It’s 3.50am and I feel a wet nose nudging me. My alarm is set to go off at any moment, but Nelson (our beagle) and George (our labrador) can’t wait. The night before they saw me putting out my trail shoes, they know adventure awaits.
Why not share your next running adventure with your furry best friend? Nothing beats the adoration you get when you go on an adventure with your dog and they have the best time.
Here are nine vital tips for getting fit with your dog:
1. Before you hit the road or trails for a run, consider your dog’s breed, health and build. For example, short-nosed or flat-nose breeds are unlikely to be able to go on long runs while gun dogs are made for longer adventures.
2. Build up gradually. Just like humans, dogs need to get fit gradually to prevent injuries. Lengthen their walks/runs slightly each time. Also watch for signs of overexertion, like weakness, drooling, dark red gums and vomiting. If your dog stops and refuses to continue don’t force them to carry on.
3. Hit the trails or open spaces: dogs run differently to humans and they are better off the leash. Off lead, they can moderate their own pace.
4. Harness fit: ensure they have a comfortable harness. If you are going on more hectic adventures that require you to lift your dog, make sure you choose a sturdy harness with a good handle for grip.
5. Water: take enough water for you and your dog to stay hydrated. Invest in a portable, collapsible water bowl. I can highly recommend the Ruff Wear Trail Runner and Quencher Bowls from Pawfect.
6. Consider the weather: don’t run them in the heat of the day. Consider a cooling jacket for hot conditions and a fleece or knit jacket in colder conditions. In the winter months when it is darker a track visibility jacket is a great investment.
7. Light up: I recommend a light attached to their harness to make them visible at all times. I love the Beacon Safety light from Ruff Wear, it has three different colours and settings. It now comes with an audible function.
8. Check them for ticks when coming out of the bush: before going out I recommend Outdoor Defence spray. Make sure you keep their tick and flea treatments up to date.
9. Scoop the poop: leave places the way you find them. So take poop bags with you. We recommend the biodegradable Bonnie Bags or Earth Rated Degradable rolls.