Do Dogs Need to Run? 8 Vet-Approved Tips – Dogster (2024)


Do Dogs Need to Run? 8 Vet-Approved Tips – Dogster (1)


Dr. Paola Cuevas

Veterinarian, MVZ

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Is Your Dog a Runner?
The Importance of Running

We see videos of dogs running on the beach, chasing one another in the yard, and jogging along a trail with their human. One thing is for sure: they are having a wonderful time. Dogs love to run, and it is good for them, right?

Well, that depends on the dog. You will need to consider a dog’s build, health, and breed before taking them for a run.

Do Dogs Need to Run? 8 Vet-Approved Tips – Dogster (2)

Is Your Dog a Runner?

Before you decide to make your dog your new running partner, you will need to consider whether running is something you can engage in with your dog.

For instance, brachycephalic breeds like Bulldogs, Pugs, and Frenchies may find it difficult to breathe due to their facial structure. Flat-faced dogs have airways and nostrils that are narrow, which may make it difficult to breathe if running for a long stretch compared to chasing a ball or running after the kids in the yard.

Older pets or pets with health issues may find running uncomfortable, or it may be difficult for them to keep up. With puppies and larger breeds, there are always the risks of hip dysplasia or bone damage.

You should consult your veterinarian before you begin running or training with your pooch. Your vet can help you to decide on a program and recommend any adjustments that may be necessary as you increase your pets’ exercise routine. If you have a puppy, the vet will determine if their growth plates are sealed up and they can safely begin to run. This is especially important when it comes to larger breeds like the Great Dane.

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The Importance of Running

Physical exercise is essential to keeping your dog physically fit. It keeps their joints and muscles flexible and strong. It also helps them to maintain a healthy weight and reduce the risk of health problems associated with obesity. You should turn it down a notch if you notice that they are uncomfortable or stiff after a running session. Just like your muscles, your dog’s muscles require training in gradual increments.

Releasing excess energy is an excellent way to help your dog reduce anxiety and stress. In fact, when they exercise, their body releases endorphins that help to improve their mood and demeanor overall. Yes, exercise makes your dog feel happy!

In addition to the physical benefits of running, it can help to improve their social skills. When you take your dog for a run, they encounter other runners and dogs. It allows them to make friends with others and helps to reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation. Well-socialized dogs tend to have fewer behavioral issues like aggression since they are well-adjusted and confident.

And lastly, running allows your dog to experience new sights, smells, and sounds so their minds stay active and alert.

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The 8 Tips to Get Your Dog Running

1. Start Slowly

Once you and your vet have determined that running would be beneficial for your dog, start slowly. Like humans, dogs are at risk of injury if they do not slowly and safely increase their activity. A program combining running and walking will give you and the dog a chance to catch your breath and actively recover.

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2. Be Sure to Warm Up

Before you begin running with your dog, be sure to walk or slow jog for a few minutes. It is essential for you and your dog to warm up your muscles to help prevent injuries. Part of the warmup routine can include allowing your dog to sniff the area and relieve himself so you can keep moving and not have to stop for pee breaks.

3. Choose to Run on Trails

Since asphalt can be hard on your and your dogs’ joints, head for the trails. Dirt trails are better for his paws and joints and for your joints too. Besides, your dog will enjoy the sounds, sights, and smells of a trail over the neighborhood roads and sidewalks.

Be sure to check the park rules to be sure dogs are allowed and if they can be off-leash. It is also important to find out about the area where you will be running. What types of animals will you encounter? Are there any that may harm or kill your pet?

It is also important when running in the woods or grassy areas to protect you and your pet from fleas and ticks. And, if one of you does get bitten by a tick, carefully remove it and call your doctor or vet for further instructions.

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4. Go Over Basic Commands and Training

Before deciding to make your dog your running companion, they should be able to walk properly on a leash. They should not be able to pull or run ahead of you. You also do not want to allow them to sniff and mark everything along the way.

Another important command is “Leave It.” You want your dog to listen and not eat everything in sight, like roadkill and trash. Your dog should “Sit” and “Stay” on command so they can be safe in traffic areas.

And, if your dog is not easy to train, you may want to hire a professional before taking them for runs.

5. Take Breaks

Since a dog cannot tell you when they are thirsty, it is important to stop about every 10 to 15 minutes for a water break, especially during the summer months. After a while, you will have a better idea of your dog’s water needs.

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6. Avoid Running in the Heat

Since humans do not have fur and we can sweat, we do not overheat as easily as our canines. Avoid running with your pet in the midday heat or when the temperatures are high. Also, remember that sand, asphalt, and blacktop can burn a dog’s paws. You should assess the running ground by putting your hand on the surface for about 10 seconds. If it feels hot to you, it will be hot for your pet. We suggest you find a shady place to run.

7. Monitor Your Pooch

While on a run with your dog, be sure to watch for signs of overexertion or heat stroke. Signs like excessive panting or drooling indicate that your dog needs a break, so allow them to stop and catch their breath. If they are overheated, give them air-temperature or cool water to drink. You can also pour some water on their body and head to help them cool down. However, do not let them drink too much or too fast during or after exercising. Swallowing a large amount of air can cause bloat. Do not force the dog to continue if they stop and refuse to move.

Lethargy, vomiting, and dark red gums are signs of heatstroke. You should attempt to lower your dog’s body temperature gradually by wetting them and placing them under a well-ventilated shade while making your way to the emergency vet.

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8. Designate a Poop Spot

Before and after a run, give your furry friend a chance to relieve himself. Take him to the same spot and eventually he will “go” on command. Be sure to remember to take poop bags along and clean up after your pooch.

