Unlike the colder months when people only go out when absolutely necessary, now that the warm weather is here (sort of) more runners will consider spending more time outdoors with their pets. pets, mainly dogs. However, before you put the leash on your border collie and drag him out for a tempo session, you should consider the expert advice below.
While this may seem like a great way to add an extra element of fun to our workouts, it’s important to consider animal welfare and safety before involving your pets, especially if you have never participated in this type of activity before.
Those looking to spend some extra time with their four-legged friend, Ian Scarrott, running coach and personal trainer at PureGymand Emma Lee, nutrition expert at pet nutritionhave put together some tips on how to train safely with your dog.
It doesn’t take too long to get started, but it’s important to consider your pet’s specific needs – are they already fit and healthy? How often should they participate in this activity?
But before you head out for a run, consider upgrading your running gear with help from T3’s expert running guides: check out the best running shoes, the best trail running shoes and the best running watch guides.
Ian Scarrott: “Some dogs are more suited to intervals; others may like a long run”
“If your dog is a bit fitter than you, find ways to creatively channel energy to give him the workout he needs while giving you some breathing space,” suggests Ian Scarrott “For example , you could run together at the park and rest while keeping them active by playing a fetch game.”
The type of running pace to adopt depends on the breed you have, as well as their individual preferences: “Some dogs may be more suited to intervals of short, fast accelerations, others may like a long distance run,” adds he. .
Ian has three tips and suggestions to consider:
- Try hands-free running: You might want to try hands-free running where you’re tethered by a secure belt meaning you’re free to focus on the route, it also means your hands are free if you have to fall. This can help avoid being pulled uncomfortably, especially at high speeds.
- Equip yourself well: Make sure the harness you use is comfortable for the animal and does not interfere with its breathing or cause it discomfort. Above all, you want it to be a fun experience for you and your pet.
- Teach your pet new voice commands: It can be a bonding experience for you and your pet, and if it’s a dog you’re training for example, it can be helpful for him to learn new voice commands, which means you’re more in sync. not only when running but also in everyday life.
“Training with a pet can also help increase your motivation,” says Ian, “Your pet needs a walk, so why not add some more intense exercise, it can definitely help boost your levels. of activity and help you maintain a level of responsibility in your training.”
Training with your pet is a win-win situation for all parties involved: physical exercise benefits your heart, physical and mental health. Ian says you can even strengthen your core by taking the dog for a run: “Whether it’s the increased cardio activity, the extra strength you build up working with a canicross cable, or even from the bonding experience of spending time with your pet.”
Emma Lee: “Dogs are susceptible to the same types of skeletal and muscle injuries as we are”
“Participating in sports with your dog can benefit your furry family member and should be encouraged more often,” says Emma, ”It helps improve and maintain fitness and physical/mental health and can also strengthen the bond between guardian and pet.”
But can only dogs benefit from it? Research suggests not. For example, a study found that fish can recognize and form attachments with their primary caregivers. “Move your training in front of the aquarium!” Emma suggests.
“If you lack the motivation to stick with your fitness routine, why not mix it up and try to include your pet in the action,” she adds, “Take it slow at first for you. ensure he is comfortable with the activity, eat and drink enough and enjoy that unique bonding experience that you and your pet are sure to enjoy.”
Emma recommends considering the following:
1. What is your dog’s breed?
Potentially any healthy dog can be trained to run with people. However, there are some considerations to take into account when deciding to start a sport with your dog.
“Caution should be taken with brachycephalic (flat-faced) breeds,” warns Emma, ”These dogs often have respiratory problems and will struggle in hot weather as they are not able to cool themselves effectively. Being able to losing heat will also be a problem for some of the breeds with double coats or heavier coats like Siberian Huskies.”
She says some breeds are more prone to orthopedic issues and should be treated with caution. Dachshunds, for example, are genetically prone to IVDD (disc disease), and many larger breeds may be more predisposed to conditions such as hip dysplasia.
2. How fit is your pet?
Emma suggests that many dogs will need to develop their physical condition just like humans. You also need to consider the terrain; running is a high impact sport, so be careful when running on firm ground. Also be careful on rough terrain.
“Dogs will be susceptible to the same types of skeletal and muscle injuries as us!” she adds, “Be sure to watch your dog for signs of pain or discomfort when running. You also need to give your dog time to warm up and cool down. There are many stretches and exercises that you can have your dog do. will help reduce the risk of injury.”
3. Watch food and drink
Emma advises you to feed your dog at least an hour before exercise, ideally before, to give him enough time to digest the food. She recommends feeding two hours before and not feeding for two hours after exercise: “If you try to feed your dog too much or too close to active exercise, it can lead to problems such as bloating.”
Hydration is also essential, especially in hot weather. “A loss of just 7% of your dog’s body water can lead to severe dehydration, and a loss of 15% can be fatal,” she adds, “It’s important to remember not to let him drink too much all at once, however, make sure they rehydrate regularly rather than drinking too much too soon.”