One of the most common questions we’re asked is how old a dog should be when it starts to run. We wrote a brief post on that topic here (although it probably needs revisiting and I’ll do that in the near future), and although I haven’t looked through every post, I’m pretty sure that’s the post that has the most comments and questions on it.
We’re enjoying both ends of the age spectrum at the moment, with our new youngsters Morag and Rose just starting their running journey. On the other hand our seniors Sinner and Guinness are slowing right down. Sinner no longer runs at all, he is getting a bit doddery on his legs and he is happy to settle for an easy stroll around the block. Guinness loves to run but his distances are kept to around 4-5km because he starts to lag, sniff and become a trip hazard.
So how old is too old to run?
Well, that depends on the dog. Guinness will be 13 in March and he’s still very very keen to run, so it would be a shame not to take him out. However I don’t ask him to do any more than he’s comfortable with, because then it wouldn’t be fun for him. When we run together, it’s just for him, and I do my training runs at other times.
One thing to keep in mind when your dog is getting older is that they may be developing arthritis. This can make running uncomfortable for them. The mind is keen but the body lets them down a little and if they do too much they can pull up quite lame. There are a couple of ways to manage this. One is weight control. Another is joint support products like 4Cyte. A third is to use medication to manage the discomfort and your vet is the best person to advise you on this.
If your dog is getting on in years, you can still run with him but be guided by how much he wants to do, and how much he can do. There really isn’t an age limit, after all age is just a number.
It feels a bit like the end of an era. Guinness has been with me for so much of my running life and now I direct my training towards running with young Morag and Rose. He’s still my running buddy and he will be for as long as he wants to be.