Running with dog

What should you pay attention to in order to have a good time with your dog while running? I’ll tell you my tips on how I managed to run ultra distances with my dog Bonni.
Running with a dog is a great thing in itself. Especially trail running with a dog is the perfect way for us dog owners to bond even more. On this page I give you tips and tricks how you and your dog can have fun together for a long time.
Here you will find answers to questions about running on trails in general.

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Is any breed of dog suitable for running?

Even though most dog breeds are basically suitable as running companions, there are a few points to consider.

There are dog breeds that are more suitable than others, breeds with short muzzles, for example, are more likely to have problems with breathing than those with long muzzles. The heavier the dog, the less it will usually want to or be able to accompany you on your long run. A small terrier will be difficult to tire out, while a pug will probably be a more leisurely companion.

But that shouldn’t stop you from sharing this experience with your four-legged friend. Just see how you and your four-legged friend like it. No matter what you call it later, whether it’s canicross, jogging with a dog or something else, just give it a try.

At what age is running with dog advisable?

Until dogs are fully grown, they should be spared for the most part and not run or walk long distances with them. The strain on the not yet fully developed bone structure and the tendons and ligaments are simply too high. As a rough guide, an age of about one year is considered, with larger and heavier breeds of dogs it sometimes takes much longer until they are fully grown, so it is best to clarify this beforehand at the vet by veterinary health check.

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If you start running with your dog too early, then his developmental phase may not yet be complete and bone development is still ongoing. Human-animal comparisons are never accurate, but you wouldn’t take a toddler on a long run yet, would you?

One way to get your young dog used to running is to pick him up after your run, for example, and trot him a few hundred yards or go for a brisk walk. This way he gets to know your sport from the beginning.t ihm einige Hundert Meter zu traben oder zu zügig spazieren. So lernt er deinen Sport von Anfang an kennen.

Another option would be to take your young dog in a trailer (similar to a baby jogger) and walk him at the beginning of your run. The (hopefully) tired dog then spends the rest of the distance in the trailer. Again, make sure you don’t overload him.

If your dog is getting a little older, then at some point the condition and fitness of the dog slowly decreases, so that at some point he can no longer keep up with the usual jogging round. Running with an old dog is different, but can still be great for you and your dog.

How long can I run with my dog?

How long you should walk your dog depends on age, body type, and health. Even if your dog runs around all day and is active, running is a different strain for your dog. When playing he will always take breaks and rest on his own, this is of course not applicable when you go running together.

Like us humans, your dog must first get used to the new load. Therefore, it is also important when trail running with dogs to proceed cautiously and to slowly increase the whole thing through a build-up training (as with human running beginners). Maybe just start by alternating 5 minutes of running and walking and slowly increase the time.

Just like later, you should always put your dog’s needs above yours when you go running together. If your dog needs a break, then take a break. If your dog needs to cool off in the shade or in the water, let him have it. Your run with dog is not the time for best time attempts!

Does it matter when I run with my dog?

When it is best to go for a run with your dog depends on a number of factors. Very important and often ignored, is the outside temperature. In general, it can be said that temperatures above 20 degrees Celsius are not ideal. This makes running with a dog in the summer naturally a certain challenge. If your dog does not get the opportunity to cool down in the nearest stream, lake or in the shade, then there is a risk of overheating and a so-called heat stroke.

If you run with your dog in the summer heat through forests and over natural soils, then the ground temperature does not matter so much. These floors usually do not heat up as much as asphalt and concrete floors. Whether the ground is possibly too hot for the sensitive paws of your running companion, you can test relatively easily yourself. Put your hand on the floor and feel the temperature yourself. If it would be uncomfortable or even painful for you to leave your hand on the ground for more than a minute, then the ground is probably too hot for your dog’s paws.

If asphalt passages cannot be avoided along the way, check that the ground is cool enough to walk on in the shade.

In winter, your dog will have relatively few problems with the temperature, especially here in the temperate latitudes really deep sub-zero temperatures occur rather rarely. Make sure that you avoid longer breaks during the runs in winter, so that your dog does not get cold. If you have a dog breed without significant undercoat ( (for example Basenji, Pit Bull or American Staffordshire Terrier, Bolognese, Boxer, Chihuahua, Dalmatian and Doberman), then it is no shame to put a dog coat on your dog so that he does not freeze. You (hopefully) don’t walk around naked either.

Running with dog leash: How to find the right harness?

The right dog harness is essential for your dog to run with you without discomfort. A harness that doesn’t fit properly can restrict your dog’s movement, cause chafing, and ultimately make walking less fun. Guest author Susanne summarized the pros and cons of collars and harnesses a while back.

Since the anatomy is different from dog to dog and also each dog harness model fits differently, it is advisable to look in specialized stores and make a fitting there. This saves the postage for the return and therefore the environment.

In general, pay attention to whether there might not be a leash requirement for dogs where you walk.

Be considerate of others!

We as dog owners love (our) four-legged friends, of course. So we sometimes turn a blind eye when a dog doesn’t behave as well as it should. This indulgence does not let all rule and therefore it is advisable to take as dog owners here accordingly on other consideration. I have formulated some time ago here a few behavior tips for dog owners, with which I have done well so far.

How can I tell that the dog is tired from running?

Your running training should always be tailored to your four-legged friend: adapt both your pace and your distance to the dog. Warning signs that your dog is overworked are.

  • Heavy, fast and persistent panting (this can be quite fast in summer),
  • a lagging behind of the dog,
  • pulled back lips,
  • refusal of the dog as well as
  • Limping or disturbed gait after walking.

Watch out for the first symptoms of fatigue and then stop immediately if necessary. On longer rounds it is also advisable to always have some water for your dog.

How to protect the dogs paws?

Asphalt may not look too bad, but it’s frighteningly rough and will therefore harm your four-legged friend’s sensitive paws. Natural paths are best for your runs. Asphalt, tar or cobblestones are just terribly hard and do not bounce under each step like a relatively soft natural ground. Often there are also shards and other dangerous garbage on footpaths and streets.

Whether your dog gets along with the commercially available paw protection shoes is very individual. Bonni never liked them and consequently did not run with them. To care for sensitive paws, urea can help, this tans the skin and makes it more resistant.

Be careful in winter!

In winter, you should make sure that no ice balls form between the toes, because they can also be annoying and cause chafing. You should avoid road salt whenever possible, because the salt attacks the sensitive paws.

In summer, watch out for a surface that is too hot, because your dog can easily burn his paws on it. Heat and dog are generally not a good combination.

When should the dog have eaten the last time before the run?

On the subject of food for dogs, the same rules apply as for us humans. At least two hours before the last meal, which should have been as light as possible. Especially large breeds or breeds with long “wheelbase” are susceptible to the so-called gastric torsion, if they make fast and hectic movements with a full stomach. Such a gastric torsion is a serious matter, which is usually fatal without quick help from a veterinarian. Also in between the four-legged friend should not be given so much to eat, even though he will most likely not miss any opportunity to beg for food.

On long trips, you should also be sure to have water with you, but a full water belly, can lead to gastric distention.

Running and hiking events for and with dogs

Monthly Weekly Daily List
September 2023
October 2023
May 2024

Rengsdorfer Westerwaldlauf

Strecken: 12, 22, 34 und 50 km Eine Teilnahme ist nur ...
18 May
All Day
Freibad Rengsdorf
Freibad Rengsdorf, Gebückstraße, Rengsdorf, Rheinland-Pfalz, 56579, Deutschland
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What experience have you had running with a dog?

Have you ever tried trail running with a dog? Do you have any other tips and suggestions?
I look forward to your comments!

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