See Spot Run! Dogs Can Be a Runner’s Best Friend

Running with your dog is a great way to exercise and bond with your best buddy at the same time.

Conventional wisdom would suggest that sleek endurance athletes, like Weimaraners, Dalmatians, and Pointers, make the best running partners. But dogs of all breeds and sizes, from tiny terriers to majestic Mastiffs, can join you on your daily run. Running is generally discouraged for flat-faced breeds, but a Pug happily participated for years in the Hounds and Harriers Run, an annual three-mile race in South Orange, New Jersey, for dog-and-owner teams. Most dogs can run to some extent. The key is to adapt the running to them, and work to their ability. Common sense must rule all sports, but especially when you have a partner who can’t complain.

Here are some commonsense tips for training:

  • Be patient. Hold off on serious roadwork until your dog is about 2 years old. Continual exercise might damage growing bones and joints.
  • Get the green light. A check-up to rule out any underlying health issues is a good idea, for both species.
  • Go slow. Too far, too fast is a formula for injury.
  • Toughen up. Dogs have to build up calluses on their feet, especially if they are on pavement. Paw-pad abrasions are among the most common injuries veterinarians treat every spring. Booties may help with sensitive padSplash down.
  • Make sure you carry water for both you and your dog.
  • Hold on. For safety, and in consideration of your fellow runners, keep your dog leashed.