Have you ever come home after playing with a dog only to have your own dog freak out? Maybe they sniffed you all over. Maybe they even acted a little jealous. As dog parents, we just assume our pups can smell other dogs on us. But is that really true? After some research, we found the answer. Here’s a short guide to dogs’ ability to smell other dogs on their owners.
Can Your Dog Really Smell Other Dogs on You?
Turns out our instincts as pets parents are correct: Yes, our dogs can smell other dogs on us. Dogs can detect not only new and unfamiliar smells, but also the pheromones of other canines (which are present in skin, fur, fecal matter and urine). So, the next time you come home after playing with a dog, know that your dog’s onto you. Not only can your dog tell if you’ve been cheating on them, their noses can also discover a lot of information about the dog you were playing with—including their sex, if the dog has given birth, what the dog had recently eaten, where they had recently been, and even what kind of mood they were in when you saw them.
Signs Your Dog Smells Another Dog on You
Just because a dog can smell another dog on you, doesn’t mean they have. Here are some telltale signs your pup has picked up on the scent:
- Excited jumping and other hyper or anxious behavior
- Intense sniffing that lasts longer than usual
- Twitching whiskers
How Do They Do it?
A dog’s sense of smell is said to be anywhere from 10,000 to 100,000 more powerful than our own (it’s believed that dogs have between 125-300 million scent glands). In a way, though, comparing a dog’s sense of smell with our own doesn’t make a lot of sense. The canine sense of smell gathers so much more information than ours that it’s essentially an entirely different kind of sense—it’s more like our vision and our sense of smell combined. Sometimes it takes your dog several attempts to sniff out all the information they’re looking for, which explains why they seem to smell you for a lot longer after you’ve been around other canines.
Your Dog Can Also Smell You on Other Dogs and People
Experiments into the canine sense of smell have revealed other interesting things. For instance, in one study researchers tested a dog’s ability to distinguish her owners scent from that of other humans. The scientists found that not only could the dog recognize her owners smell from the rest, but they found that her brain’s pleasure center was activated only when she detected her owners smell, not when she detected other humans’ scents. This means two things: First, your dog really really loves you, and second, your unique smell likely reminds your pup of all the good times you’ve shared.
The study also showed that the brains of therapy and service dogs act differently than most other canines. Compared to other dogs, these service dogs’ pleasure centers were activated by contact with nearly all humans, not just their owners. Which, of course, makes sense since they’re trained for empathy and affection. Another study confirmed something else us pet parents regularly assume: Dogs, it seems, actually do get jealous!
There are over 48,000 species of mites. They can be found in almost every corner of the world, surviving everywhere from tropical environments to arid ecosystems, even indoors alongside humans.
Like ticks, mites are both arthropods and arachnids, but unlike ticks, not all mites are parasites. Some—like house dust mites—are scavengers, feeding off dead skin and hair. Some mites feed on mold and other plant-life. Some are symbiotic, living on the backs of insects like bees. And, yes, some are parasitic—like bird mites, rat mites and chiggers—which feed on the blood or skin of their hosts.
You might be surprised to learn that the overwhelming majority of American homes have mites. The good news is that most mites are harmless to humans. However, there are in fact a few species that bite or pose other health risks to people. The extremely irritating skin condition scabies, for instance, is caused by an allergic reaction to the itch mite, which burrows into the skin of mammals to live and lay eggs. Mange is often the result of the same itch mite, along with another species, the Demodex mite (or eyelash mite), which infests the eyelashes of millions of people each year. The Demodex mite has also been linked to rosacea.
The most common biting mites found in the home are rat mites and bird mites. These two parasitic species prey mostly on small animals, but occasionally feed on humans too, causing dermatitis and acute itching. Another common household mite, the dust mite, is not parasitic and therefore does not bite. However, it’s a leading cause of allergies and has been found to cause asthma, too.
