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While you can definitely lace up your shoes, leash up your dog and run out the door, there are some things you’ll need to run safely with your dog (and make it more comfortable for both of you).
A harness is a necessity if you plan on running with your dog. Collars put unnecessary pressure on a dog’s trachea, which can cause breathing and other health issues. A harness equally distributes any pressure from pulling throughout their chest, which makes it more comfortable for your pup. This harness from Ruffwear adjusts in four places to make sure your dog stays secure and comfortable on a run.
The leash you already use for walks will likely work for running with your dog — just make sure it’s not the retractable kind. But, there are sport leashes that offer more durability for more strenuous activities. Look for leashes that are made of nylon, which stand up to water and tension. A six-foot leash works well for running, but a three-foot leash, like this one from Mighty Paw, is even better!
Hands-free leashes will also help you keep a proper running form and will keep you from switching the leash between your hands, or even doing some sweet twirling moves (hello potential torn ACL!) trying to detangle your pup. A hands-free leash can give you better control with a dog that suddenly lunges towards a squirrel, but it's a good idea to always be aware of your surroundings to prevent injuring your dog or yourself.
If you’re looking for a hands-free running experience, this leash from Tuff Mutt clips to a band that you snap around your waist. The shorter leash length helps you stay in control, and the leash slides 360 degrees around the belt, allowing your pup freedom to change pace and position.
Dogs don’t cool off by sweating as we humans do. Dogs cool off through their respiratory system, mainly by panting. Because of this, they can dehydrate and get very thirsty when doing strenuous activities like running. It’s important to carry water and a water bowl, for your dog during runs longer than 20 minutes.
Note that dehydration can happen just as easily during cold weather exercise as it can during hot weather exercise.
We recommend this portable water bottle from Kurgo that has a detachable bowl, which allows both you and your pup to stay hydrated on the go!
SAFETY PRECAUTION: Dogs that don’t have access to water and regular breaks while running on warmer days can be at increased risk of suffering from heat exhaustion and heatstroke. These can be devastating conditions with some very serious consequences for your dog. Learn more about heat-related illness in dogs – including how to treat heat exhaustion and heat stroke in dogs.
If you’re planning on running before sunrise or after sunset, we recommend improving your dog’s visibility to other pedestrians and drivers in low-light conditions. An LED collar and leash will help drivers see your dog at a distance.
Get more resources here to keep you and your dog visible in low-light conditions.
These rugged dog boots by Ultra Paws are easy to size and introduce to your pup.
If you're looking for dog boots specifically made for cold weather and snowy climates, these Snow Mushers by Muttluks are a great choice with their fleece lining and rubber soles.