As a mom to a pug, I’m keenly aware of the summer heat. Pugs (and other snub-nosed breeds) don’t do especially well in the heat, so the thought of running with her would never cross my mind. (Not to mention pugs aren’t exactly known as great jogging buddies!) But if you’re used to heading out with your pup for a jog, you need to follow a few rules to make sure you and your best friend stay safe in the heat. Luckily, Heidi Ganahl, CEO and founder of Camp Bow Wow has pet owners covered. Read on for a few stay-cool tips as the hot summer months drag on!
8 Tips for Running with Dogs
1. Start slow. If Fido has never been out for a run with you, don’t expect him to be up for a marathon. Start with a combination of running and walking for a short time until you notice that his endurance is increasing. Just as humans are, dogs are susceptible to stress fractures and heat stroke. Dogs’ growth plates are not fully formed until 18 months old, so speak to your veterinarian before running with a dog younger than 18 months.
2. Be mindful of the weather. You know how torturous it can be to run on a brutally hot day with high humidity, so don’t subject Fido to that. Dogs can overheat very quickly, which causes heat stroke. If you absolutely must run that day, go during the early morning hours, between 5 a.m. and 8 a.m. before the sun becomes scorching hot or leave Fido at home.
3. Wear proper accessories. As mentioned before, it’s wise to run during the cooler hours, but this often means running before the sun comes up or after it has gone down. If running in the dark, be sure that you and your pooch accessorize with some reflective gear so that you are visible to traffic.
4. Watch out for Fido’s feet. Pavement and asphalt get incredibly hot on summer days and can quickly burn your pup’s feet. Gravel can be dangerous as well, as it can puncture paws. To be safe, only take your dog running on dirt trails, grass or sand. Stop periodically during your run to check his paws for burns or cuts.
5. Hydrate. Make sure your pup has had a chance to drink water and hydrate before you take him out on a run. If you’re going first thing in the morning, wait until he’s had a bowl or two of water. Take a product like a Handi Drink so you can stop and give your pup some water throughout your run.
6. Keep a watchful eye. Dogs are people pleasers, and if you want to keep running, dogs will often work to keep up even if they may be in pain. Be sure to check on your dog and make sure he doesn’t look like he’s in pain or suffering from heat exhaustion.
7. Lather up. Believe it or not, dogs are susceptible to sunburns. If you’re running on a sunny day, be sure to apply sunscreen to both yourself and your dog if he has shorter hair or is a lighter color.
8. Hold off on munching. Make sure that your dog does not eat one hour before or after running. Some dogs are susceptible to bloat and eating too close to exercising can be extremely dangerous.
Do you run with your dog? How do you avoid the hot-hot heat? —Erin