The two most common biting mites—rat mites and bird mites—enter our homes through wild animals and pests. The former is typically brought into the home by a rodent, while the later finds its way in from nearby bird nests. Dust mites on the other hand live almost exclusively within homes, where they deeply embed themselves in carpets, bedding, rugs and other dusty surfaces. In fact, a typical mattress contains tens of thousands of these mites. Even more—around 100,000—can live in a single square foot of rug or carpet.
Perhaps most off-putting of all, Demodex mites—sometimes called eyelash mites—make their home in the hair follicles and glands in and around the human eye. People with pets are particularly at risk of contracting Demodex mites, as these insect-like organisms are usually transferred to humans from dogs and cats.
Because of mites’ near microscopic size, and because they vary so greatly from species to species, it’s extremely difficult to correctly identify a mite infestation. While some mites leave noticeable markings—spider mites spin webs, clover mites are recognizable by their bright red color—most mites leave little to no evidence of their existence.
In fact, the sole sign of an infestation often comes by way of the symptoms mites can cause in humans, such as skin irritation and general allergic reaction. Unless you’re able to capture a mite sample and have it identified by a professional, there’s little to no way to confirm what sort of mite infestation you may or may not be dealing with.
While some mites—like the mostly harmless dust mite—are all but impossible to completely eliminate from your home, troublesome biting mites are comparatively easier to treat. Rat mites and bird mites, for example, can often be solved simply by removing any small rodents, birds and bird nests from your home.
If you have mites, but are unsure of the source, Cedarcide Original will be a big help, as it both kills and repels mites within the home and can protect you from painful bites. If mites have infested your bedding or other linens, washing and drying them on a hot cycle should rid your items of any hidden mites.
Watch Our Fogging Tutorial Below:
If you’re anything like us, every time your dog whimpers or twitches in their sleep you wonder: what are they dreaming about? More importantly, do dogs even dream? And If so, do they also have nightmares? As pet parents, these questions have always fascinated us, too. After a little digging, we found some answers. Here’s a short guide to dogs and their dreams
Do Dogs Really Dream?
Researchers are confident that they do. It turns out dog brains are more similar to human brains than you might expect. As a result, the dream patterns of dogs are not that much different from ours. Because studies have also revealed that dogs experience the same stages of electrical activity during sleep as those seen in humans, scientists are quite certain dogs do in fact dream.
What Do Dogs Dream About?
The subject matter of human dreams is strongly associated with our daily activities. It would stand to reason, the same would go for dogs. Scientists tested out this theory and found “that dogs dream doggy things . . . Pointers will point at dream birds, and Doberman Pinschers will chase dream burglars. The dream pattern in dogs seems to be very similar to the dream pattern in humans.” Just like in real like, your dog’s dreams are full of running, playing and eating. And, yes—your dog probably dreams about you, too. A lot. (blush emoji). Researchers believe that also like humans, dogs probably experience nightmares as well.
Did you know the size, breed and personality of your dog also determines how they dream? Researchers believe small dogs dream more frequently than larger dogs, but that each dream is relatively short, about 10 minutes in length. Larger dogs experience fewer, but also longer dreams. And puppies and senior dogs tend to dream more often than middle-aged canines.
How to Tell When Your Dog is Dreaming
About 20 minutes after falling asleep, dogs enter REM sleep, the stage at which they begin to dream. If at this point you witness muscle twitches, quiet barking, or eye movement, your dog is likely dreaming. A word of caution, never attempt to wake a dog that appears to be dreaming or having a nightmare. Doing so can startle your pup, causing aggression or even a bite.
Bones are beneficial for dogs and dog owners alike. They taste great and are super entertaining for our pups, but more importantly they’re good for them, too. Chewing bones strengthens jaws, cleans teeth, reduces bad breath, and supplies both physical and mental stimulation thereby helping manage destructive behaviors. Natural bones are also a good source of nutrients, such as calcium and other minerals. But these many benefits are only enjoyed if the bone is the right fit for you pooch. Choosing the incorrect type and size for your dog’s unique needs could do more harm than good. Here’s three simple tips to help you select the right bone for your dog.
