Always make sure that both you and your dog get plenty of sleep and rest at night. MOST importantly, never run or exercise your dog on a full stomach. Feed and water your dog and let him REST for at least 60 minutes (AKA 1 hour) before running. This especially is good for dogs that have GI probs or breeds that are susceptable to bloating. No water before a run. Ever.
Be sure that you are and your dog are hydrated! Staying hydrated prevent cramps and chapped lips. However, DO NOT let your dog take in water one hour before or after your run. For peeps, get into the habit of drinking 1-2 liters throughout the day. Dogs should be free to hydrate themselves if they are responsible about it.
Ok, I know some of you want have a jacket on your dog when you are outside. My general rule of thumb is that if we are running 2-4 miles, and it is 28 degrees or higher, no dog jacket is needed as long as you are running AND going inside immediately following your run.
If you are walking, and have a short hair dog (I have a boxer), put a jacket on them if the temp is below 40 or 35 degrees. They can get chilly!
For YOU, layer it up! The best tip I got from a friend that is a marathon runner, is to make sure your head, hands and feet are always covered and toasty. The rest of you should be cold when you get outdoors so your body doesn’t overheat once you get moving and find your pace.
I always wear a hat and and hood, with a jacket and vest. Once I warm up I can peel the hood back, and unzip the top layer when I start to get warm, and if I get chilly, the hood goes back up and I zip up. It works well. I also wear leg warmers to cover my ankles (sorry for the dudes that are reading that may not like them…but they work!).
Always check in with your dog to make sure your pace isn’t too fast, and he isn’t overexerting himself. His breath should be as steady and paced as yours while your moving. Excessive panting is NOT ok, so slow down or rest!
I mean obviously you know this…but do you? I’m a yogi and it took me about a month to learn how to breathe and pace myself. Breath in through your nose, and out of your mouth. Just keep practicing. It’ll happen.
QUICK TIP: Mentally direct your inhales towards cramps you may get during your run…this helps them go away!
Find a pace that work for you and your dog. Slow and steady wins the race…this is supposed to be enjoyable for you and your dog. Sprinting around like 2 lunatics in freezing cold weather is going to hurt your body, mess up your breath and maybe even cause injury.
Slow your roll, and enjoy a longer run so both you and your dog can benefit.
Check your pal’s paws once and while during every run. The cold can crack their pads, and after a snow, salt can get into the cracks and hurt them.
If you’re running in snow, remember to check their pads when return home and get all of the packed snow and ice out of their pads…those pigs get cold!
When you get home a little sip of of water is fine. They can drink about an inch high of water in their bowl, or a couple of ice cubes…but NO GULPING. Give them an hour or so to cool down and rest and let the exercise integrate. NO FOOD or TREATS for 1 HOUR.
YOU should drink 8-16 oz of water…and eat a snack (apples and almond butter is my go-to) within 30 minute.
ALWAYS take some time to hug and cuddle with your dog and warm up with them after your cold run. It feels so good and makes them so happy.
Before you start any exercise program check with your doctor, because I’m not one and can only give you tips based on my experience. Before you start exercising your dog, check with your vet, because I’m not one and can only give you tips based on my experience.
Big kisses and hugs to whiskers and paws,
Andrea & The Walkies Peeps