Running With Your Dog: Preventing Injuries

Disclosure – Kurgo sent me a few products to review for this series on running with your dog.  All opinions and photos are my own and all content in the series is my honest opinion. I am disclosing this in accordance to FTC Guidelines. Please see Ts and Cs tab for more information.

One of my favorite running buddies is my dog George! I’m doing a series on running with your dog, and if you missed Part 1 on training your dog to run with you, check it out here, and if you want more information on nutrition for your active dog, the 2nd post is here.

Running With Your Dog: How to prevent injuries Continue reading

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The Teeter Totter of Running

I love running. I’ve been running for a while and it seems that I am either in a stage of complete running bliss, or burned out. For some reason it’s so hard for me to find a happy medium and I’m like a teeter totter completely on one side or the other. At the beginning of the month, running was fairly easy, I had no issues finding time to get in a run and I seemed to be having no aches or pains. In the last two weeks, it seems like I have been struggling to get in a solid run in and when they do, they are tough.

It’s hard for me when I am in that ‘place’ of burned out to remember how awesome running can be. It seems to come in waves and when I’m in the lower point where running isn’t fun and perfect, it’s hard to get out there and get it done. I try to remember that feeling of elation I get when I do have a good run, and try to push through those sloggy feelings that I had to fit it in. I have been doing much better this year in general as I’m trying to make each run count and have a purpose. I’ve cut down a lot on junk miles or just running to get to a weekly mileage goal, which has helped a lot with keeping the burnout away, but sometimes it still creeps up.

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This weekend I finally got in a good run on Friday and then went for a long run on Sunday. After a super long two day track meet, I was inspired by my team and how well they ran. I always am pumped up to run after I watch them race. On Sunday, it was a run where I was actually feeling awesome the entire time. I finished with two fast miles, and though I really had to push myself, it felt great to run hard. It’s that feeling that I love when I get home and feel accomplished and not beat up and tired. I just need to remember that during the low points on the teeter totter of running, it will pass and that the fact that I can run is incredible and something I need to cherish. Getting through the tough running times make the easy running days that much sweeter.

xoxo

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Running With Your Dog, Part 2: Nutrition!

Disclosure – Kurgo sent me a few products to review for this series on running with your dog.  All opinions and photos are my own and all content in the series is my honest opinion. I am disclosing this in accordance to FTC Guidelines. Please see Ts and Cs tab for more information.

One of my favorite running buddies is my dog George! I’m doing a series on running with your dog, and if you missed Part 1 on training your dog to run with you, check it out here

When running with George, I noticed he eats a lot more than Sophie, who doesn’t run. Bless her little heart, she tries, but she just is not made for distance. I have been taking her out a few times a week just for a lap around the block. She seems to like it but that is as far as she can go. Because I do run far with George, I wanted to ask a few questions to the Kurgo Vet, Dr. O’Dell, about when I should be feeding him and if he should be on any special diet. I wanted to make sure she is healthy and happy and running for as long as he can be!

Running with your Dog - Tips and Nutrition Tricks to making sure they stay healthy!How much food should an active dog (running 10-15-20 miles a week) be getting a day. Is there a proper method to figure this out related to their weight? Should they get more food than a non-active dog?

Unfortunately, there is no exact formula that can determine the appropriate amount of food to feed your dog. There are too many factors involved, including the specific diet they area already on, amount and intensity of exercise, and even the dog’s own metabolism.  On average, a dog with a regular exercise routine will need more food than a similarly sized sedentary dog. The most important thing to monitor as the dog becomes more active is the body condition. See this chart for an explanation.

Ideally, an active dog should remain around a BCS of 4/9.  If you’re are having trouble maintaining the dog’s BCS and he falls below a 4, you may need to switch from a maintenance food to a high performance diet. If you have any more questions, make sure to check in with your vet to confirm your dog is eating enough especially if they are exercising.

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Should your dog be getting water while out running?

Yes, if you are hot enough or out long enough that you require water, then your dog needs it too. I usually let George have a drink at a water fountain that we pass by at a local park. I hold him up to it and press the button and he laps up some water right out of the fountain. Kurgo does have a great Collaps A Bowl that you can take with you on a hike, but since I’m pretty much only running with George at this point and don’t carry things with me as we run, I haven’t tried this out yet. We will be doing a few summer races and I will take it with me then so I will know for sure that after the race he has something he can drink out of that I can fill up and take with me no matter where we are.

