Dogs are a runner’s best friend. If you’re excited to get outside this weekend for a run with your dog, keep in mind that as the weather heats up, you’ll need to be extra careful to prevent him from getting heat exhaustion and dehydration. With these eight tips, you can enjoy your run and keep your dog happy, too.
1) Look at the forecast.
If this is the first time you’re taking your dog out for a run this year, make sure you don’t pick the warmest day to do so. Also, look at the weather ahead of time and be flexible with your workout time. While you may not mind running in the sun mid-day, your dog will. Choose a cooler time of day, which is usually morning or evening.
2) Plan water breaks.
Most public water fountains in parks are working by now since we’re close to summer. If you know where to find one on your usual route, plan for a stop when you bring your dog out. If you live in a busy neighbourhood or city, many shop and homeowners also leave bowls of water by the curb for furry friends in the warm months. Plan to pass by on your run so your dog can cool off, rehydrate and stay fresh for the final kilometres.
3) Choose terrain wisely.
Many dogs refuse to walk on hot asphalt in the summer months because it’s so hot on their paws, so they’ll be even less pleased to have to run on it. Consider a dirt trail for you and your running buddy, which usually has the added bonus of some shade overhead. Parks and bike paths are also great options, since you can run on the path and your dog can run beside you on the grass.
4) Go easy.
It’s best to leave your dog behind for your weekly long run in the summer. Keep in mind his size and current fitness level — for most dogs, you’ll need to ease into the workouts and include some walk breaks in the early days.
5) Keep a watchful eye.
Your dog can’t tell you if he’s not feeling it. Pay attention to his movements on your run — watch for excess panting, limping and other unusual movements. If a walk break doesn’t help, pack it in early and finish your final few kilometres by yourself.