As a dog owner, your best canine companion can be many things.  Stoic protector.  Enthusiastic playmate.  Faithful confidant.  However, on top of all these roles, your dog may also make for a fantastic exercise partner.  Chances are, this does not come as a surprise.  It is difficult to step foot in any park or on any path without seeing pleasant pairs of people & pups out for a leisurely (or sometimes not so leisurely) jog.  If you think jogging with your pup may be for you – that’s great!  There will be many memorable and fulfilling times ahead.  But before you begin running with your dog, take a moment to consider these five things:

  1. Your Dog’s Condition – Just as you would not take another person out for a run before first understanding their physical condition and limitation, you should not assume your dog’s endurance is limitless.  Depending on your best friend’s current lifestyle, he may or may not be in the proper physical condition for a distance run.  Aside from your dog’s physical condition, a dog’s breed will play a part in his ability to run.  Some dogs were bred to run – such as huskies or greyhounds.  Before running with your dog, consult with your veterinarian.
  2. The Temperature Outside – Be sure to make note of the temperature before going for a run – especially when it’s exceptionally hot or cold.  Remember that your dog is always wearing a fur coat, so try not to put him in a position where he may overheat.  If possible, carry a portable water bowl for your pup.
  3. The Surface You’re Running On – Until Nike comes out with a fresh pair of canine running kicks, your dog will be running without shoes.  While a dog’s paws are designed to handle tough surfaces, you will lessen the chance of potentially hurting your dog if you keep to soft surfaces – think grass or dirt paths.  Pavement is not bad in small doses, but try to avoid lengthy spans if possible.
  4. Obedience Training – The success (or perhaps lack of success) you have experienced in your dog’s obedience training should also play a part in the decision of whether or not he will accompany you on your run.  While out, there are many things that could potentially endanger your exercise buddy – cars, cyclists, natural obstacles, even other dogs.  It is important to know that you have complete control of your pet before embarking on a jog.
  5. Sport Harness – When going out for a run, do not use your dog’s normal collar & leash combination.  Instead, a sport harness is a much safer and more comfortable way to keep control of your pet.  Sport harnesses run (pardon the pun!) anywhere from $14-$40 depending on the brand, functionality, and quality.

If you take note of the five items above, there is no reason you and your dog will not become the fittest pair on the block!  Happy jogging!