Go Natural and Raw
When selecting a bone, we suggest only natural, raw options. Artificial and processed chews like rawhide bones are notoriously unsafe and often contain toxic chemicals and preservatives (more info that here). That leaves you with cooked or raw natural bones. Cooked bones have fewer nutritional benefits and are usually quite brittle. If a sharp splinter breaks off during chew time, your pup could suffer damage to their teeth, gums, throat, intestines and more. Raw natural bones are the only way to go.
Pick the Right Size
The right bone is neither too small nor too big. A bone’s that too small could easily be swallowed, becoming lodged in the throat or stomach; and bones that are too large can damage teeth, and may contain too much fat content for smaller pups. As a general rule, aim for a bone that’s bigger than the length of your dog’s muzzle, but nothing much larger than that.
Consider Your Pup’s Age, Health and Personality
Is your dog an aggressive chewer? Do they still have puppy teeth, or did they recently have dental work? Do they have a sensitive tummy? Are they prone to allergies? Your dog’s unique health profile and personality should be considered when choosing the correct bone.
To prevent choking, give bones only after feeding, which will curb the temptation to swallow bones or bone fragments whole. It’s a good idea to supervise chew time also, so you can take away small or finished pieces before they become a choking hazard. Additionally, separate dogs when offering bones, as even the friendliest pups can become territorial when tasty bones are involved.
As pet parents we go to great lengths to keep our pets safe. We seek healthy food options, keep up with vet visits, and never let our fur baes eat dangerous foods. But did you know most households are filled with chemicals that threaten the health of our pets? From cleaners to candles, countless products contaminate our homes with toxins. Because of their small size and close proximity to the ground, pets are far more vulnerable to these toxins and therefore more likely to suffer their negative health effects. For the safety or your cat or pup, here are 5 household products every pet parent should avoid.
Toxic Flea & Tick Products
Traditional flea and tick products can seriously threaten your pet’s health, not to mention your own. Whether collars, pills or repellent sprays, traditional pest control products for pets often contain toxic ingredients—including fipronil, imidacloprid, and pyrethroids. Organ damage, seizures, nervous system damage and even death are all associated with these chemicals. Choosing a pet-safe, non-toxic insect repellent is one way to lessen your animal and family’s exposure to chemical-based pesticides. Remember: Always consult a veterinarian when planning your pet’s pest control regimen.
Indoor air pollution is a common issue in American homes. Whether inhaled, ingested or absorbed through the skin, common household cleaners are largely at fault. Bleach, ammonia, chlorine, formaldehyde and other toxic chemicals feature prominently in these cleaning solutions, including laundry detergents. Cancer, anemia and organ damage are just some of the known health complications associated with these ingredients and their noxious fumes. To avoid exposure, consider switching to natural cleaning alternatives.
Air Fresheners and Scented Candles
From plug-ins and incense to sprays and scented candles, air fresheners are surprisingly toxic. Long term health effects such as respiratory complications, heart disease and cancer have been linked to the harmful chemicals contained within these products. Formaldehyde, heavy metals, and VOCs (volatile organic compounds) like ethanol, acetate and acetone are the primary culprits. Studies have shown that in some respects these ingredients can be even more harmful than cigarette smoke.
Considering these chemicals can accumulate in the body over time and usually end up collecting on the floor, pets and children are most at risk. To ensure your pet lives a long and healthy life, we strongly encourage seeking natural alternatives to household air fresheners.
Fertilizers, Herbicides and Outdoor Pesticides
Traditionally formulated pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers can spell trouble for your dog or cat. Dogs have been known to ingest fertilizers, which commonly contain toxic mixtures of nitrogen, phosphorus and other chemicals. Pest control sprays and herbicides are arguably even worse. Lying on the lawn, paw-licking or consuming grass are all it takes to receive harmful exposure. Bottom line: Don’t put anything on your lawn or garden until researching its potential impact on your pet’s health. To prevent life-altering side effects and possibly even the loss of your pet, go with a non-toxic lawn and garden alternatives instead.
