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Running delivers many o the same physical and mental benefits to dogs as it does to humans. It helps ward off obesity - a growing issue - and related health problems such as osteoarthritis and Type 2 diabetes. Did you know that 54% of dogs are overweight or obese, according to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention.
A 2012 study in Journal of Experimental Biology showed that canines get the same "runner's high" after intense exercise that people experience.
But running with a dog isn't as easy as lacing up and getting out the leash. These guidelines will help you establish a safe, healthy and lasting routine that boosts you both.
TALK TO YOUR VET
Before you start any new exercise routine, check with your vet- especially if your dog is older or has orthopedic issues. Not every dog was born to run. Although certain breeds, such as Weimaraners and Vizslas, are known for speed and stamina, other dogs, such as pugs, are not well suited to it and are especially prone to overheating. "Know your dog and know the breed"
GET THE TIMING RIGHT
Young dogs may seem eager to release their copious amounts of puppy energy but if the dog hasn't celebrated its first birthday, it's probably not a good idea. Its bones have not fully developed, and it's growth plates have not closed. Daily bouts of continuous running can lead to fractures and lasting damage. "Your dog needs active play to grow but not repetitive motion like running long distances"
CONSIDER THE CONDITIONS
In winter, clean paws after a run, as road salt can wreak havoc with them, causing redness, roughness and a burning sensation that can lead to infection if the dog chews on the area. In the summer heat, take it slowly, take plenty of breaks and ramp up your distance and speed on a gradual basis.
PLAN YOUR ROUTE
When mapping out your route, consider your dog's temperament. If you know your dog gets nervous around approaching bikes, avoid popular cycling areas. Incorporate stops where your pup can get a drink. Or bring a water bottle with a bowl attached.