Running Wild

5 quick tips for dog safety while jogging

By Jamie Barnes

It’s a beautiful summer Saturday morning in Georgia. You woke up early and finished that hand painted chalice for your best friend’s Bachelorette party next weekend. You had just enough money on your Starbucks gift card to pay for a tall French Vanilla Latte, your favorite. You made it to your Pilates class on time, for once. After lunch you try on that fringe white bikini you bought last year and to your absolute delight , it fits almost perfectly. You’re having a great day! You have a renewed motivation for diet, exercise, and life and general. And even though it’s the middle of the afternoon, you decide to go for a run.

Kingston, your 8 year old Golden Retriever raises his head from the oversized pillow you bought for him to nap on. His tail begins wagging as soon as he’s sees your worn New Balance tennis shoes in hand. Kingston is the love of your life. He cuddles with you when you feel sad. He sits by your feet while you answer your boss’s annoying emails. And you swear up and down he can sense if a man is datable from a mile away. It only takes you a second to realize Kingston needs his exercise too. You attach his leash, grab your keys and hit the door. Once the lock is turned you break into a full run passing the drive way in seconds. You take on the black top with a new conviction. It’s hot as hell outside and you’re sweating but you don’t care. You congratulate yourself for doing cardio and working on your tan at the same time.

pet sitting and jogging

A mile or two later you slow down and ultimately find yourself pausing under a tree for some shaded rest. Kingston walks over to a nearby puddle and has a sip then he collapses under the tree, panting alongside you. You pat yourself on the back for keeping both you and Kingston healthy. What you don’t realize and what Kingston can’t tell you is he’s extremely uncomfortable and in a bit of pain.

Dogs are different from humans in many obvious ways. And in many non-obvious ways they are the same. It’s easy to think of your pet as tough and invincible. They’re animals, they’re ruled by instinct. They come from the untamed wilderness and if push came to shove, they could survive without us. However, surviving with us is a completely different affair. We all want our dogs to be healthy. There’s no doubt going for a run with your pup is a great form of exercise for you both. But there are certain things to keep in mind when jogging with your dog.

Dog jogging tips

1. Dogs, like people need a warm up. In the story above the woman started running as soon as she walked out the door. She’d been up, moving around for hours and she was ready to go. Kingston however, had been asleep. Not warming up before vigorous exercise can expose your dog to injury the same way it can for humans. So, start your dog off walking and warm up to running.

2. Be careful when “hitting the black top” in the afternoon. Dogs don’t wear shoes. Though their paws are padded and strong they are still sensitive to heat. Put your hand on the pavement before you walk your dog across it. If it’s too hot for you, then it’s too hot for him. Keep your dog on the grass or wait till evening to go running

3. Be mindful of the sun. Dogs can get a sunburn just like humans can. Walk in a shaded area or wait till later.

4. Pay attention to your dog’s age and breathing. Dogs that are very young or a bit older sometimes shouldn’t be jogging at all. And too much panting can be a sign of heat stroke.

5. If a dog is thirsty he will drink from anywhere. Water found outside can be contaminated with many different things. If you wouldn’t drink it then he shouldn’t either. The good news is there are many different kinds of inexpensive collapsible doggie water bowls. Many of which you can attach to your belt so they won’t be in the way while walking or running.

These are just a few tips to help your pet safely enjoy his time with you. It is always best to consult a veterinarian to make sure your dog is healthy enough for vigorous exercise. Run safe everyone!

Dog running tips

Valerie Hahn

Valerie Hahn

Professional pet sitter and animal lover in Lawrenceville, GA. I share my home with 4 dogs and 5 cats, all rescues and mostly strays that found me. I love and respect all animals.
Valerie Hahn

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