Regular exercise is one of the best things you can do to yield a healthy lifestyle. This is the same for our four-legged friends as well! Dogs who are fit are healthy, alert, and balanced. Running with your dog helps improve cardiovascular fitness, strength, and weight management. We came up with some steps that you need to take before you sign your pup up to run in a 5k (or any other race) with you.
- Check with the veterinarian. It is a good idea to consult with your vet before you start an exercise program with your dog. The good thing about vets is that they can recommend the type of intensity for the program and focus on your pet’s needs.
- Start out slowly. Just like humans, you must start with where they are fitness-wise, and progress very slowly to avoid injury. Keep in mind that this is especially true if your dog is a puppy, older, or overweight.
- Pay close attention to signs of fatigue. Watch your dog for signs of fatigue and adjust accordingly. It is important to listen to their breathing rate along the way. If you notice that they are struggling, slow your pace.
- Hydration is key. Provide cool water before, during, and after the walk or run. The last thing you want to do is allow your dog to get dehydrated. Also, avoid hot and humid days!
- Run and walk. Do not be afraid to walk and run. For smaller dogs, walking is the perfect activity. You may be more prone to run more with a larger dog. Identify the size of your dog and choose the best exercise.
- Keep them leashed. Keep your pup leashed and ensure that they have proper identification. It keeps you and your dog safe.
- Warm up. It is best to start all training sessions with a walking warmup that begins with an easy effort walking pace and progressively builds to a brisk walk.
Before you know it, it’s almost time for race day! Go out there and enjoy the run with your four-legged friend. Praise them for their hard work during the race and when it comes time to cross the finish line, it’s time to celebrate the huge accomplishment!