Running With Your Dog: When and How to Do It

If you enjoy running and you have a dog, chances are you’d like to take your dog along with you for a run every now and then. If you’ve just up and tried it, chances are it hasn’t turned out the way you thought it would. Running with a dog isn’t as easy as some make it seem, but it can be done if you put in the time and effort.

Distance Runs Not For All Dogs

Before you decide to start taking your dog for a run, make sure your dog can handle it. If you have a small dog, running far distances probably isn’t a good idea. It doesn’t take much to tire out a small dog and you don’t want to overwork your dog to the point of illness or danger. In case you didn’t know already, most dogs will continue to run even after they are exhausted simply to please you.

Make sure you understand the signs of a tired and over-exhausted dog and you stop before you do any damage. If your dog is overweight, it’s also not a good idea to run very far. It might seem counterintuitive because exercise can help dogs lose weight, but running with extra weight is bad for dogs’ joints and can put them at risk of injury. Instead of running with your overweight dog, try walking regularly. Once they have lost some weight and are back to a more normal weight, you can begin running with them.

If you have a medium sized or big dog with a lot of energy, it’s probably running with doga great idea to take your dog for a long run. Shepherds, pit bulls, border collies, and other high energy dogs make great running partners once you have trained them properly. Not only does it help you get in your daily exercise, but it can help keep your dog fit and healthy while also ridding them of any excess energy that may result in destructive behavior.

How to Begin

An important part of training your dog to run is to start slow. Don’t expect your canine companion to immediately be able to run in a perfect line or keep up with your ten minute mile. At the beginning, only run for short distances and if your dog is sniffing along the way, don’t jerk on his or her leash. Instead, try to redirect their attention back to running using verbal commands. Jerking on their leash, especially if they are wearing just a collar, can cause serious neck damage and is similar to whiplash for people. Always do your best to avoid that.

It might take awhile for your dog to understand what they are supposed to do. Because dogs are so sensitive to smells, it is in their nature to want to stop and investigate. If you reward them with a treat or verbal praise when they ignore distractions and continue to run, you will be able to teach and encourage them to keep running rather than stopping. Over time, you can build up the distance that you run with your dog. Again, start slow at the beginning.

Incremental Training

Run half a mile several times before moving up to a mile, and so on. It really can’t be emphasized enough that you pay attention to your dog’s body language to ensure you don’t over-exhaust them. If your dog starts dragging behind or is panting and breathing abnormally, stop running immediately and take them home to have some water. Make sure your dog is keeping pace with you and doesn’t seem like he is struggling to keep up.

Running with your dog is a wonderful, exciting experience. It is rewarding knowing that you are improving both your health and your dog’s health just by spending time together. Make sure you are always aware of your dog’s body language so you know when enough is enough. Besides that, enjoy the training aspect of it. Though it might feel tedious, teaching your dog to run with you will also help you both form a closer bond. Once you’ve got the running straight part down, enjoy building up the distance and soon you and your dog will be thriving together!

What to Do When You Adopt a Cat

You’ve done it! You just adopted a feline companion. There’s nothing quite like the feeling of saving an innocent creature from the shelter and bringing it back to your home to receive love for the rest of its life.

It’s an exciting time for both you and your new pet, but before you invite all your friends over and let your cat out into the house, know that there are some precautions to take with your new cat. Whether your new pet be a tiny little kitten or an adult cat, there are a few things you need to do to help ensure the health of your new pet.

1)    Take a trip to the vet

Depending on where you adopted your cat from, he or she may have been vaccinated. Some pounds administer the basic vaccines like rabies and FLIV, but not others. Even if your cat has been fully vaccinated, it’s still crucial to take your cat to the veterinary office in the first couple days of adoption. It’s important to get a full physical exam, check up to see if your cat has any problems like fleas, heartworms, or any other health conditions, and get any vaccinations still needed. Upper respiratory conditions and eye infections are very common in cats adopted from the shelter, and treatment is simple and fairly inexpensive. Just do your best to get your cat into the vet as soon as possible to make sure his or her health is in tip top shape!

2)    Introduce wisely adopt a cat

If you have other pets in your house, don’t just let your new cat free into their surroundings. First of all, your new cat should be quarantined for about 2 weeks before being introduced to any other animals. A bathroom or laundry room will work nicely. Set up a bed, a food bowl, water bowl, and litter box (as far away from the food as possible) so your new cat has its own miniature home for the time being. Quarantine is necessary to ensure your new pet doesn’t pass on any lingering illnesses to your other pets. Put a towel with each of your pets and after a day, switch them so the pets get accustomed to the new animals’ scent. Allow the pets to smell each other through the door of the bathroom or laundry room, but don’t let them get face to face just yet. Once the quarantine period is over, you can introduce them, but make sure you do it slowly and cautiously. It’s best to put pets together for only a short period of time at first to gauge their reactions and make sure no conflict occurs. Over time, you can let them be together for longer and hopefully they will be friends before you know it!

3)    Don’t force it

If your new cat is scared coming out of the shelter, as many are, don’t try to force him to be friendly with you or your other pets. If he wants to hide under the bed for weeks, let him do just that. Forcing it will only scare your new cat more. Give him or her time to get used to all the new sights, sounds, and smells in your home and over time and let your cat come out on their own schedule and he or she will be more comfortable with their new surroundings.

Adopting a cat is such a joyful experience and it can bring about years of fun and companionship. Following these three tips can help you make the best of your cat’s new situation and help make sure he or she is happy, comfortable, and healthy in their new home!