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!

Does Your Pet Have Allergies?

When Spring rolls around, many people across the country are once again faced with the problem of Spring allergies. A runny nose, sneezing, coughing, and a scratchy throat are just a few of the not-so-lovely symptoms of seasonal allergies. Fortunately for us humans, we can feel when our allergies are coming on and can treat them, either by means of natural and holistic methods or by taking allergy medication.

Spotting Allergies in Your Pet

For our pets, though, it might not be as easy to tell if or when they have allergies and unfortunately, they can’t tell us themselves. It’s important to keep a close eye on your pet when allergy season comes around, though, because he or she might be struggling with symptoms of allergies without you even knowing it. To help ensure your pet stays in tip-top health all year long, watch out for these three symptoms of seasonal allergies in your pets:

1) Frequent sneezing or coughing: If your pet is sneezing or coughing more than normal, it may be time to take a trip to the vet. Environmental irritants could be infiltrating your pet’s nose and throat and bothering their sinuses or natural breathing patterns. If it’s just a couple sneezes, it’s probably normal. If it persists, go in for a check up.

2) Red eyes, teary eyes, or eye discharge: Pollen and other pet health allergiespesky environmental allergens can easily make their way into your pet’s eyes and cause serious discomfort or an eye infection. If you notice any discharge in your pet’s eyes or see that they are especially teary or red, you may want to get him or her checked our for allergies.

3) Scratching and/or licking certain spots compulsively: For some pets, allergens actually cause skin reactions, which can lead to seriously obsessive scratching or licking. Those actions, if not stopped, can lead to hot spots on your pet’s body, which are essentially bald, red spots from which the hair or fur has been worn away. If you ever see your pet bothering a hot spot, do your best to stop them and prevent them from continuing until you can get to a vet.

Don’t Wait for Treatment

Just like in humans, allergies in dogs, cats, or other animals can come on quickly, so if you notice your pet is exhibiting any symptoms of allergies, don’t delay in taking them to the vet. The quicker you are to catch the issues, the easier (and cheaper!) they will be to treat.

As always, keep a watchful eye on your pet and if you notice anything out of the norm, a trip to the vet never hurts.

Flea Season is Here: Do You Know How to Protect Your Pet?

With warmer weather comes sandals, shorts, and pool time. It’s not all pleasant, though: fleas come along with the warmer weather, too. As it warms up, it’s time to begin thinking about fleas and how you can help your pet stay flea-free!

Flea Basics

Fleas don’t just come out in the warmer weather; flea seasonthey are actually trying to cling onto your pet all year long. Depending on where you live, this might be a big issue every month, but for most people and their pets, summer marks the worst time for fleas, so it requires the most attention.

Fleas are tiny little bugs that are considered ectoparasites and have been in existence for more than 100 million years, so this is no new phenomenon. Since hygiene became a way of life, though, keeping fleas out of your home and off of your pets is important to helping maintain good health amongst all of the family, because besides just being disgusting, fleas can pose a serious threat to your pet’s health.

The miniature ectoparasites are most commonly cat fleas or Ctenocephalides felis. Dog fleas, or Ctenocephalides canis, are another kind of fleas that are less common. Fleas are able to cling onto animals and cause several different health problems in both humans and animals. When given the option, though, fleas usually go for pets first because they are designed to hide in fur and it is easier to live on animals with fur than humans who don’t have any.

Helping Your Pet

For many pets, when fleas latch on and begin living in their fur, itching and scratching occurs. If your pet is doing this frequently, it is important to check him for fleas. You can either do it yourself or if you prefer, take him to a veterinary office for an exam. When looking for fleas on your pet, look for small black bugs. If you don’t see any of the actual fleas (they are quick to run and hide), look for flea dirt, which looks like small black specks. Besides causing skin problems, fleas can also cause tapeworms in animals if ingested. If your dog or cat does have fleas, make sure you begin treatment as soon as possible.

If your pet already has fleas, there are a number of various treatment options. A flea bath is one option that can help get rid of some of the fleas currently living on your pet. Prescription medication is another option that helps prevent the eggs from hatching, which stops the flea life cycle from reoccurring. If your pet doesn’t have fleas, make sure you have him or her on a flea prevention medication that helps avoid the problem altogether in the first place so you don’t have to worry about flea baths and other problems like that. Even with preventative medication, though, there is still a slight chance your pet can contract fleas, so check your pet regularly.

Just like excessive bugs or bug bites bother humans, fleas can be a serious annoyance to a dog or cat. More than that, they can cause some significant health problems, so do your best to help protect your cat or dog (or both) from fleas.