Indoor Insecticides and Rodenticides
The same ingredients that make indoor pesticides lethal to insects and rodents make them extremely dangerous for your pet, too. Avoid illness, a vet visit, or potentially serious health consequences by using only pet-safe pest control products within the home. Plant-based pesticides, DIY essential oil mixtures, and diatomaceous earth are viable substitutes. Adopting basic pest prevention practices will also decrease pest activity.
Not only is dog man’s best friend, he’s man’s best workout partner, too! Think about it: They need exercise, we need exercise, they’re almost always up for it, and unlike your friend from work, your pup won’t call to cancel at the last minute. In fact, a study from Michigan State University found that dog owners are 34% more likely to meet the recommended amount of weekly exercise compared to those without dogs. Plus, in general, our dogs could use a lot more exercise. According to the Association of Pet Obesity and Prevention, over 50% of dogs are overweight—and over 20% are obese! By joining forces, you and your canine can fend off heart disease, arthritis, and even depression together. Here are 5 Ways to Exercise with Your Dog.
Before starting a new workout routine, have your dog checked at the vet to ensure they’re healthy enough for the chosen exercise. Similarly, we suggest having yourself checked over by your family physician just as a precaution.
Walking, jogging, running—all healthy adult dogs can do at least one. Some pups, like greyhounds, are awesome at sprinting, but don’t fare well on long distances. Others, like labs, are efficient joggers, but can’t sprint like the aforementioned greyhounds. Thankfully, all adult canines without preexisting health conditions can enjoy modest morning walks, which still help improve cardiovascular and immune system health. For best results, avoid running/walking during the hottest and most humid times of the day, and if you have a short-nosed breed like a pug or bulldog, keep the distance under five miles. Click here for help finding the right breed for your style of running or jogging. Want to learn more? Check out these 7 Tips for Running with Your Dog.
Many dogs take to swimming immediately, which is great, because it’s an incredible exercise you can share with your pup. Swimming is a particularly wise choice for older humans and canines, as it’s low-impact and therefore a good fit for individuals with arthritis and other joint complications. Swimming is also a two-for-one workout, in that it not only improves cardiovascular health but also strengthens muscles. Just remember to never leave your pup alone in the pool unsupervised, even strong canine swimmers can suffer accidents when left unattended.
Hiking is one of our favorite ways of exercising with doggies, and thankfully they love it, too! There are a million smells to smell, plenty of fresh air to breathe, and lots of nature to explore. Plus, hiking is usually so totally entertaining, you hardly notice you’re exercising at all. Like with all exercises, check with your vet beforehand, start slow, and see how your pup handles the activity before tackling any serious trails. Unlike most exercises on this list, hiking requires several pieces of equipment to do it correctly (including canine-safe bug repellent!). For a list of essential hiking gear, click here. More tips for successfully hiking with your dog can be found here.
If your dog prefers faster runs or is way ahead of you in the fitness department, cycling might be the right exercise to share with your pup. As you can imagine, cycling with a dog comes with many potential pitfalls and requires a strong ability to multitask, so we definitely recommend reading up on the subject first. For a list of necessary equipment (body harnesses, special leashes, etc) and tips for getting started, check out this helpful resource.
Stair climbing is a good option for those living in locations where extreme weather makes outdoor exercise difficult. From strengthening the lower body to cardio and weight loss, climbing stairs offers many benefits for dogs and their owners. If you access to an indoor staircase, simply walk or jog up and down the stairs at a safe pace for both you and your pup. Avoid stairs with openings that could trap your pup’s feet or legs, and use a body harness instead of a neck leash to avoid choking. If your canine is quite small or suffers from arthritis or other joint problems, stair climbing might not be the right workout for your dog.
Keeping your dog’s breath fresh might be the most obvious reason for regular tooth brushing, but it’s hardly the most important. Dental hygiene plays a significant role in your canine’s overall wellbeing. Neglected teeth can lead to bacterial buildup and eventually periodontal disease, which has been linked to organ damage along with several life-threatening infections. By keeping your pup’s chompers in shape, you not only improve their quality of life, but the length of their life as well—dogs who receive regular dental attention have been shown to live longer, healthier lives. Here are 5 tips for successfully brushing your dog’s teeth.
