We’re teaming up with Burns Pet Nutrition, canicross expert Paw Runner and running experts Run Wales to bring you Tail Wag To 5K. A new exercise programme designed for dog owners who are new to running.
The training plan aims to improve your fitness and stamina over the course of 10-12 weeks until you are able to run a 5k with your furry best friend by your side!
Walking, running and exercising with your pooch is a great way to develop your special bond while keeping mentally and physically fit.
Before taking part, there are some things that need to be considered before you embark on a new exercise regime with your pooch:
Your Dog’s Age
Puppies should not be running until they are fully developed. Running too early could negatively affect their bones, joints and muscle development. Most puppies stop growing at 9 months. However, check in with your vet as some bigger breeds such as Great Danes can grow until they’re 18 months old!
Your Dog’s Size
Always bare in mind what size your dog is. If they are a smaller breed with short legs then they will likely struggle to keep pace with you. It’s hardly surprising, for every step you take their poor little legs have to take four!
Your Dog’s Weight
If your pooch is carrying some extra weight or is noticeably chubby then starting slow is recommended. Before embarking on the Tail Wag To 5K plan it might be wise to work up to it with regular brisk walks. Try to start at 15 minutes and over time push this up to 30.
Once your dog is comfortable with brisk 30 minute walks they’re probably physically prepared to begin the 10 week programme.
Your Dog’s Breed
Some breeds are just not cut out for running. In particular, Brachycephalic or short-nosed breeds like Pugs, Bulldogs and French Bulldogs. The short noses of these dogs combined with narrow nostrils make it difficult for them to take in enough oxygen during exercise.
Some of these breeds can also have poorly formed windpipes which exacerbates the breathing issues. Crossed breeds that are party Brachycephalic such as Puggles may have fewer breathing problems but discuss with a vet before embarking on any exercise regime.
Pre-existing Health Conditions
Consider how the general health of your dog is. Any serious issues or conditions should be discussed with your vet.
Use The Right Equipment!
The right equipment is essential. Do not run with a lead attached to your dog’s collar as if you stop abruptly it can yank them and cause injury or pain. Instead purchase a harness that fits comfortably on your dog.
A harness will protect your dogs spine and windpipe. Make sure that it sits on the last rib and away from the shoulder blades so it doesn’t restrict movement. Also make sure that the harness is a comfortable fit underneath your dogs legs as if the straps rub or are tight your pooch will get sore.
We have reviewed two good dog harnesses you might want to consider, the Ruffwear Flagline and the Ruffwear Front Range.
Your Own Health
While it’s essential to know that your dog is in good health before embarking on a fitness kick, don’t forget about yourself. Like your dog, if you have been inactive for a long period hitting the trails hard and fast is a recipe for injury or burnout.
Build up to Tail Wag To 5K by introducing regular brisk walks to your routine to gradually raise your fitness. If recovering from an injury please see a GP before starting to run. Remember, it’s a marathon not a sprint!
Getting A Vet Check-Up
It’s extremely important to take your dog for a veterinary check up to ensure they’re free from pain and injuries. Dogs are both excitable and loyal so they’ll try and keep up with you even if it’s hurting their hips or legs.
A brief examination will put you at ease that your dog is fit and healthy to embark on a fitness journey with you.
Whether Your Dog Enjoys Running
Not all of our dogs enjoy running based on factors like their age and medical history. In fact some dogs love to run but aren’t physically suited to doing so, at least not often. Monitor how your dog seems on your runs and keep an eye out for signs of discontent. Please do not force your dog to run if it seems like they don’t want to. Your pooch is more than welcome to take part in Tail Wag To 5K as a cheerleader.
Are You Taking Part In Tail Wag To 5K?
Let us know in the comments below. The first you’ve heard of it? Get your free 10 week running program for complete beginners and take part in Tail Wag To 5K!