National Running Day: Celebrate Running With Your Dog

Joggers and a retriever out for a run.

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The first Wednesday in June is designated as National Running Day–a day for runners to celebrate their passion for running, as well as a day for beginners to start some healthy habits. It falls on June 6th in 2018. National Running Day can be a good excuse to enjoy a fun run with your dog, whether you do it while playing a good game of fetch, running around the house, or leashing up and hitting the trail. You’ll both benefit from the exercise, and you might enjoy it so much that you keep it up year round. Here are some things you should know about celebrating National Running Day with your dog.

Before You Run

Man jogging with his pet, Staffordshire bull terrier. He is jogging in his neighborhood, in local park.

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It’s important before you run with your dog that you make sure both of you are healthy enough for physical activity. Too much activity right away can cause physical injuries, heat stroke, dehydration, breathing issues, and heart problems among other things. Take a trip to the doctor and take your pup for a checkup at the vet.

Some dogs aren’t able to handle running as well as others. Brachycephalic dogs–dogs with short snouts–can have more breathing troubles when engaging in vigorous exercise. It’s best to keep running sessions short for those pups. Small dogs and dogs with stumpy legs can have a harder time keeping up, so you may need to slow down your pace with them. Respond to your dog’s needs.

If you live in an area where the weather is hot, dogs with thick coats may be better off in the shade or playing indoors, as they can easily overheat. No matter what your dog’s coat is like, you should time runs so they are at cooler times of day. Before or near dawn and after dusk are ideal, and you may want to plan a route with lots of shady areas if you run when the sun is out. Do not put too much strain on your dog. There are plenty of safe ways to exercise instead of running in the heat.

Bring The Right Gear

Big dog drinking from green water bottle on hot summer day. iPhone

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You need the right equipment if you’re going to run with your dog. Bring a sturdy leash and consider whether you need a harness. If the pavement is hot, your dog will either need paw protection or have to stick to the grass. Booties are available that can help prevent paws from getting hurt. Take a water bottle and take breaks frequently to keep your dog hydrated.

Make sure your pooch is wearing sunscreen specifically formulated for dogs. Do NOT put human sunscreen on a dog. Dogs are susceptible to sunburns and skin cancer. You should also use dog-formulated insect repellent if it’s buggy, and keep your dog’s flea and tick treatment up-to-date.

The Benefits Of Running

Full length of cute little girl running with dog and smiling while her parents walking behind

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Running can provide your dog with exercise that, when combined with a healthy diet, will help fight obesity and the conditions that come with it, such as diabetes, heart disease, and digestive issues among many other problems. It can also be mentally stimulating, as your dog will have a chance to be out exploring, seeing new things and smelling new smells.

A good run can also reduce anxious and destructive behavior. If your dog gets bored around the house and starts to chew, dig, scratch, bark, and act out, physical exercise can redirect some of that energy. A tired dog is a happy dog, and running can help your dog relax and feel more content.

Running will also benefit you! It’s a great way to bond with your dog while you both engage in healthy activities. Being healthier means you’ll both live longer and have many more years to spend together. So give National Running Day a chance because you just might like it.

Are you going to celebrate National Running Day with your pup? Do you ever take your dog for a run? Let us know in the comments below!

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