Before going on a run with your pooch, take his or her breed into consideration. Brachycephalic dogs—breeds with “squashed” faces like pugs, bulldogs, Boston terriers, and the Pekingese—don’t do well when they’re over-exerted, especially in hot weather. It’s safest to avoid going on runs with these types of breeds altogether.
Muscly dogs like pit bulls and boxers, and even the Greyhound which we classically associate with running, aren’t necessarily built for long-distance. These breeds prefer to sprint rather than jog over a long period of time.
In general, the best dogs for jogging and/or long-distance running are Labradors, Retrievers, Border collies, pointers, and similar breeds. Certain small dogs, like the Chihuahua and Shih Tzu, can also make good running partners.
Check With Your Vet
Always check with your veterinary professional before taking your dog running with you. Even athletic dogs who are well-built for long-distance running may have certain health factors that prevent them from running safely. Age is another consideration; if your dog is elderly, they simply don’t have the stamina to run for miles on end. Your veterinarian can also give you advice on proper running gear for dogs and tell you how to prepare your pooch for long-distance treks.
Choosing a Route
Softer surfaces like grass or dirt will be a bit easier on your dog’s paws, joints, and paw pads than hard pavement or concrete. Plus, pavement can heat up dramatically in hot weather, potentially scorching your dog’s feet. Try to avoid gravel surfaces, as pieces can get lodged painfully between your dog’s toes. Do your best to choose a route without a lot of traffic.
During Your Run
Rule number one for running with your dog: take it slow at first, and don’t overdo it. Give your dog frequent breaks, especially early on. If you see your canine companion becoming tired or if they’re lagging behind, it’s time to stop. It’s also a good idea to bring along a bottle of water for your dog to prevent dehydration, but don’t give them too much at once.
For more information on running with your dog, contact your vet’s office.