Top Dog Trail Running Tips


Dog running tips to make your runs safer and more fun!


1. Scan ahead as you run. This gives you time to stop or change routes if you don’t like what you see. Rattlesnakes, stray dogs, horses, and mud are a few hazards to consider.
2. Rethink using both ear buds. Trails can be busy with mountain bikers or off-road vehicles. Running with only one or no headphones gives you the awareness necessary to prevent disaster.
3. No prong or choke collars. Rarely will your pup holler, “Hey! I’m gonna poop now!” giving you the chance to stop. Catching us mid stride seems to be their favorite game. Besides, using corrective collars risks major injury to your dog’s trachea and throat when the lead is jerked to a sudden stop. (Ditch those collars anyway! See #5 below.)
4. A good lead. We like the Stunt Puppy brand of waist belt and elastic lead. It gives just enough leeway to help with Sudden Poop Stops while not being so elastic as to feel you lose control when needed. Using a light, but wide (1″), leash is better than a thin, rope-burn causing solution. Retractable leashes are incredibly risky and should wisely be replaced with a 6′ nylon lead. Tie knots in the leash at comfortable intervals to offer you more control and less slippage.
5. There are more and more harnesses on the market as companies realize the customers want humane alternatives to prong collars. The PetSafe Easy Walk is a great model to try. If your dog is a puller, dreaming of an Iditarod win, look for one where you link the lead to the front of your pup’s chest like a Ruffwear Vest. If you’ve a running mate who easily hangs next to you, linking to a clip on their shoulders works super well.
6. Consider joint supplements sooner than later. Compared to human multivitamins, glucosamine and chondroitin have shown positive results in prolonging some age related joint wear and tear. My Aussie no longer shows aches and stiffness after a day of running!
7. Be aware of your running partner’s form. Some dogs, such as the various working breeds, may not openly display pain or discomfort. But they might slow down or run with a little hitch in their stride. Being able to extract a thorn, foxtail, glass, or caked mud sooner than later can save you days of your pup being coned or worse. A slight limp could become a full-blown strain or sprain, forcing you to carry your pup home or being stranded without help.

Using the above as a guide, you and your canine running companion should have a long career together. Remembering that you need to be the responsible one, maintaining their health and well-being, will guarantee many happy miles together.

And, as always, we’re here to help you however we can. The advice is always free!

Busting the Ice Cube Bloat Myth

In 2010, a pet owner mistakenly correlated feeding ice water to her dog and the onset of Bloat. She shared this experience through the InterWebs where pet owners took the warning seriously and propagated the story.

Dog-Tips-And-Tricks-For-Summer-Picture-With-Ice-CubeIn the time that followed her (very upsetting) experience, more pet care professionals have weighed in on the story. In short, there has been no link shown between bloat and ice water/ice cube ingestion by our canine friends. Some vets even use ice cubes as ways for post-op pets to rehydrate when drinking from a bowl is not an option.

The warnings to truly consider are the risks of the ice cube becoming lodged in the throat of the animal or dental stress leading to a cracked tooth.

Yummy cooling solutions for your pets could involve freezing their favorite broth or a non-fat unsweetened yogurt. Fill an ice cube tray for them to enjoy during the hottest parts of the day.


What Not to Do to Your Dog

What not to do to your dog.

Petting a Dog’s Face or Patting Her Head
Number 3 of 11 in the series.

Do you like to be patted on the head? My guess is no. Having someone reach out and tap us on the head, no matter how lovingly, is not something most of us enjoy. It’s annoying at best and painful at worst. And we really don’t want the hands of strangers reaching toward our face. If someone were to reach their hand toward your face, I’m guessing your reaction would be to pull your head back and lean away, and get a little tense about the invasion of personal space. Yet most humans think that dogs like being patted on the head.

The reality is that while many dogs will put up with this if it’s someone they know and trust, most dogs don’t enjoy it. You may notice that even the loving family dog might lean away slightly when you reach for her face to pet her. She’ll let you because you’re the boss, but she doesn’t like it. It’s a personal space issue for dogs just as much as it is for us. This is why responsible parents teach their children to gently pet a dog’s back or rear, but don’t pat, and definitely don’t go for the dog’s face.

If you really want to reward your dog for being awesome, don’t bang on their head, but give them a rub on their rear end right by the tail. They’ll thank you for it!

Read more from the list of 11 Don’ts on the Mother Nature Network site.