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I saw this article in a newsletter the other day and thought it perfect to share with our readers. The topic -running with our dogs and what we should do or not do before taking them out to exercise.

CONSIDER THE COLOR OF YOUR DOGS FUR – dark colors absorb the sun’s rays thereby making dark-furred dogs more inclined to over-heat than light furred dogs. Boxers, Bulldogs, Shih Tzus and other flat-faced breeds often find running in high temperatures very challenging since their anatomy makes it difficult to take deep breaths. During really hot days most dogs should stay indoors or have ample shelter, since they’re prone to heat stroke and can singe their paws on hot asphalt. Place your hand on the pavement for 10 seconds; if it hurts leave your best friend at home.

LET YOUR DOG SET THE PACE – forcing an uninterested dog to run a 5K, 15K or any other route is cruel. You must consider that there’s another being with you and they might not care how fast you run or that you even are running. “Not every dog is a marathoner and once you make the decision to bring the dog, you have to make sure his or her best interest is at hand,” says a volunteer at the SPCA in New York. “If that means running, or even walking, two miles that day, you have to adapt and do what’s best for your dog.”

DOGS ARE JUST LIKE PEOPLE START SLOW – if a dog starts running as a puppy and is in good condition, she’ll probably be okay with a longer run.  Overweight dogs however, can incur a torn ACL or other running injuries. Start slow and gradually add distance over several weeks.

DON’T ASSUME RACING DOGS LIKE TO RACE – it may be counter intuitive, but large breeds like Great Danes and Mastiffs are loathe to even walk a mile, let alone go on a run. Conversely, a little Jack Russell Terrier, a born and bred working dog, can sometimes run five miles or more. Dogs’ short legs mean they do work harder than their human, so pace accordingly. Sinewy dogs, such as American Pit Bulls, Greyhounds and Boxers are better at short distances; muscle mass prevents them from exchanging heat in the same way more lean breeds would, says Justine Lee, D.V.M., an Oakdale, Minnesota-based veterinarian and running aficionado.

DON’T JUST ASSUME YOUR DOG’S FEELING FINE – often our pups don’t give off warning signs when it comes to running danger zones. “We bred dogs to please us, so of course dogs are going to try to run by your side and please you,” Lee says. “Some dogs will just stop, but you can’t really trust a dog to tell you.” Warning signs to look for: if a dog is panting constantly, if his tongue is long and hanging far outside his mouth, if he’s lagging behind, if his gums are dark red or he feels warm to the touch.

DO MANAGE YOUR DOG’S TRAINING SCHEDULE – if your dog is a beginner, it might be a challenge for them to keep up. It takes time and training for them to run longer distances, just like people. Start with short runs and build their stamina and tolerance. Dogs also get sore just like we do. If they need a rest day – give them one and make sure they always have plenty of water.

Sara Holzman; The Science/Health – Futhermore