Part 1: Making the right decisions
By Karen Sturtevant
We’ve all seen them: people jogging with their furry friends. I am a runner – a very slow one, but a runner nonetheless. I’ve often thought how great it would be to have a trusty companion by my side keeping me in stride. Since I don’t have a big, fluffy friend (I have the small squeaky and hard-shelled varieties), I can only dream of the day when this becomes a reality. If you are one of the fortunate to have a four legged canine running partner, this blog is for you. But, before you attach the leash and lace your sneakers, there are a few things to consider. In part 1 we will talk about making sure your dog is the right dog for a running regimen.
Have Fido checked by his veterinarian
Like us, dogs need to be given a clean bill of health before pounding the pavement. Some are prone to breathing problems, have heart conditions or are overweight. Working and sporting breads that are already being treated for hip dysplasia could have the condition made worse by the pressure and jarring of this strenuous exercise. Chasing a ball after work isn’t the same as participating in a 10K.
When can your puppy become your running partner?
The rate at which puppies grow is amazing. Don’t let the fast development fool you into thinking they are ready to run marathons before their little bodies are ready. Their developing bones and muscles are at risk of permanent damage if over stressed. Most puppies are ready to join you at eight months to one year of age and only at a slow pace for a mile or so to start. The bones, joints, and connective tissue of large dogs develop slower than those their smaller canine friends. Our Glyco Flex line is specifically formulated for these conditions. Your veterinarian will be your best source of information on when the time is right and safe for Fido.
Have an idea of which breeds are best suited for this type of exercise. When’s the last time you saw an English bulldog running laps? Again, your veterinarian will be the best source of advice on this. If your long-term goal is to have a dog as running buddy, consider this when you’re puppy planning. Think Labradors over dachshunds.
Everyone needs a little help
If you live an active lifestyle, chances are so will your dog. Taking nutritional supplements are part of a healthy routine. As many as 1/3 of dogs in the United States receive daily vitamins or supplements. According to the Journal of American Veterinary Medical Association, the most popular pet supplements are those to support joint and connect tissue and multivitamins. VetriScience offers a full line of supplements, including Mobility Flex Bite Size Chews. This formula contains a propriety combination of ingredients to support joint, immune system and vascular health. Dogs love the taste and owners love the ease of offering it like a treat.
In part II we will talk about making running an enjoyable experience for runners and dogs alike. Do you run with your pet? Was activity an issue you thought about before choosing your furry companion? Tell us about your process on Facebook!