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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February Recap

Wow! The year is already flying by and in February I got in another 72 miles, which I was really happy with especially based on the fact that I took a week off when I was sick and in Charlotte. If I had run that week I would have put in about 20-30 miles, so I would have been right at 100, which is what I’ve been averaging per month. I have been keeping my average pace under 8:30, another change that I’ve made in my training. Now that I’m pushing myself to run faster and make sure that all my miles count towards something, it makes me start each run with a goal. Instead of just going running to get in the miles, if I don’t feel great, I cut the run short and try again the following day.

I have been having some issues with my right knee mostly from overuse and also my right shoulder. I went to the chiropractor about my shoulder and she does want me to come back a few more times to figure it out and make sure my mechanics are right. After she adjusted me and rubbed out the knot in there I did feel better the following day on my run, but it is lingering a little bit. As for my knee, more icing, foam rolling and stretching!

I have also been doing more Fast Pace Finishes, which means that on two runs a week, I will get faster each mile. It has really helped me get a lot faster and push myself at the end of my runs. The fact that we have also had a very mild winter with warmer weather has made running much easier for me. I thrive in the warm weather and haven’t had many rainy or cold running days. My sports bra and tank top tan is already back in full swing. upwave-running-sweatbandI also tried out a new Saucony shoe, the Mirage, and it works great! It’s a lightweight shoe that I’m using on shorter runs and I’m glad I have two different shoes in the mix now including the Mirage and the Guide 7. It gives my feet a break from always running in the same shoe all the time. I recently had to get another pair of the guides because mine were worn out. I did get them back in November so it was time.

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This month I also was asked to be a Maid of Honor in my best friend’s wedding and I’m so excited! I’ll be getting crafty for her Bachelorette Party, Bridal Shower and her wedding and I’m sure I’ll be posting some fun things that hopefully turn out well! maid-of-honor-basket-mint-peach-tealOverall, it was a good month and I’m hoping in March to run a 5K! I need to sign up for one soon but I also want to make sure I’m 100% prepared for it.

xoxo

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Getting Faster 2.0

Each run that I’ve been doing lately has had a purpose, which goes hand in hand with my goal of the year of running with purpose. It’s also had me running much faster than normal, which I am enjoying, but I forgot how much pushing yourself actually hurts! I also forgot how much more ‘maintenance’ you have to do to keep your body in top shape when you’re trying to run faster. The aches, the pains and the soreness seem to linger a bit more. I also have been having an issue with my shoulder. When I ran in high school my nerves would always have problems where when I ran, my right arm would fall asleep. I haven’t had it happen in a really long time, but lately my arm has been falling asleep and it’s so painful and weird. I feel so much pressure on my shoulder then my arm just goes numb. I have an appointment with my physical therapist to check it out this week.

BUT, when I am running faster, I’m much more comfortable running with this little guy! Since his pace seems to comfortable in the 7:50 range, we are much better partners now then when I was running 9ish minute miles, and I don’t feel like he’s going to pull my arm off when we run.

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So with more speed comes more icing, especially my knee and lower back area, along with foam rolling, and also more laundry! It seems like I’m washing running clothes twice a week. I was getting a little bit lazy on rolling and taking time to ice but I started it back up last week and I’ve really felt a difference when I do it, so I know it needs to still be a priority. I also got to go for a beautiful run where I really wanted to push myself. I just relaxed and focused on my breathing and reminded myself that my legs could do the work. When I finished, I was so happy to see that I ran 7 miles in 7:44! Even though I didn’t plan on being able to get to that pace, I was relaxed and felt great.

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I’m searching for a localish 5K or 10K to sign up for, it just seems like the right time to go out there and test myself again!

xoxo

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