How To Start Running With Your Dog

Starting a running routine with your furry friend can be a great way to bond and stay fit together. As a dog lover and avid runner, I can’t recommend this activity enough. Not only does it provide physical exercise for both you and your dog, but it also helps to stimulate their minds and keep them happy and healthy. In this article, I will share my personal experiences and provide useful tips on how to start running with your dog.

Getting Started

Before you hit the pavement, it’s important to ensure that your dog is physically capable of running. Just like humans, dogs need to build endurance gradually, so start with short distances and gradually increase the distance over time. If you’re unsure about your dog’s fitness level, it’s always a good idea to consult with your veterinarian.

Once you’ve determined that your dog is ready to run, it’s time to gather the necessary gear. A sturdy leash and a comfortable harness are essential for both your safety and your dog’s. Avoid using retractable leashes, as they can be dangerous when running. Instead, opt for a hands-free leash that attaches around your waist, allowing for a more comfortable and natural running posture.

Choosing the Right Route

When it comes to choosing a running route, consider your dog’s safety and well-being. Look for routes that provide shade, water sources, and minimal exposure to traffic. Parks and trails are often great options, as they offer a more natural environment and a chance for your dog to explore and socialize with other dogs.

Additionally, keep in mind that different breeds have different exercise needs. High-energy breeds, such as Border Collies or Huskies, may require more challenging routes and longer distances, while smaller or older dogs may prefer shorter, less strenuous runs. It’s essential to tailor your running routine to your dog’s specific needs.

Warm-Up and Cool-Down

Just like humans, dogs need a proper warm-up and cool-down before and after running. Start your running session with a brisk walk to allow your dog’s muscles to warm up gradually. This will help prevent injuries and ensure a more enjoyable run. After your run, take some time to cool down by walking or stretching together. This will help your dog’s body recover and reduce the risk of muscle soreness.

Hydration and Nutrition

Staying hydrated is crucial for both you and your dog during a run. Make sure to bring along enough water for both of you, especially on hot days. Consider investing in a collapsible water bowl for your dog, as it’s more convenient and allows them to drink easily. It’s also essential to feed your dog a balanced meal before running to ensure they have enough energy. Avoid feeding them immediately before a run to prevent stomach discomfort.

Listening to Your Dog

While running, pay close attention to your dog’s behavior and body language. Look for signs of exhaustion, such as excessive panting, lagging behind, or refusing to continue. Adjust your pace or take breaks when needed, as pushing your dog too hard can lead to injury or heatstroke. Remember, running should be an enjoyable activity for both of you.


Starting a running routine with your dog can bring an extra level of joy and companionship to your workouts. However, it’s essential to take the time to prepare and ensure the safety and well-being of your furry friend. By gradually building up your dog’s endurance, choosing suitable routes, and paying attention to their needs, you can create a rewarding running experience for both of you. So lace up your running shoes, grab your dog’s leash, and hit the road together!