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Cold Weather Running With Your Dog

Posted Jan 13 2010 6:56am

One of the fastest, easiest ways to attain fitness or weight loss is running.  That means going outside.  The excuse, “its too cold”, can be tempting but here are some tips to help you and your dog run in the cold weather.

Your dog is definitely not going to heed to the excuse “its too cold”.  Doesn’t matter what the temperature most dogs are up for an outing.  That tail wagging excitement can be used as motivation for you to take the dog out for some much needed exercise.

Its easy to get confused on the question when is it too cold for your dog to run with you.  The simple answer is if it is too cold for you, it is too cold for your dog.  The confusion come in with the excuse  "its not balmy enough out for me to go running" versus "its actually too cold to safely go running with the dog"!

Wind is an element to consider.  Wind chill factor can dip fast so if you are looking for a legitimate excuse “its too cold”, the wind will work to hold that statement up.  Look for a day when you don’t have to brave your way through gale wind storm.

One way to making cold weather running fun for you is to get some gear that not only makes you look really cool but these days the fabrics are made to keep heat in, shed perspiration and are lightweight.  This is true for the dog as well and depending on your dog’s natural fur coat there are options for winter time gear for your dog as well.

Dogs with undercoats like collies, labs, huskies, and shepherds tend to stay warmer and aren’t as affected by the elements.  Dogs with single coats like Weimarners, Vizslas, Papillons and Pit Bulls could certainly use a dog coat to help keep the heat in during cold weather conditions.

Movement creates heat and running while its 20 degrees out with the right clothes on for you and the dog makes all the difference.  In fact you could find yourself actually feeling warm in these conditions.

If you are running with your dog in temperatures below freezing as we have been here in Taos, NM where we are spending a couple months this winter its best to keep moving.  That’s good advice for you and the dog.

Keep moving and plan your run so that you can go inside when you and the dog complete the route or you are able to get in a car you can heat up quickly right after the run.  Its when you stop that you’ll find the chill factor setting in.

Even though it’s cold you will still lose hydration during a winter time run so make sure to hydrate, and of course this is true for your dog as well.

A training program written for you and your dog to follow has proven to be a factor of successfully staying fit during the winter.  Finding motivation to run in the winter may take a bit more inspiration.  A 5k or 10K race may be the answer to keep you motivated. 

Go outside.  Have some fun.  Take the dog.  Drink water.  Wag more.  Most dogs are in need of an active lifestyle.  Amazingly enough that is true for humans as well.

More on running with dogs.

©Jt Clough and K9 Coach, Inc 2010


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