The following bi-weekly column is written and sponsored by Bark + Boarding, which provides a heart-centered and safe environment for your pets. Conveniently located at 5818-C Seminary Road in Bailey’s Crossroads, Bark & Boarding offers doggy daycare, boarding, grooming, walking and training services, plus in-home pet care.
By Chelsea Pennington, Bark + Boarding Writer and Animal Enthusiast
Going for a run is a great way for both dogs and their owners to stay in shape.
Bringing your pup on a run has a unique set of challenges to overcome, but with a few tips, you and your furry friend will be up and running in no time!
Do talk to your vet first
Before you start running with your dog, take them to have a check-up with your vet. Let them know you plan on starting to exercise your dog more, so they can pay extra attention to your pet’s heart, lungs and joints. This ensures you don’t do more harm than good by encouraging your pet to run if they aren’t physically fit enough.
Don’t start off too hard
Just like humans, dogs need time to build up their stamina and energy, so beginning your new routine with a ten mile run isn’t a good idea. Start slowly with short distances, and alternate between running and walking. Dogs’ paws are also sensitive, and need to grow tougher gradually as you increase the distance.
Do teach them good leash behavior
Give the leash gentle tugs to keep your dog focused on moving forward and not constantly stopping to pee or sniff something. You want them running at your side within a few feet of you, and a three-to six-foot leash is usually the right length for running with a dog. Reinforce good behavior with a small treat.
Don’t start too young
Puppies’ joints are more prone to injury, so they shouldn’t be taken on long runs until their bones have stopped growing, about 9 months in small dogs and up to 16 months for larger dogs. Until then, keep them fit by going on short walks and playing in the backyard or dog park.
Do pay attention to paws
While you may have sturdy shoes to run in, your dog doesn’t. Pay attention to the type of surface you’re leading your dog over. During hot months, blacktop and concrete heat up quickly, while jagged ice in the winter can also pose a threat. Keep an eye out for glass and other roadside debris.
Inspect your dog’s paws for any cuts before and after your workout, and wipe down their paws with a warm, soapy rag afterward to clean out salt, dirt and any other irritants.
Don’t underestimate staying hydrated
For both you and your dog, be sure you drink enough water! Hydrate before and after the run, and if it’s going to be a longer distance it’s important to bring water with you. When your pup gets thirsty, they’ll likely try to drink from puddles and other sources of standing water. Don’t let your dog do this, as they’re often contaminated and can make your dog sick.
Do listen to your dog
Your dog can’t speak up when they don’t feel good, but you can still listen to them. Signs that your dog needs a break include foaming at the mouth, heavy panting, glazed eyes and slowing down. If your dog starts to limp or lick the pads of its paw, you should stop the run immediately and return home.
If your dog doesn’t seem to be cooling down, place ice bags or cool cloths in their “arm pits” where their legs connect to the rest of their body, and take them to the vet or an emergency clinic, as they might be overheating.
Don’t forget the right equipment
The number one thing you need on a run is doggy bags! Just because you’re moving faster than your normal walk doesn’t mean you don’t need to pick up after your dog. If you’re running longer distances, a collapsible bowl to pour water into can be a good investment. There are a variety of hands-free leashes that clip around your waist, so you don’t have to worry about holding onto the leash.
Good Tuesday evening, Arlington. Let’s take a look back at today’s stories and a look forward to tomorrow’s event calendar. 🕗 News recap The following articles were published earlier today…
New Addison Heights Home by National Landing Attractions!
A 19-year-old man and a teen boy are facing charges after two girls overdosed at Wakefield High School last week. Police and medics responded to the school just before 11:45…
Join Arlington County Initiative to Rethink Energy (AIRE) and a group of electric vehicle (EV) experts as they explain how to install home chargers, discuss commercial charging infrastructure, project the…
The Arlington Sports Hall of Fame is extremely pleased to announce that our 2023 Annual Induction Dinner, again in partnership with the Better Sports Club of Arlington, will be held on Wednesday, Oct. 11, at the Knights of Columbus, located at 5115 Little Falls Road, Arlington, Va.
Our dinner will pay tribute to all the honored members of the Hall of Fame and will induct the following six new Class of 2023 inductees, joining the 62 athletes, coaches and contributors who have been inducted into ASHOF since its founding in 1958:
Noel Deskins (Yorktown Class of ’79): Track & Field record-holder & Athlete of the Year at YHS and JMU
Eric Metcalf (O’Connell Class of ’85): Star NFL running back, football and track & field record-holder and Hall of Famer at both O’Connell and the University of Texas
🌟 Calling all adventurous hearts! 🌟
💑 Get ready for an evening of excitement and connection as we present Speed Dating Night at The Renegade in Arlington, VA! 🌆
📅 Mark your calendars for Oct 20th, from 6-9 pm, because