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So now that you know the benefits of running with your dog and hopefully your dog knows how to run on a leash, you may have yourself a faithful running companion. And one that will bark and wag his tail in excitement at the sight of his running leash. However, we suggest that you make that decision with the advice of your veterinarian.

Featured Image Credit: Sergey Nivens, Shutterstock

Do Dogs Need to Run? 8 Vet-Approved Tips – Dogster (2024)


Do Dogs Need to Run? 8 Vet-Approved Tips – Dogster? ›

Once you and your vet have determined that running would be beneficial for your dog, start slowly. Like humans, dogs are at risk of injury if they do not slowly and safely increase their activity. A program combining running and walking will give you and the dog a chance to catch your breath and actively recover.

How often do dogs see the vet for checkups and vaccines? ›

Healthy adult dogs should generally visit a veterinary clinic about once a year for checkups, vaccinations and other preventative care, but may need additional visits depending on age, breed and health. Your dog may need additional vet visits based on risks where you live.

Is it good to take dogs on runs? ›

Running with your dog can be both healthy and fun for you and your dog. But it's important to ensure that it's safe for them and that you have the right equipment. Remember, not all dogs will enjoy running alongside you and it may not be right for your dog's breed, weight or temperament.

Should I leave my dog home alone when he's sick? ›

Leaving a pooch alone for long periods of time when he is ill can make the situation worse. If the sickness is bad enough, your dog may need to be monitored at all times to make sure their vital signs stay steady.

How often should you run with your dog? ›

'Start with three times per week for 15 or 20 minutes, and build up from there, adding five minutes each week,' says JT Clough, a professional dog trainer and co-author of 5K Training Guide: Running with Dogs.

How often should dogs get vet check ups? ›

In general, all dogs should have a complete physical check-up at least once per year. Think of it as routine maintenance for your dog. These “wellness exams” give you a chance to track your dog's growth and development, and discuss any concerns with your vet.

How many vaccines do dogs need? ›

Puppy Vaccination Schedule
Puppy's AgeRecommended Vaccinations
10 — 12 weeksDHPP (vaccines for distemper, adenovirus [hepatitis], parainfluenza, and parvovirus)
16 — 18 weeksDHPP, rabies
12 — 16 monthsDHPP, rabies
Every 1 — 2 yearsDHPP
2 more rows

What is too much running for a dog? ›

If they're over-extended, they may be resistant to exercise or develop mobility issues, anxiety, and exhaustion/lethargy. The recommended amount of daily exercise for most dogs is 30 minutes to 2 hours, although certain dogs need more.

How much running is too much for a dog? ›

Exercise is certainly necessary for all healthy canines. But each pet's exercise needs are personal to them. As a rule, no more than an hour of playtime or exercise, including walks, should be given to your pet each day.

How long should a dog have the runs? ›

If loose stool lasts more than two days, call the vet

Diarrhea is no fun for you or your dog, but the good news is that most cases resolve on their own. Mild cases are usually uncomplicated, and the dog is otherwise happy and normal. “Many cases of diarrhea in dogs and cats are mild and self-limiting,” says Dr.

Should I say goodbye to my dog when I leave the house? ›

If your dog is already showing signs of separation anxiety—think excessive barking, pacing, or destructive behavior—a quick and calm exit is your best bet. A brief pat and a soothing “be back soon” may not be too excessive. But then again, walking out the door without saying a word might be even better.

Is it bad my dog eats grass? ›

In conclusion, dogs may eat grass for various reasons, including to soothe an upset stomach or simply because they find it tasty. While eating grass is generally not harmful, it can cause vomiting and other digestive issues in some dogs.

Is it okay if I leave my dog home alone for 8 hours and 5 days a week? ›

Adult dogs are generally okay on their own for 4-6 hours a day. But, many dogs are good at adapting to being alone for 8-9 hours while you are at work if they are provided with enough space to comfortably move around.

Is running in the backyard enough exercise for a dog? ›

While the backyard is a great supplemental addition to your pet's routine, the backyard should never be your pet's only source of exercise and fresh air. Dogs are, by nature, curious explorers. Relying solely on the backyard for your dog's exercise can lead to a host of unexpected and unwanted problems.

Do dogs need to run or is walking enough? ›

Most dogs need at least 1-2 walks per day (unless otherwise specified by your vet). A brisk walk is a great opportunity for your dog to burn off extra energy, and a slow, meandering walk – where you let your dog sniff and explore for as long as they want – is great for their mental health.

How many days a week should I run my dog? ›

The American Kennel Club recommends at least 30 minutes to 2 hours of exercise per day for most dogs, depending on their energy levels and requirements. If your dog is a high-energy breed like a Border Collie or a Siberian Husky, they may require more frequent and intense exercise, including running.

How often do dogs need to be re vaccinated? ›

Typically, adult dogs need to come in once a year for vaccines. Not every vaccine needs to be boostered every year. Once you've gotten the initial rabies and distemper series onboard, we booster these every three years. But annual vaccinations are for Lyme, leptospirosis, Bordatella, and canine influenza.

How often should dogs really be vaccinated? ›

As vaccines are improved over time, some do not need to be given as often, depending on individual circ*mstances. Most dogs with low-risk lifestyles can be vaccinated every three years with the core vaccines and as needed for any non-core vaccines (most non-core vaccines require annual boosters).

Are dogs supposed to get vaccinated every year? ›

For most recommended vaccinations, your dog will need a booster shot one year after they receive an initial vaccination series as a puppy. Afterward, veterinarians typically recommend boosters once every three years. Scientific studies show that vaccination boosters have no adverse side effects in most dogs.

Are dogs supposed to be vaccinated yearly? ›

You should get a booster shot one year after your dog's initial round of vaccines. However, according to the vaccination guidelines provided by the World Small Animal Veterinary Association, you should only administer vaccines once every three years after the first round of boosters.


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