The benefits of running with your dog are plentiful and have been considerably researched and documented over the years.
Dogs need to stay active in order to live a long and healthy life, just like humans. While you can play indoors or play fetch, there’s nothing like going on a run with your dog.
As a pet owner, you want to give your dog the best care possible. Aside from providing shelter and nutrition, it’s important you take the time to go outside and exercise with your dog. You can take this outdoor time together to the next level by going on a run together with your dog – giving you both a chance to improve strength, stamina, as well as your overall moods.
So, Is going on a run with your dog good? Absolutely! Here are some surprising benefits of running with your dog:
Overall Physical Fitness
Running makes your dog use different muscles and is generally a more intense and constant workout for your dog.
In turn, your dog’s heart and lungs will become stronger. Yours will be, too. There are a lot of dogs who end up overweight, and running helps them stay in a healthy weight range by not only burning fat, but also by improving their general metabolism. If you have an active lifestyle you should go for a sports breed as they will enjoy these long runs with you.
Improved Psychological Health
While it is well-known that exercise is good for humans’ mental health, it can impact the mental health of dogs as well.
Studies have discovered that pet owners and dogs can experience synchronized stress levels. Running helps reduce your stress levels, so your dog will be less stressed again. Plus, running exposes your dog to new sounds and sights every day, which can be good for their mental health as well.
It’s important to maintain an exercise routine with your dog. This way, the dog has something to look forward to, and you’ll be encouraged to exercise as well.
Studies show that pet owners who run with their dogs are more likely to stick with a regular exercise routine – perhaps one of the best long-term habits you can ever develop.
You can try setting aside time in the morning, so you both start your day with some exercise. Running with your dog at night can help you destress after a long, stressful day – just make sure that your dog’s schedule isn’t interrupted too much, or they could get stressed.
A Close Source of Fitness Motivation
Does running with a dog make you faster? Yes! Having a running buddy in your dog can help you push harder and run farther, giving you the motivation you need to exceed your limits. If anything, your dog is likely to be enthusiastic and excited – and we know how infectious their energy is!
Plus, running with your dog simply makes the experience more fun. You won’t be thinking about calories or distance covered if you’re busy bonding with your dog – the run will be over before you even know it.
Just take note that you shouldn’t be too hard on your dog – use small increments of distance between sessions to gradually build up their endurance, instead of setting unrealistic, sudden goals that can injure or tire them out.
A Healthy Way to Bond
Not only will having a running buddy in your dog serve as good motivation, but it’s also a great way to spend more time together.
You and your dog will develop a stronger relationship, and running together won’t feel like a chore. If you have more than one dog, running with them together encourages them to see each other as friends, not competition.
ALSO READ: 10 Must-Have Habits to Stay Fit and Healthy
Before you start running with your dog, there are certain things you should take into consideration.
First of all, you should consider your dog’s breed. While most dogs love to run, some dogs are more suitable for long walks. You should also train your dog with basic manners. They should know when to ‘stay,’ ‘stop,’ and ‘leave it.’
The second thing to keep in mind is your dog’s age. Dogs usually age inversely compared to their sizes – large Great Danes live for just about 10 years, while mid-to-small breeds can reach 15 and beyond – this has a major effect on their overall physical capabilities.
During the latter parts of their lives, dogs may exhibit excessive panting or joint pain symptoms – if they do, perhaps it’s time to take leisurely strolls instead or visit a vet.
Remember that training a pet to run should be followed with care and patience. In his popular blog, expert veterinarian and dog fitness trainer Dr. Marty Becker explains the need for supervised progress:
Before starting any exercise program, talk to your veterinarian to get a more accurate assessment of your pet’s development and suitability as a running companion. When you get the go-ahead to start training together, take your time building up your pet’s mileage and speed. And keep your dog lean — even a little extra weight is harder on the joints.
While actually on runs, it’s important your dog stays hydrated, so it should have a water break every few minutes or so. In case it’s too hot outside, you should skip running outside. You wouldn’t want your dog to get hurt.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I Run With My Dog Every Day?
Yes. Just like their human counterparts, dogs need daily exercise for their happiness and health. By going on a daily run, you both get the exercise you need.
However, you shouldn’t be too hard on your dog by running a full marathon with them. You can also do other types of exercise together, like playing tug of war or fetch.
How Do I Get My Dog to Run Faster?
Dogs run fast naturally and for long periods of time. However, not all dogs are the same. In case your dog tends to run too slow for you, you can make them go faster by bringing along their favorite toy.
You can also use positive words and head pats to cheer them up and motivate them. Another way for you to help them speed up is by walking first, and gradually increasing speed and distance every time you go out for a run. You should also cap off your workout with a slow walk as well for it to cool down.
How Far Can Your Dog Run With You?
While dogs are wired for exercising like running, you shouldn’t overexert your dog. You shouldn’t run more than five miles with your dog a day. You shouldn’t let it run five miles on your first run together as well – that will probably result in both you and your dog burning out.
Also, you should gradually increase the distance you both run, so it doesn’t get overwhelming right away. If you’re planning to train for a full marathon, it’s not ideal to bring your dog for your entire training session – the distance is simply too much for them.
ALSO READ: Motivate Yourself to Run Consistently
There are plenty of benefits of running with your dog. It helps you maintain a consistent workout routine, and your dog will appreciate the time together as well.
That’s why you should take time to go on a run, and bring out the best in each other.