Get a Dog-Specific Toothbrush and Toothpaste
Human toothpaste and toothbrushes are not safe for dogs. Ingesting human toothpaste, for example, can cause your pup painful stomach problems, and in severe cases even organ damage. Choosing the right dog-specific toothbrush and toothpaste will come down largely to trial and error. It goes without saying, you’ll need a bigger brush for big dogs and a smaller one for puppies and small dogs, but the style of brush will depend on your dog’s preferences. From finger-fitted to traditional-type toothbrushes, you might have to try a couple before you find one your pup responds positively to. You’ll likely have to do the same with toothpaste, trying out different flavors until you discover something your canine doesn’t reject.
Use Proper Technique
Before adopting a regular brushing routine at home, we suggest consulting a veterinary professional for in-depth guidance on proper brushing technique. Here are some tips to get you started:
- Brush in a circular motion, concentrating on the outside of the teeth (it’s usually not necessary to brush the insides of your pup’s teeth).
- Use a 45-degree angle when brushing, this will allow you to brush the gums and teeth simultaneously, helping to clear away more plaque.
- If bleeding occurs, don’t panic. Light bleeding is normal. In the case of excessive bleeding or pain, contact a vet immediately.
- Aim to brush 5 days a week, though 2-3 is better than none at all.
Pick the Right Time
Brushing your dog’s teeth is always easiest when they’re calm and content. Enjoying some shared exercise or rigorous playtime is an effective way to render your pup relaxed and docile before brushing. A tired pup is far less likely to struggle, resulting in a safer and less stressful experience for the both of you.
Ease Them into the Process
Don’t jump into regular brushing before acclimating your dog to the process and the tools involved. First, get your dog comfortable with having your hand in their mouth, then introduce them to the toothbrush and toothpaste. Let them smell and lick the brush and taste the toothpaste before attempting to place either inside their mouth. Once they’re comfortable with both, start by brushing a few easy-to-reach teeth, praising them throughout. Brush only a few teeth, making sure to stop once your dog appears noticeably uncomfortable or anxious. Increase the amount of teeth and time each day until your pup can withstand a complete brushing session.
Stop if They Act Overly Scared or Aggressive
If at any point your dog becomes extremely anxious or aggressive, stop attempting to brush their teeth immediately. Even the most well-behaved canines can act strangely when faced with their first brushing experience. To help prevent anxiety, always use a soothing voice and praise, including a reward at the end of every session. If your pup continues to act aggressively or apprehensive, consider consulting a professional for help managing your dog’s dental needs.
Crate training can be a lifesaver, especially for new dog owners. But crate training isn’t just for us, crates serve as comforting escapes for our pups, especially when the hustle and bustle of family life or house guests becomes too much. But what are the benefits of crate training, what’s the best way to start, and what pitfalls should I avoid? In the following short guide, we’ll cover these questions and more. Here’s 5 things you need to know about crate training.
Why Crate Train?
From potty-training to safe pet travel, crate training is an invaluable tool for puppy parents. It can help manage an anxious pup when your short on hands, or help limit a dog’s movements when your home is occupied by unfamiliar guests, animals, or service professionals like repairmen. Plus, having a place your dog can go to relax—a space just for them—can provide him or her with a necessary retreat when things become too stressful or noisy. Having this kind of escape can be very comforting for our canines.
How to Choose the Right Crate
In addition to many sizes, there are soft collapsible crates and rigid plastic ones, metal types and various options made from fabric. So which one’s right for your pup? The perfect crate is just big enough for your dog to fit inside and easily turn around, with enough space for them to comfortably sleep as well. If your dog is growing quickly, invest in a larger crate to prevent having to purchase another one too soon. Remember—a crate should be cozy, not roomy, so in the meantime, simply block off the excess space using a partition or other method. In general, soft crates are best for travel, while hard-sided durable kinds tend to work better for daily at-home use.
