National Running Day

National Running Day

Each year on the first Wednesday in June, runners everywhere lace up their sneakers and take to the trails in celebration of National Running Day. Have you ever thought about bringing your dog with you to enjoy nature and to get some good exercise?  You may be asking yourself if your dog is fit to go on a long run.  Your dog’s age, size, and coat thickness may determine how far and fast he or she can go, but with the A-OK from the vet, you and your furry companion can be running together in no time!


Before You Get Going

  1. Visit the vet and get the A-OK for exercise.  It is important to make sure that your dog is in good health and that running will benefit his or her body rather than harm it.
  2. Before partaking in any sort of exercise, a dog’s bone growth plates should be closed.  Some breeds mature and grow more slowly than others, so talk to your vet about the best exercise plan for your dog.National Running Day
  3. Your pup should understand and respond to basic training cues before you hit the ground running.  Literally. He or she should already be trained to walk on-leash without pulling ahead of you or throwing you off balance.  Your dog should also be able to sit and stay by your side when you stop at busy intersections.
  4. Make sure your dog is well socialized, especially since running trails and neighborhood parks are often frequented by other animals and people.
  5. Purchase a 4 to 6-foot leather or cotton leash and a well-fitting collar.  A harness is also recommended to prevent irritation to the throat, but be cautious of chafing on longer runs. Retractable leads are not recommended as you have less control over your dog.


Walk First, Then Run

Before you start at a full-on sprint, start your novice running companion off with a brisk walk.  You can slowly alternate between walking and jogging a few times a week, and gradually work up to solely running.  Always begin with a warm-up period to get the blood flowing, as well as a similar cool-down after your workout,  to slow the heart rate.


Be Prepared

Some dog breeds can handle hot temperatures, while others, such as Huskies, should not be exercised for a long period of time in the hot sun.  Just like humans, dogs can suffer heat stroke from hot temperatures and high humidity, so take caution and look for signs that your dog is overheating.  Some signs include excessive panting, drooling, lethargy, uncoordinated movement, or collapse.  Run in the early morning or later in the evening to avoid the time when the sun is strongest during the day.  If possible, choose a path with trees that create shaded trails, and avoid pavement that is in direct sunlight.  Hot pavement can burn the pads on your dog’s feet.

National Running DayIn cold temperatures, dogs with long, heavy coats have some protection against the frigid air, however short haired breeds need protection such as a fleece-lined jacket with a waterproof outer layer.  In the cold, beware of frostbite on your dog’s unprotected areas such as the ears, paws, and tail. Ice balls may form between your dog’s toes, and the chemicals used in salt and sand to melt ice on sidewalks may be dangerous and painful on your dog’s feet.  Always check your dog’s feet after a run whether the temperature is hot or cold. Check for blisters from the heat, or wash off salt and sand.

No matter the weather, carry a water bottle with you to keep yourself and your dog hydrated.  If you run with a backpack, you can pack a fold-able dog bowl with you to make it easier for your furry companion to take a drink of water during breaks.  You should also carry doggie bags with you to clean up any waste.


Do you like to run with your dog?   How do you get prepared to exercise together?  Let us know!