Why Run With Your Dog?

Personal training for dogs. You’re kidding, right? Actually, no, we’re not. Research suggests up to 40% of our dogs are overweight, and they suffer from the same health complications that overweight people do. Veterinarians (including myself) are becoming more and more concerned about the increase in joint pain, heart disease and other obesity related illnesses in dogs. Hence, Pooch to 5k. Dogs can’t lift weights, or use the gym. If you’re going to increase their fat burning, you need to increase the intensity of their exercise. This means that a daily stroll just won’t cut it any more, it’s too laid back. The Pooch to 5k program will help you get your dog from doing nothing much to comfortably running 5km, over a period of 12 weeks.

Because you’ll be running with your dog, you’ll also get a great workout three times a week, as you train yourself to run 5km. Why not subscribe to our dog health and fitness newsletter and grab your dog, and you’re ready to go!


The Genetics of Running Dogs


Are some breeds of dogs better runners than others? That is definitely the case, and it all comes down to genetics.

Compare greyhounds with foxhounds. Greyhounds are fast, but after one lap of the track, they are spent. Foxhounds, on the other hand, can run after a fox for a very long time without getting tired. What is the difference?

This is a very basic anatomy lesson, but it is enough to help you understand more about your dog’s body.

There are basically two types of muscle fibers in dogs. There are fast twitch fibers, and slow twitch fibers. Just to add to the confusion, there are actually two types of fast twitch fibers, known as “a” and “x”.

Fast twitch “a” fibers are fast, powerful and use energy from intracellular stores and glucose metabolism. They work quickly, they fatigue easily, and are the fiber type most likely to be found in sprinting breeds such as greyhounds and whippets.

Slow twitch fibers are most likely to be seen in endurance dogs, as they are more efficient at burning fat for energy. These fibers also tend not to tire as quickly. Yep, you guessed it, these are the fibers you’re more likely to find in hunting dogs.

Your dog’s running performance depends on what proportion of his muscle fibers are fast twitch, or slow twitch.

It’s also fair to say that within each breed, certain “lines” have the potential to be better athletes than others.

Can you change your dog’s muscle composition? You can’t change your dog’s anatomy, but you can train the muscle fibres to some extent with the right training program.

Categories : Dog Health




Where might we find exercise programs to utilize for our dogs?
How do we
And the fiber change?



Hi Bill

There aren’t a lot of exercise programs out there for dogs. You can use the Pooch to 5k program available for download on this site, or similar. As far as fiber changes to lose weight, I’d suggest a good quality food that has a weight loss formula and feed enough to keep your dog in lean condition. Weight loss has less to do with fiber than the amount of calories they eat.


I just want to point out the greyhound IS a hunting dog, saying slow twitch muscles are the kind more likely to be found in hunting dogs is wrong, as there are sprinting hunting dogs and endurance hunting dogs. The “old yeller” scent hounds americans might think of when they think of hunting dogs are endurance athletes but it could be argued as far as hunting dogs go this type is a niche unusual type vs the more widespread and older sighthound type which are sprinters.

Leave a Comment