Never Misuse the Crate
Misusing a crate can easily make your dog fearful of this useful training tool. Firstly, never use crating as form of punishment, and don’t leave them alone in their crate for improperly long periods of time. Dogs that are crated too often and for too long can develop depression or anxiety. As a general rule of thumb, don’t leave your pup in a crate longer than they can go without a bathroom break (for puppies, this is about 3-4 hours).
Crate Train Gradually
Crates are tools not quick-fixes. Attempting to rush the crate training process can spook your pup, leaving them frightened of crates for months if not for the rest of their lives. To start, keep the crate in a relatively busy area of the home, this way your pup doesn’t feel too isolated in the beginning. Make the crate as comfortable as possible as well, filling it with blankets and perhaps your dog’s favorite toy.
In the first days of crate training, leave the door open, even when your pup’s inside (shutting the door immediately can make canines feel trapped or punished). Get your dog interested in the crate by enticing them with treats and feeding them a few meals inside. Once they’re comfortable spending extended periods inside the open crate, start experimenting with shutting the doors and leaving the room. Begin with a few minutes at first and work your way up daily to longer and longer periods of time, consistently rewarding your pup along the way. As soon as they can stay in the crate for roughly 30 minutes without noticeable signs of anxiety or whining, you can start crating them when running short errands. It’s usually relatively smooth sailing from there.
Don’t Expect Too Much Too Soon—And Have Fun!
Crate training is not exactly easy or fast. It can take weeks to properly and safely crate train a puppy, sometimes even longer for mature doggies. Don’t expect too much too soon, or you could get frustrated and ultimately give up. Sadly, your dog can pick up on this disappointment, making the process harder still. Always keeping the process light and fun, and making sure the crate is associated with only positive moods and plenty of rewards, is the fastest track to success.
Is your pup getting a little gray around the face, are they less agile than they were a few years ago? If so, your dog might be entering their golden years. Don’t worry—this isn’t a bad thing! It just means your canine might need a little extra attention, especially if they have underlying health conditions like arthritis or vision loss. From monitoring their health to keeping their weight in check, here are 6 tips for keeping your senior dog in tip-top physical and mental shape.
Visit the Vet More Often
The American Animal Hospital Association recommends senior dogs visit the vet at least twice a year for checkups. During each visit, ask your vet for a body condition evaluation, which is a basic overview of your canine’s overall health. Many of the health complications that plague older pups can be treated if detected early, so these evaluations are priceless for maintaining your dog in their older years. Lastly, ask your vet for advice about caring for your specific breed as they age, specifically what health issues you can expect. This way, any serious problems can be reported to your vet and treated as soon as possible.
Keep Their Weight in Check
Overweight dogs are much more vulnerable to health problems like diabetes, heart disease and cancer compared to pups who maintain a healthy weight. If your dog is currently overweight, speak with your vet about what diet and exercise changes you need to make to restore their fitness. Less weight means less stress on the body, which makes for happier, healthier senior pups.
Take Care of Their Teeth
Your dog’s dental health might be more important than your realize. Neglecting your canine’s teeth is not only painful for your pup, but could cause serious issues down the road, as oral bacteria can reach the bloodstream and wreak havoc on your pooch’s overall health. Skip these problems by regularly brushing their teeth at home and incorporating annual professional cleanings into your pup’s schedule. Even regular brushing doesn’t always solve stinky dog mouth, so check out these 7 ways to naturally freshen your pup’s breath.
Keep Up the Exercise—Physical and Mental
Regular exercise and mental stimulation play a big role in your dog’s health as they age. Physical exercise helps fend of obesity, joint pain and countless other ailments, while mental exercise will help keep your pup alert and youthful. Just remember: Your dog is older now, and they probably can’t run, hike or climb like they used to, so monitor their body language closely for signs of fatigue when exercising. Limit exercise to the early morning or evening, avoiding the hottest portions of the day. Senior dogs cannot regulate their body temperature as well as young pups, so avoid extremely cold weather as well. Mental exercise is as easy as playing with your dog every day, maintaining close companionship, and providing them with entertaining toys—like kong food puzzles.
