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7 Tips for Running with Your Dog

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Updated May 21, 2014

Dogs can be great running companions. They're reliable and adjust to whatever pace you want to run -- they also won't bore you with stories about their latest running achievement.

If you want to get your dog to be your training partner, follow these tips to keep him safe, healthy and comfortable:

1. Ease your dog into running.

Running With Dog
Michael Blann
Start your dog out slowly, just like you would if you were new to running. If you gradually increase the miles, your dog's pads will toughen up and make him less susceptible to injury. Check your dog's pads for signs that he overran. If you notice tenderness, raw spots or bleeding, give him a few days off from running.

2. Check with your vet to see when your dog can start.

Although smaller breeds may be able to start running at six months, you may have to wait until larger dogs are a year to begin. Check with your vet for guidelines for your specific breed.

3. Keep your dog hydrated.

Make sure you carry enough water for both you and your dog. Teach your dog how to drink from a water bottle or carry a portable doggie dish to put water in.

4. Don't run with older dogs.

Most dogs shouldn't be running past 10 years old. Check with your vet to see at what age your breed should stop running.

5. Stick to trails.

Whenever possible, run on trails, which are shaded and soft. The softer surface will be easier on the dog's joints.

6. Always keep your dog on a leash.

Even if your dog is well-trained, he may still try to run off if he sees another dog or animal.

7. Watch for signs of overheating.

Be familiar with the signs of fatigue or heat illness, which include panting, slowing down, foaming at the mouth, weakness, inability to stand, uncontrolled movement, agitation and glazed eyes. If you notice any of these signs, cool your dog immediately by thoroughly wetting him with cold water and getting him into the shade or an air-conditioned area, if possible. If your dog starts to vomit or doesn't improve within 10 minutes, seek veterinary help as quickly as possible.
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