Want to jog with your dog? What to know before you start

You probably know about the many ways jogging is beneficial for your health and emotional wellbeing. You also know how much easier it is to get out the door and hit the pavement when you have someone by your side — especially if it’s your dog. So how can you ensure they have a healthy and fun time? Let’s find out. Here are some things you need to know before taking your dog on a jog.


Not every breed is in it for the long haul

If you’re the kind of runner who gets frustrated when you have to pause at a long stoplight…you might want to make sure your dog will like the kind of running you do. Otherwise, you may finish your last few miles carrying them to the finish line. Not every breed of dog is built for distance running or running at a fast pace. Dogs with short legs (particularly dainty, toy breeds) will definitely have trouble keeping pace with you. Short-nosed, flat-faced dogs like bulldogs, French bulldogs, pugs and others have narrow nostrils and partially obstructed airways — making breathing difficult when they work too hard. It is important to ask your vet if your dog is fit for running — and specify the kind of routes you’re interested in bringing them on.

According to the American Kennel Club and Outside.com, dogs of the following breeds or a mix of them tend to make the best canine running partners:

  • Airedale terriers
  • Alaskan malamutes
  • American foxhound
  • American Staffordshire terriers
  • Australian cattle dogs
  • Belgian Malinois
  • Belgian shepherds
  • Border collies
  • Brittany spaniels
  • Dalmatians
  • Doberman pinscher
  • English setters
  • English springer spaniel
  • German shepherds
  • German shorthaired pointers
  • Jack Russel terriers
  • Labrador retrievers
  • Rhodesian ridgebacks
  • Salukis
  • Siberian huskies
  • Standard poodles
  • Vizslas
  • Weimaraner
  • Mixed-breed dogs that have similar physical qualities to the breeds mentioned above

Ensure they are in good health

If your dog is overweight, injured, or working through any other health conditions, be sure to talk to your vet before any strenuous activity like running or even hiking. While jogging might keep a dog in great shape — starting out when they aren’t physically ready could do more harm than good.


Be mindful of age

Older dogs tend to slow down in their later years. They may be better off running at their own pace during a game of fetch or while exploring the yard. If your senior dog has any issues with stamina, arthritis, or heart and respiratory issues that come with age — they should not be your running mate. But they do make the best greeters at your front-door finish line!

Your dog could also be too young for distance running. Most puppies under 8 months old should not go on long jogs because their bones and joints are still developing, and distance running could cause permanent damage. Larger breeds develop even slower, so check with your veterinarian to be extra safe.


Keep an eye out for extreme weather

Certain breeds can handle really cold weather, while other breeds handle heat better. Always be mindful of extremes — and if you know your dog is sensitive to either end of the spectrum, leave them home on scorching or freezing days. Always remember, when you go outside you are equipped with shoes and clothing to suit the weather. Your dog doesn’t have that luxury!


Pay attention to your dog

Pay attention to how your dog is doing during the run. If your dog seems to be uncomfortable, stop running and see what the problem is. If you don’t yet know what their ideal distance is, take it a couple of miles at a time and observe their stamina. Your dog may make it really clear when they are exhausted by stopping or laying down for a rest — but some keep trotting as best as they can telling you in much subtler ways.

If your dog begins to slow down and run behind you rather than by your side, they may be ready to stop. If you notice they remain exhausted or even sore into the next day you may have pushed them too hard. Take a few days off and take a shorter, slower route next time. Also, make sure your dog is properly hydrated before, during, (if necessary) and after the run.


Do you run with your dog? Share photos from your run with @BornFreePetFood on Facebook and Instagram!