Consider Senior-Proofing Your Home and Yard
As our doggies age, we sometimes need to make special accommodations to make their lives just a little easier. Hearing loss, blindness, arthritis—all require pet parents to make adjustments to their pet care. For example, ramps can be used in areas where stairs are unavoidable, and rugs or mats can be placed on hard surfaces to help relieve joint pain. Senior-specific products like bedding and supplements can also be used to ease pain associated with aging.
If your aging pup spends considerable time outside, your yard needs to be senior-proofed as well. Anything that poses a threat to your pup’s health—from pools they can fall in to toxic plants they might eat—needs to be removed or fenced off. Consult your vet for additional guidance on how to best address your senior dog’s unique physical limitations. For more tips on dog-proofing your yard, click here.
Keep the Pests Away
Older pups are more vulnerable to pests like fleas and ticks, as well as the diseases and bacteria they carry. To ensure your dog remains protected, apply a non-toxic and pet-friendly bug repellent to their coat before and after enjoying outdoor activities like hiking or dog park visits. For added protection, treat your yard with a naturally sourced outdoor pesticide, too.
One of the cool things about dog ownership is that you’re never without a running partner. Plus, with that cute face looking up at you, you’re much less likely to play it lazy and skip a day when you shouldn’t. Fresh air, mutual exercise, bonding time—running with your pup has it all. But before you dive in head first, check out the following tips to make your running routine safe, healthy and successful.
Check in with the Vet
Before taking your first run, visit the vet for a checkup. Be clear that you’re planning to start a running routine, and you want to make sure your pup is fit enough for that type of exercise. Not doing a preliminary health check can cause your dog serious harm, especially if their breed is unsuitable for intense exercise, or they have underlying health conditions like hip dysplasia, arthritis or cardiovascular complications.
Is your dog ideal for running? Click here for a list of of dog breeds that make excellent running partners.(Remember: even if your dog isn’t mentioned here, they might still be a good candidate for running, which is why a vet check-in is essential).
Start with a Bathroom Break
Giving your pup a potty break just before each run can save you pit stops along the way, not to mention the annoyance of stopping to bag dog poo. But just because your dog enjoyed a successful bathroom break before running, doesn’t mean you can get away with leaving the poo bags at home. Always bring them along just in case.
If running is a new activity for you and your pup, it’s best to start slow. From cardiovascular fitness to strengthening your dog’s paw pads, it can take some time to get into running shape. Moderate 10-minute runs are a good starting point, then simply add an additional 5-10 minutes each week until you find a distance and pace that’s right for both of you.
Watch their Body Language
Because your pup can’t say when they’re tired or hurting, you need to monitor their body language closely. Heavy panting, foamy mouth, tongue hanging out—all point to an exhausted canine. Note any significant change in their speed as well. If they’re lagging behind or heavy on the leash, your dog is tired and needs a rest.
Pay Attention to Their Paws
Running, especially starting out, can sometimes cause injury to your dog’s delicate paw pads. Hot concrete, ice, and glass are all common sources of injury. If you spot limping or constant licking of the feet, there’s a good chance your pup has hurt their pads. Routinely checking their pads before and after outdoor activities—including running—is a good habit to adopt. We also advise cleaning the pads with warm, soapy water after each run to remove possible irritants. If your pup is susceptible to paw injuries, consider investing in some booties for added protection.
Staying hydrated is fundamental to any healthy exercise, especially when your dog’s involved. Giving your pup water before, after and during runs is a must. While bottles might be ideal for your personal needs, they aren’t always the easiest way for dogs to grab a drink. So consider purchasing a collapsible bowl for when your pup needs water, too.
Pick the Right Leash
Having the right leash for your dog’s physical characteristics and behavior profile will make all the difference. The specifics, however, will vary depending on you and your pup’s unique needs and running preferences. To narrow your search, here’s a list of excellent leashes for dogs and their human running partners.