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I love running with my dog, Bailey. Some people would classify my “running” as a light jog or brisk walk, but we have a lot of fun exercising with one another while getting our Whistle and FitBit activity minutes. Whether you are just starting out with walking or are an avid runner, here are some of my tips for running safely and easily with your canine companion.
1.Get doctor and veterinarian clearance.
It is important to make sure you can physically handle exercise. Schedule a physical and consult your doctor about starting a walking/running program. Bring Fido in for a check-up and get clearance as to how many miles you can walk/run with your dog. Bailey is cleared to run up to 10 miles with me. When I was training for a half marathon, we ran up to 8-9 miles. It’s imperative that you start slow; make sure you do an adequate warm-up for both you and your dog.
2. Know your dog and plan your route.
I prefer running early in the morning, or 60-90 minutes before sunset at a park. I like a clear trail, opposed to running on the street. Some streets in my development don’t have sidewalks, so running with Bailey (or foster) can be dangerous. She also likes to run ahead of me, so that’s why I typically avoid street running. Depending on the season, you want to make sure your dog can handle the temperature. I like to run early or late in the day, especially during the hot summer months.
3. Get your gear!
I don’t know what I would do without my Tuff Mutt – Hands Free Dog Leash. The leash clips around my waist, has a bungee cord with a carbineer that clips to Bailey’s collar or harness. It has a short and large handle so I always have control over her movements. It is also reflective, so we are noticed by pedestrians, cyclists, and vehicles on our path.
Hydration is super important, whether you are going on a short or long run. I have a few different tactics for handling both of our water. First, I wear a Hydration Belt. around my waist. I usually fill one with water, and one with a sports drink. If I go on a short run, I bring a Collapsible Dog Bowl for Bailey’s water. Sometimes, I bring a Gulpy Water Dispenser which is a water dispenser. I clip it to my waist with a carabiner or I carry it for added resistance. Whatever you do, make sure you have enough water for both you and your dog and that you take plenty of water breaks!
Musher’s Secret Pet Paw Protection Wax is my go-to product before a run. It is easy to apply the hypoallergenic, nontoxic wax to Bailey’s paws, which gives a nice protective coating to prevent accidents on the trail. You know what they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
4. Add some extras!
I love my Fitbit Charge 2 Heart Rate + Fitness Wristband. I have been using a FitBit since it came on the market and helps keep me accountable regarding exercise. I like the FitBit Charge 2 because it has a relaxation setting where it prompts you to do 2 minutes of breathing exercises. I also like knowing which heart rate range in which I am exercising.
Bailey has a Whistle Activity Monitor. This shows how active she is throughout the day. We try to give her at least 60 minutes of daily exercise. It clips around her collar. When we had a pet sitter, we could see how long she was taking her on walks, and I could look at her stats from work to see if she is destroying my home. I think the Whistle is well worth the investment.
Running with your dog can be a great form of exercise! I know that after our runs, we both feel great, and get a better night’s sleep. How do you exercise with your dog? Leave a comment to let me know!