Your dog can really help motivate you to get outside and be more active - And let's face it, they make exercise a lot more fun! So try starting off your weekend taking a jog with your dog.
Check out some of our tips on how we get the most out of our dogs when going for a run.
Just like humans, a dog’s muscles need to be stretched! So after you go for a run, you can try these following stretches to help your dog’s muscles cool down and to prevent injuries.
Hind leg hip flexors stretch:
- Have your dog stand
- While sitting or standing behind him, stretch one of his legs straight back just before it meets the point of resistance.
- Hold for about 20 seconds, then repeat the stretch with his other leg.
You can do a few sets of this exercise to help your dog’s hips stay loose.
Stretching shoulder flexors:
- Holding your dog’s front leg, stabilize it with one hand just under its elbow and place your other hand on the dog's paw
- Stretch his leg forward, but be careful not too pull too far
- Hold this stretch for about 20 seconds and repeat with his other front leg
You can do a few sets of this exercise as well. This will help your dog's wrists and elbows as well as loosen his chest muscles.
- Have your dog sit and hold a treat near his nose so he lifts both paws, then lift the treat a little higher so he will sit up a bit more.
This is a great stretch for his spine, core and hips.
2. Help ease sore muscles and stiff joints
We use an essential oil blend made just for dogs. Rub a small amount into your dog’s muscle or joint about 15 minutes before exercise. Ingredients such as lavender, ginger and rosemary are great for pain relief and circulation and black spruce acts as an anti-inflammatory. We love this stuff because it works, it’s natural and it smells really good!
3. Protecting your Dog’s Paw Pads
Dryness: A dog's paw pads can dry out easily especially if you’re running with them often. Our dogs have quite sensitive skin and although booties can be a great way to prevent any cuts and scrapes, they’re not always comfortable for our dogs when running. We apply a moisturizing soothing balm made just for dogs before our runs. The balm will harden after you apply it and will protect them from salt, ice and snow in the Winter months. Some of the ingredients include emu oil, coconut oil, beeswax and grapeseed oil. This is also a natural way to soothe your dog’s paws if they have irritated skin. In the Summer months, try to choose a surface of pavement that isn’t too hot for their paws or you can try running on grass or a cooler surface.
Cuts: A dog’s paw pads are a resilient part of their body. But as tough as they are, they still can manage to get cuts, burns and scrapes which can be very painful and can take a really long time to heal. We check our dogs' paw pads often to make sure they haven’t stepped in glass or other foreign objects. If you do notice your dog has cut himself, treat it immediately with an antibacterial wash and wrap with a bandage. For deeper paw cuts, always seek Veterinarian treatment.
Nails: Keeping your dog’s nails clipped will really make their jog more enjoyable. Their nails should just touch the ground when they walk and it should never sound like they’re wearing high heels!
No food before or after run
Giving large amounts of water or providing a meal to dogs before or after exercise increases their risk of developing bloat. At our house, we exercise our dogs at least 2 hours before or after they have eaten. Meals should be given at a calm time during the day, so if you like to take your runs in the morning or at the end of the day, you should ensure that your dog’s meal times are adjusted accordingly.
For more information on bloat, we find this link helpful:
These are just some of the steps we take to help get the most out of our dogs when we exercise. We end up enjoying our run a lot more and we think our dogs do too.
If you have other tips you find helpful on your run with your dog, we would love to hear them in the comments section below!
THE DOG PARK