Tips for Running with Your Dog

man running with dog


If you have a dog (or multiple dogs) you are probably aware of the importance of keeping them physically active for their health.

However, when new to running with your pup, there are definitely things you should consider beforehand.

There’s much more you need to think about besides bringing plastic bags when nature calls and checking for tick bites.

Top 7 Tips for Running with Your Dog

Here are seven tips for running with your dog.

1. Take It Slow

Just like humans, dogs also need time to work up their endurance and muscular ability. If you’re an experienced runner, maybe try going on one of your own rest days so that you don’t feel as though you’re losing personal momentum.

Exercise wears out anyone, especially when they aren’t experienced. While keeping your dog active is important, it’s always best to start out slow before going full force.

2. Follow Leash Rules

This one can be confusing as many people might have different opinions on whether or not a dog should be on a leash during a run. The answer: yes!

It’s not only a safe way to run where you might be in a situation that opens you both up to socializing, but it’s an easy way to make sure that your pup doesn’t run ahead of you.

No matter how well you trained your dog, always keeping them on a semi-short leash while running is your safest bet.

Keeping your dog on leash assures they will not approach someone else on your route. If your dog were to bite or knock down a runner or walker, you could be liable for any injuries they incur.

It’s always safest to make sure a dog runs side-by-side with you, but many dogs enjoy running either in front of or behind their human, which is fine as long as it’s done safely.

However, avoid having your pup run directly behind you, because this can put your own safety at risk with the leash possibly getting intertwined in your legs.

3. Remember That Good Habits Take Time

Breaking bad habits take a lot of time, which is why training dogs can be very challenging. However, building good habits seem to be a lot easier and more sustainable for a dog’s overall health, especially when physical activity is involved.

Dogs thrive on routine, so if they aren’t already accustomed to running with you, build better habits of going for walks regularly to get them started. Then start with short runs, building up to your desired distance slowly.

Don’t beat yourself up if you skip a walk or a run but try to avoid breaking the routine you wish to have for you and your pup. Remember, playing with your dog is about improving your mental health too.

4. Take Weather into Consideration

While human feet might run better on hard surfaces regardless of the weather, please consider that running in extreme temperatures might be painful for your dog.

If it’s really warm out, their paws might be ultra-sensitive to certain types of materials (asphalt, concrete, etc.) and you may want to consider running in a shady area, like the woods.

Softer surfaces such as grass and dirt tend to be cooler since they don’t necessarily retain heat the way a sidewalk or a street would, thus making it more comfortable for your dog.

Dogs don’t wear shoes, so they don’t have the luxury of running on any type of ground without suffering a little bit, and we don’t want that!

5. Know When Your Dog Needs a Break

Understanding the following signs of exhaustion is crucial for knowing when your pup may need a few extra minutes of downtime:

    • Refusal to continue running
    • Excessive and heavy breathing and/or panting
    • Lips that seem to be extremely pulled back (this indicates dry mouth and a need for rehydration)
    • Extremely reddened tongue
    • Uncontrollable drooling

6. Consider A Harness

Some pups are more sensitive in the neck area than others, which is why you might see many pets wearing a harness while running.

It can be a great choice for almost any pup but is especially helpful to those who tend to pull a lot more.

A harness can protect their neck from injury, whereas if they wear only a leash, it could cause them more harm than good.

7. Bring Water

The importance of water for you and your pup should be a given, but always make sure your dog is hydrated, just like you. If your dog isn’t accustomed to running, it might be a good idea to bring more water than you need.

Humans aren’t the only ones who suffer from dehydration. (Some signs of dehydration include a sudden decrease in pace and an unusually dry nose.)

The Takeaway

So, there you have it, all the things you should consider before training your dog to go on runs with you!

It’s also important to know that you should invest in decent tick spray, as dogs tend to run on softer surfaces, such as dirt and grass, which are in the woods and the woods are a great source of finding ticks.

Make sure your pet is in good shape prior to starting this new routine with them. It’s also a good idea to take them to the vet beforehand and making sure they are in good condition enough to start running.

About Theresa Duncan

Originally from Detroit, MI, Theresa has been offering health and fitness advice for the last 30 years while working as an engineer. She decided to turn her passion into a profession, and finds nothing more satisfying than helping others reach their health and fitness goals.

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