for our pets. Dogs that get regular exercise are fit, healthy, better behaved, obedient and alert. Regular exercise improves bone and muscle strength, weight management and cardiovascular fitness. Including your dog in your exercise routine is great motivation and they are reliable, enthusiastic participants. Participating in a 5K run/walk with your dog is a fun way to spend quality time with your pooch. But before hitting the trails with your pup, it is important to establish a few safety guidelines.

Health Check-Up

Consult with your veterinarian before starting an exercise program with your dog. Vets can recommend optimal length of time and intensity and help tailor an exercise regimen suitable for your pet’s special needs. Some breeds struggle with breathing (bulldogs) and may do better with shorter, more frequent walks.

Size Up Your Animal

Large breeds with long legs can walk further and run longer than small dogs with shorter legs. Develop the length of your walk based on the size of your pup. Again, speaking to your vet is a place to start.

Start Out Slow

What is your dog’s current fitness level? If you are just beginning an exercise routine with your pup, start slow. Like humans, you have to start slowly and progress gradually to avoid injury and/or heat related stress. This is especially true for puppies, senior, or overweight dogs.

Listen and Watch for Signs of Fatigue

As the saying goes, your dog really is your best and most loyal friend. They will follow you anywhere – literally until they drop. Watch your pal for signs of fatigue and adjust accordingly. Be mindful of the heat and humidity. Make sure you bring water for you and your dog. Periodically check the pads of your dog’s paws for cracking and excessive wear. Avoid trails with sharp rocks and hot surfaces such as pavement, and concrete. If you run on the beach, run or walk on wet sand avoiding the sugar sand as much as possible. Try to pick shady routes where your dog can run or walk in the grass.


Always bring water on longer walks and on warm days. Avoid hot and humid days altogether. Dogs cool themselves by panting, and like humans, they struggle to stay cool on hot and humid days. If they can’t efficiently cool themselves, they can develop heatstroke which can be fatal. Try to exercise at cooler times of the day (in the early morning and after dusk).

Run and Walk

For most breeds, especially smaller dogs, walking is the perfect activity, while others prefer to run-walk or run. It also depends on the dog itself. Again, your vet is a wealth of information. Consult with your vet. A combination of running for short durations and walking is best for most breeds.

Keep your dog on a leash and make sure they have identification. This is a best practice that will keep you and your dog safe.

Warm Up First

Always start every training session with a walk to warm up and gradually build from there. Walk at a level of effort that is easy for you and your dog.

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