Even the most practiced runners are susceptible to excuses when it comes to getting out there for a run. Sometimes the weather may be playing spoilsport, while most of the time, it’s your brain that’s giving up. It’s harder to say no when you have a buddy who wants to go out there just as much as you do on your best days.

And it helps even more when that buddy is your pet dog. Chances are that your heart will melt thanks to the puppy eyes that most dogs perfect over the years, or the pair of excited eyes and wagging tail will move even the most stubborn mind. But while you do, always adopt caution. Running with your dog is not as easy as it sounds; you still have to take care of certain aspects to have a trouble-free pet time.

Meet the vet
Some dogs may be very enthusiastic about running, but they may not be able to due to certain physical limitations or a health condition. Dogs too get sick, so check with your vet on a regular basis about the extent of exercise the dog should get. Some may only require a 30-minute walk every day, while others may have excess energy to spend. Not all dogs are equipped to handle sprinting speed either. You don’t want your furry pet getting bruised or muscular injuries, so it’s better to be informed before setting off. Also, consider your pet’s breed and age and make sure it is fit to run, especially if it’s led a sedentary lifestyle before.

Running with a dog in a marathon
Running with a dog in a marathon (Peter van der Sluijs | CC BY SA 3.0)

Get geared
Get a durable and padded waistband, that lets you attach a leash for your dog to run in front or next to you, while your hands are free to tackle any impedances along the way. The Cardio Canine waist-belt comes with a water-bottle holder and a pouch and is reasonable at $50.Another option is the EzyDog Road Runner Hands Free, which has a sliding side-release buckle that lets you to alter the length of the leash or unclip to wear it around your waist, shoulder or hand.

Make your rules
Running is serious to you, but your pet doesn’t know that. Establish some ground rules, and make sure you can keep a tab on your dog’s enthusiasm especially on endorphins. For their safety and of those running alongside you, ensure that your dog is on a leash and trained to follow directions such as “Stay” or “Leave it” for possible roadside distractions.

Waste management
Nobody wants to continue running with a bag of dog poop. It’s a mood killer and you’d much rather focus on getting it out of the way than continue on the path. Plan your route so that your pet can go near a garbage can or organic waste dust-bin. In case, no route in your area gives you this opportunity, then get the Arm & Hammer dispenser clips that can be attached to your leash or belt. It has bags infused with odor-fighting baking soda, and one pack only runs you about $8 on Amazon.

Enough hydration for both
Running with your dog is going to have you working double hard as you are trying to manage the leash and also ensure your running form does not collapse. This is why it’s important to pay extra attention to your hydration patterns and also account for your dog. Ensure your pet is also well-fuelled so that they are not running thirsty. Stop for breaks depending on the weather, and stay alert to signs of overheating on really warm days.

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