Dear Porky & Buddy,
My son qualified to be in the Boston Marathon this year, not to brag or anything, but it got me thinking that maybe I should take up a more active exercise routine, as it’s probably, you know, “in the genes.”
But if I do that I would like to include my dog, Boomer, in the plan, as he could lose a little weight (as could I) and it would probably be more fun to have a running partner.
Do you have any tips about running with dogs?
Before you put on your (expensive new) running shoes and his (grubby old) leash, there are a few things to keep in mind.
First, it sounds like Boomer is a little out of shape, so you should talk to your vet about your plans and have him checked out, his heart, joints, etc., if your vet thinks it’s necessary.
And by the way, have you talked to your doctor?
Obviously, you should start out slowly and build up endurance for both of you.
You can both warm up by walking first, followed by a short jog.
Then you can both cool down with a walk at the end.
Watch Boomer carefully for any signs of discomfort.
If he is like most dogs he just wants to please you and he loves loves loves spending time with you, even if it does entail running mindlessly forever.
He won’t complain or get whiney if he is tired, so you have to pay attention and slow down to a walk if he seems to be struggling to keep up.
Pay attention the weather. Dogs cannot tolerate heat as efficiently as you can, and they are at greater risk for heat stroke or dehydration during warm weather.
So, plan to run in the morning or at the end of the day in warm weather. And bring enough water for yourself and Boomer.
If you see signs of overheating, stop immediately and cool him down slowly with cool (not icy cold) water.
Signs of overheating include excessive panting, increased salivation, red gums, increased heart rate, vomiting, diarrhea, and general weakness.
Pay attention to the ground you’re running on.
Boomer does not have Nike’s; he’s running on his own pads. If he has mostly been a couch potato, give him time to build endurance by walking for a distance, then some running, followed by walking.
As his pads toughen, you can increase the time you spend running. This is especially important if you are running on a hard or rough surface like asphalt or gravel.
Even more important – keep Boomer leashed, for his protection and the protection of others.
Even if he is very good about not running off, this is a new experience for him and you cannot know for sure how he will react to traffic or other dogs (or how they will react to him.) So be safe.
And finally, remember this – dogs do not have “exercise routines.”
They just like to hang around with their humans. So make this fun, not an endurance contest.
That’s what friends are for.
And good luck to your son!
The Oswego County Humane Society provides spay/neuter services and assistance, fostering and adoption of animals in urgent need, humane education programs, and information and referrals to animal lovers throughout Oswego County.
Our office is located at 265 W. First St., Oswego, NY.
Phone (315) 207-1070.
Email: [email protected]
Because people and pets are good for each other!