Well, that is a question that can only be answered once all factors are considered about the dog in question, therefore I’ll use Alex and her canine buddies as examples.
Until early last year, I used to get Alex to run once or twice a week, but I stopped because the walks we take every day seem to be enough for her, and because a couple of months ago she started to limp while we were walking. I took her to the vet and she was given medication she has to take every day plus a lot of rest for a couple of weeks. Now she is back to her usual self, but she’ll go for a follow-up with the vet next week. What I do, since a lot of dogs have never run next to a bike, is get Alex to jog next to the bike I am riding for 1 minute or less. Why? I want the other dogs to see what she is doing and mimic that behavior. Now, should Alex run or walk? She should walk because she is a senior dog and she was already limping while walking with me. By the way, this is how Alex and Dexter looked on Saturday, after a good run early in the morning.
Sarris, unlike Alex, can run without a problem, but Sarris is also a younger dog. I got her to run/jog for about 10 minutes, and after that we walked home. She did not have a problem with the bike. Actually, she seemed to enjoy running alongside me. Should you run or walk Sarris? Well, I think she should run 2 to 3 times a week and walk the rest of the week because she is an active young dog.
Of course, they need a comfortable bed to rest after exercising so here they are, L – R, Dexter, Alex, and Sarris. They were all ready for a nap.
Dexter, the handsome boy all the way to the right, is about 2 1/2 years old and he is full of energy, therefore he can easily run every other day without a problem. His mom told me that he did not like bikes, so I was really surprised when after walking with him for 5 minutes he had no problem at all running alongside my bike. I was so happy and after a couple of minutes he tried to run fast, but I had to slow down because he is very strong and I did not want him to over do it. We kept up a pretty nice pace, but we did not go fast. Yes, Dexter should definitely run a few times a week.
Every dog is different and if you decide to try going for a run with your dog, please make sure to consider the following:
- Age, weight, breed, and health of the dog – If unsure, talk to the vet
- Weather – I go for a run early in the morning, 6am during the Summer
- Distance – Do not make your dog run for more than 5 – 10 minutes at the beginning and increase the time little by little
- At the beginning, try walking your dog next to the bike – Some dogs hate bikes
- Always, after every run, check his pads to make sure they are not damaged
These are just a few suggestions to consider before taking your dog for a run. Remember that going for a run with your dog is supposed to be enjoyable and good for both, you and your dog. What do you do with your dog to help him burn some energy?