We humans need exercise just as much as our dogs do. At the tails.com offices, we often see owners running with their dogs across the green in Richmond. We often watch these healthy people run past whilst we’re enjoying Bacon Sandwich Friday.
Our friends at Bach Canine Rehab have kindly put together a post of things to keep in mind to help avoid injuries and keep your dog healthy and safe.
“Firstly, it is important to mention that not all dogs are built for running! Of course little bursts of excitement are completely natural for all dogs however prolonged running activity is not for everyone, and for some breeds running can lead to an increased risk of injury. The types of dogs that are not well suited include long backed dogs with short legs, such as Dachshunds, Shih tzus and Basset Hounds. And dogs with short muzzles, such as Pugs, French and English Bulldogs, Pekingese and Boston Terriers, find it harder to breathe, pant and cool themselves down.
Also keep in mind that giant and heavy build breeds will take far more concussive impact through their joints when running, so this type of exercise is not really appropriate for these dogs either. Any dog that has orthopaedic complications (problems with their joints) or is overweight is better suited to gentle exercise regimes without the prolonged concussive impact of going for a run.
The age of your dog is also an important consideration. It is crucial to remember that young dogs’ skeletons must be fully developed and matured before they become your running buddy. This has usually taken place by 12-18 months of age. Similarly, older dogs may well find running overly intensive.
Once you are happy your dog is able to run with you, time to prepare for your run. Try to leave a gap of 1-2 hours before and after the run when feeding your dog.
Just like us, dogs benefit from a warm up and cool down either side of the run. Keep your dog on the lead or walking with you for the first 10-15 minutes to allow their muscles to warm up and engage. Repeat this protocol after your run to help prevent muscles becoming stiff and sore.
Running on the road is highly concussive which has greater impact on joints so plan a route where you can also run on grass or softer track. It is best to run with your dog off lead somewhere it is safe to do so, so that they are able to establish a comfortable easy running pace; and sniff and toilet when they need to.
Also choose the time of day, route and length of run carefully – on hot days, it is worth taking it easy and maybe saving runs for cooler days, early mornings and late evenings. If your pooch is new to running, start with shorter runs and build up slowly, allowing their strength and fitness to improve gradually.
Finally, always remember to bring water for your canine running buddy, and poo bags of course.”
To see the wonderful work that Bach Canine Rehab do, visit www.bachcaninerehab.co.uk.