Running with a dog

Dogs can be great motivators when it comes to running. Sometimes when you are feeling lazy to go out and exercise, having a dog jumping all over you, begging for its daily dose of exercise, could be the catalyst that pushes you to go out there for a run.

Sometimes you're feeling lazy and just don't want to exercise. That's where a dog will come in handy.

Sometimes you’re feeling so lazy and just don’t want to exercise. That’s when a dog will come in handy.

Running offers benefits to both humans and canines

And running daily, does offer many benefits, not only to people, but also to the dog. For example, it strengthens the cardiovascular system, prevents obesity as well as insomnia, makes you and your dog more alert and also improves your and your dog’s general mood from day to day.

A good amount of exercise for the average dog, in order to stay fit and healthy, would range from two 15 minute to 30 minute walks daily, depending on the breed and type of dog.

Not all dogs are suitable for all types of runners though

However, depending on what type of runner you are, not all breeds of dogs may be suitable to meet your needs. So do your research before you rush out there and get a dog as your exercise companion. For example, a younger dog may be more eager to exercise – and will want to go faster. But an older dog should not be allowed to run too fast because it will put too much stress and pressure on its body – even though it might try its best to keep up with you.

Dogs with shorter legs are not suitable for endurance runners.

Dogs with shorter legs are not really suitable for endurance runners.

Also, for endurance runners, racing breeds such as Greyhounds and Whippets are more suitable, if you want your dog to be able to keep up with you for at least a few kilometres, perhaps about five to six depending on the speed you are doing. However just don’t expect any type or breed of dog to last an entire marathon – because simply put, they are not built for pushing themselves that hard. So if you want to run a 30km training session before your marathon, you might have to prepare yourself to bring a pack big enough to carry your dog at some point in time – if you’re bringing it along.

But for those who prefer running or walking short distances only, just to keep themselves fit, then either a dog with shorter legs or a small dog may be a better choice, such as a poodle. That’s because such dogs do not have the capacity to go very far and they will tire easily with longer distance running.

Keep an eye out on warning signs that you are pushing your dog too hard

Constantly watch your dog for warning signs that it's over-exerting itself. (Photo:

Constantly watch your dog for warning signs that it’s over-exerting itself.

If you are running with your dog, though, do keep an eye out on your dog and make sure that you heed the warning signs that you might be pushing your dog too hard. This is quite different to running with another human companion who can simply yell out to you when it’s enough. This is also because a dog’s nature is to try to keep up with its human friend. Keep an eye out for the dog developing an unsteady gait, panting and/or swaying from side to side. They show that the dog needs a break, and if you fail to notice such signs in your dog, then it may develop heatstroke.

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