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Are there any restrictions regarding when to feed your dog right after a run? I’ve heard you should wait 30 minutes to an hour after to not have digestive issues?

I recommend feeding >4h prior to a run.  After a run, it is actually beneficial to feed right away. A meal immediately after exercising (no longer than 2 hours post run) leads to improved replenishment of muscle glycogen as well as more rapid and more complete muscle protein replenishment.

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Any brands of dog foods that are great for active dogs?

There are high performance foods for endurance dogs – sled dogs, for example.  These foods are high in protein and fat to provide a lot of calories in a small volume.  For intermediate athletes, which includes most dogs who are also running buddies, all they require is a mild increase in quantity of the regular maintenance food they are already eating.

Here are some examples of maintenance foods that are great:
Science Diet Adult Advanced Fitness 17.5 lbs  $26
Eukanuba Premium Performance 30/20  16.5 lbs $30
Eukanuba Active Performance 28/18  16.5 lbs $31
Purina Pro Plan Performance 30/20 18 lbs $32
Purina Pro Plan Active 26/16  18 lbs $32

Running with your Dog - Using the Kurgo Hands Free Leash!Sophie, earlier this week, happy on the Kurgo Leash! She is loving the fact that she can get out more with the new leash. I end up taking George on a long run and when he’s home and tired I take her out quick for the 10 minute around the block track :)

Remember, you can find ALL BREEDS AND ALL AGES of dogs at local animal shelters and rescue groups. Please save a life and adopt a pet instead of buying from a breeder or pet store. Both our dogs were homeless and we couldn’t have asked for better additions to our family!

xoxo

Dr. Susan O’Dell, DVM, grew up in Michigan, where she received her Bachelors Degree in biology at the University of Michigan and her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine at the Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine. Since her graduation, she has been practicing at animal hospitals across New England with a particular focus on educating small animal clients.

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Making decisions

When I’m out running, I think a lot about what is coming up next for me and try to plan ahead to my next race. I feel this weird self pressure about having to pick what I’m running soon and what distance it might be. I have been looking for a 5K or 10K locally, but there aren’t a lot of options right now as I have conflicting track meets on most Saturday mornings. I hopefully will find one soon. I am thinking of ramping up for a half marathon to run at the beginning of Summer.

As for the future, I’m contemplating a fall marathon. Perhaps Long Beach, since I do love it and it’s local. Then my common sense kicks in and I think about all the training that will have to be done over summer and I remember the dreaded 20 milers. Can I do it?

It’s hard to envision carving out the time to get all the training in and not get burnt out. Though I do love running in the Summer, it’s scary to commit to something like a marathon. It’s easy to sign up and it’s a lot harder to put in the work. I guess it’s time to get serious and make a decision.

xoxo

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Running With Your Dog Part 1: Training your Dog to Run!

Disclosure – Kurgo sent me a few products to review for this series on running with your dog.  All opinions and photos are my own and all content in the series is my honest opinion. I am disclosing this in accordance to FTC Guidelines. Please see Ts and Cs tab for more information.

Running with your Dog: Teaching them how to run with you! Many of you know that I run with my dog George as much as I can. Not only does it make him happy and a better behaved dog, but he’s a great running partner and really knows how to push my pace. We do have 2 dogs, but Sophie doesn’t enjoy running like George does, she’s more into walking. Kurgo emailed me about talking to their vet and doing a short series on my blog for those who want to run with their dogs!

The Kurgo Leash! A great handsfree leash to run with your dogIt’s a great way for your dog to release some energy and stay healthy. George is a rescue and many think he’s a mix of a whippet, boxer, pitbull and terrier. We really have no idea, but he’s a very fast runner, and as soon as the leash comes out he knows it’s time to go! George can run around 13 miles. If you’re planning on running with your dog, you want to make sure you’re increasing their mileage properly. I asked Kurgo’s veterinarian on staff, Dr. Susan O’Dell, a few common questions I get about running with George and how I got him to safely run consistently.

George on a Run ~ Running with your dog can be easy and fun, you just have to train them to run with you!1. How does a dog’s body respond to increasing mileage? How do you train a dog to start running ‘longer mileage’?

