Why Your Dog Might Be Your Best Running Buddy Ever

A female and her yellow lab jogging down a deserted dirt road.

(Picture Credit: Jordan Siemens/Getty Images)

Our dogs can inspire us to get off the couch and keep up with exercise, even when we don’t feel like doing what’s best for ourselves. Sometimes we get bored, distracted, or unmotivated to work out like we should. However, when our pups are depending on us, we can find that extra push to get moving.

This was the case for runner Elizabeth Morgan, who adopted rescue dog, Bella, when she was still a puppy.

Morgan suffered from running burnout following her 18 years in the sports industry. Despite her improving talent, Morgan’s motivation continued to dwindle. She decided to adopt Bella when she was just six months old after carefully researching which kinds of dogs might be able to withstand running with her.

“Everything that kept coming up was black labs, that black labs are the best dogs for the running I do. So I got on the website of the local Humane Society and saw a six-month-old black lab puppy,” said Morgan in an interview.

Morgan continued with running, bringing Bella’s spunk and enthusiasm and channeling it to the right outlet. The duo started running fully after the pup celebrated her first birthday. Bella’s vet recommended that labs should be more than a year old before they start running long distance. Before this, Morgan and Bella went through some light training, including walking and playing fetch.

Since then, Bella has participated in 18 half marathons and two full marathons while running with Morgan. At only four years old, Bella seems to be ready to run further.

Training To Run Responsibly

Being a veteran runner herself, Morgan knew that she had to train Bella on the basics of running before they could go full throttle. Their training started with runs for a quarter of a mile, using scaffolding techniques to build up from there.

Before you follow Morgan’s example and hit the pavement with your dog, it’s crucial to know which breeds are suited for a good run.

According to Dr. Justine Lee DVM, a variety of factors influence a dog’s ability to run. Muscled dogs like Greyhounds, Pit Bulls, and Boxers are meant to do sprints. Excitable and big dogs like Labradors and Retrievers can run long distance well.

Other breeds fit to run include Border Collies and German Shorthaired Pointers. Interestingly, Dr. Lee stated that even smaller dogs can enjoy a good run, but it’s important to note that they need to be in great condition physically, and they may not be able to run as far.

As always, discuss with your veterinarian before adjusting your dog’s exercise routine. Make sure your dog is healthy enough for the activities you have planned.

Quick Tips For Training Your Dog For Runs

After confirming that your dog can withstand running, it’s best to follow a few guidelines for taking your dog out on long runs.

Dogs, like humans, need to stay hydrated when they go on runs, meaning you need to be responsible for bringing or providing water. Keep watch for any humidity and temperature peaks that can affect your dog’s running condition. If it’s too hot, the risk of dehydration grows, and you need to take precautions.

Let them eat wet food or add water to their dry food so they can get some more hydration during the day. Ask your vet how long you should wait after feedings to engage in vigorous exercise. Some dogs are predisposed to bloat, a potentially life-threatening condition, and exercising after a meal can increase the risk.

Check your dogs gums every once in a while, as those can let you know if your dog is showing early signs of dehydration and overheating. Their gums should be pink; any gray, blue or red tinges mean they are either getting less oxygen or feeling too much heat.

Is your dog a great running partner? Have you ever thought of running with your dog just for daily exercise? Let us know in the comments below!

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