When To Start Running With Dog

When it comes to running, it’s always more enjoyable when you have a furry companion by your side. Running with your dog not only provides an opportunity for exercise but also strengthens the bond between you and your four-legged friend. But when is the right time to start running with your dog? As a dog owner and avid runner myself, I’ve learned a few important factors to consider before hitting the pavement with your canine companion.

Consider the Age and Breed of Your Dog

The age and breed of your dog play a crucial role in determining when it’s safe to start running together. Puppies have developing bones and joints, so it’s essential to wait until they are at least one year old before engaging in any strenuous exercise. Consult your veterinarian to ensure your dog’s growth plates have closed and it’s safe for them to start running.

Additionally, consider the breed of your dog. Some breeds, like Border Collies and Huskies, have high energy levels and are natural runners. These dogs tend to have more endurance and may be ready to start running at an earlier age. On the other hand, brachycephalic breeds like Bulldogs and Pugs have shorter snouts, which can make breathing more difficult during exercise. It’s crucial to be mindful of their limitations and consult with your vet before starting a running routine.

Build Up Your Dog’s Fitness Gradually

Just like humans, dogs need to build up their fitness levels gradually. Start with shorter distances and slow-paced runs, allowing your dog to adapt to the exercise. Begin with a brisk walk and gradually increase the running intervals. Pay attention to your dog’s behavior and monitor signs of fatigue, such as excessive panting or limping. It’s important to give your dog plenty of rest breaks and provide access to water during and after the run.

Keep in mind that running on hard surfaces like concrete can be harsh on your dog’s joints. Whenever possible, choose softer surfaces like grass or trails to minimize the impact on their joints and paws. You can also consider investing in dog booties or paw balm to protect their paws from rough terrain.

Observe Your Dog’s Body Language

While running with your dog, it’s crucial to pay close attention to their body language. Dogs are unable to communicate verbally, so it’s essential to observe their behavior for any signs of discomfort or stress. Some dogs may become overexcited and pull on the leash, which can lead to injuries if not properly controlled. Invest in a sturdy leash and harness that allows you to maintain control over your dog’s movements.

If you notice any signs of fatigue, such as lagging behind, excessive panting, or reluctance to continue, it’s essential to stop and give your dog a break. Pushing your dog too hard can lead to exhaustion or even serious injuries. Always prioritize your dog’s well-being and adjust your running routine accordingly.

Maintain Proper Nutrition and Hydration

Regular exercise requires proper nutrition and hydration for you and your dog. Ensure your dog is on a balanced diet that meets their nutritional needs. Consult with your veterinarian to determine the appropriate portion sizes and types of food for your active dog.

Hydration is also crucial before, during, and after a run. Just like humans, dogs need access to water to stay hydrated. Bring a collapsible water bowl and a bottle of water on your runs to provide regular water breaks for your dog. Remember that dogs can’t sweat like humans, so be mindful of hot weather conditions and avoid running during the hottest parts of the day.


Running with your dog can be a rewarding and enjoyable experience. However, it’s crucial to consider your dog’s age, breed, and physical condition before starting a running routine. Gradually build up their fitness level, pay attention to their body language, and always prioritize their well-being. With proper preparation and care, running with your dog can strengthen your bond and lead to many happy miles together.