Dogs will have some of the same physiologic changes that are seen with human endurance athletes. The size of the heart increases in response to physical training. We also see a decreased heart rate when the dog is at rest. It’s also important to get the final ‘okay’ from a vet before training your dog to run with you, running consistently with puppies can hurt their growth and joints.

When you start distance training remember to start slowly. Begin each session with a warm up of 5 minutes. This can help prevent injuries and prime your dog’s muscles with increased blood flow and oxygen for the run. The main work out should be no more than 2-3 miles in length at first. Follow this up with a cool down to return blood pressure and flow back to normal gradually.

There is no specific protocol for increasing weekly mileage with your dog. Dr. O’Dell recommends listening to your dog and watching their signs. If you run the same distance repeatedly and your dog is finishing happily with energy to spare, you can increase your mileage the next week. Increase your mileage by 1 mile a week to see how they respond. Watch for these signs that you are pushing your too hard: running behind you, panting with tongue hanging far out of his mouth, sides of his mouth pulled far back, lying down if you stop. If you see these signs from your dog, it’s time to head back home!

Don’t forget to give your dog a recovery day. Just like a human, they need to rest. A good schedule might be running every other day, or two days of exercise followed by a day off.

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2. If your dog has not ever ‘run’ next to you, what is the best way to introduce them to the leash and running in a straight line, instead of jumping/weaving?

Personally, for George it took well over a month to learn how to run out in front of me. He does still pull A LOT and he pulls from side to side at bikes, skateboards and other animals, so I’m always extra aware of my surroundings and I never run with music when I’m running with him.

Dr. O’Dell had some tips to help reach the final goal of a refined running dog. You must begin with a well-behaved walker. (This is probably where I’ve failed with George…) Traditionally, dogs are taught to heel on the left. You can choose which side you would like him to stay on, just be consistent! Start training with a short 4-6 foot leash or a hands free leash. Bring treats for a reward. Have him sit next to you and give several treats to get his focus. Start walking briskly and allow him to walk along. If he walks next to you, offer him treats as a reward.

If his paws pass in front of your feet, immediately stop walking and hold the leash with elbows at your sides. He may attempt to keep walking and pull on the leash, but hold steady. After he gives up, call him to come and sit in front of you. Again, give several treats in succession until you have his focus, then begin a brisk walk again. Repeat until your walk/training session is over. This may take some time for him to master, be patient!

If you have a relentless puller, you can try using a harness and attaching the leash to the front D-Ring (on all Kurgo Harnesses) which will prevent him from pulling. This is what I have started using on George and it helps a lot. Once they are a a reliable walker, it’s time to start trying to run! Start by adding short periods of running to your walks (about a block at a time). Find a short route to practice your walks and walk/jogs. Use the same familiar route each time so they can concentrate on training with you, instead of stopping for smelling. Continue using the same techniques as you did on the walks. If he can stay at your side during your short jogs, he can graduate to running with you.

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3. What breeds are known for endurance running?

Some great breeds for endurance include the Herding Breeds like the Border Collie and German Shepherd. Mushers like the Husky and Alaskan Malamute were also bred to run long distances. Weimeraners and German Shorthair Pointers are also excellent choices for running.

Remember, you can find ALL BREEDS AND ALL AGES of dogs at local animal shelters and rescue groups. Please save a life and adopt a pet instead of buying from a breeder. Both our dogs were homeless and we couldn’t have asked for better additions to our family!

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I’ve personally been running with the Kurgo Quantum Leash since I got it and I LOVE IT! It makes running with George so much easier and my arms are much less sore. He does pull a lot so it allows my arms to do a normal running motion, which I like. If he does pull in either direction, I can easily just grab the leash and straighten him right out. I also really appreciate the padded part of the leash, so it doesn’t dig into my back at all, and it has a weight resistance of 550 pounds. It’s made running with him so much easier and I’m so thankful I finally tried it out. I never thought I would be running with him as much as I am lately because my arms used to hurt so much and I would almost trip over the old leash we used to run with.

Kurgo Leash Review - Run safely with your dogs hands free!

xoxo

Dr. Susan O’Dell, DVM, grew up in Michigan, where she received her Bachelors Degree in biology at the University of Michigan and her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine at the Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine. Since her graduation, she has been practicing at animal hospitals across New England with a particular focus on educating small animal clients.

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