When you work out, you’re well aware that you need to have a cool down plan to ensure your body can recover efficiently, but do you have a similar routine in place for your dog? When you’re getting fit alongside your dog, and long runs and brisk walks become a part of each of your daily lives, you should always consider your dog’s post-workout plan. Remember, they need to cool down too!
No doubt a water bottle is a vital necessity for you whilst you’re out running, but it’s important to remember that your dog needs to keep hydrated too. If they’re fit and healthy, they may find running far less gruelling than you, but that’s not to say that they don’t need to stop for a drink just like you do. Whether you’re on a long hike or a half an hour run, take a water bottle containing enough fluid to sustain both you and your dog. You can even buy water bottles that feature a detachable water container for your dog to drink from, so you can ensure they’re able to rehydrate efficiently.
Don’t be tempted to encourage your dog to gulp down as much water as possible though, as this can cause stomach upset or bloating when running. Instead, offer small amounts of water at regular intervals. A good time to stop to rehydrate is when your dog is panting more heavily, but you shouldn’t go for more than a mile without letting them have a drink.
When you return home from your run, you need to check your dog’s body and paws. If you’re running in rural, countryside areas, then you need to look out for ticks or any sticky buds and debris. Run your hands or a brush through their fur and check their ears, underbelly and folds in the skin as insects could be trapped or hidden in these areas.
Next, move onto their paws and nails. Check for cuts, cracks or anything that could be lodged in between their pads. Grass seeds are a common problem in dogs with very furry paws, and can cause a lot of discomfort if not detected and removed early. After you’ve checked them over, wash the paws and dry them carefully, double checking for anything you might have missed previously.
You should always save your dog’s meal for after exercise, as eating before working out can cause bloating. They should have enough energy stored from their previous meal, so don’t worry about them not having enough fuel to keep them going.
Once you’re back from your run, your dog will be very hungry, but rehydrate and check over their body and paws before feeding them their normal meal. This way, they’ll have time to cool down from their workout before eating. A prescription food from your vet, or even bought online from somewhere like Viovet, will ensure they’re getting all the right nutrients, as dogs who exercise vigorously may have different dietary requirements than a canine couch potato.
If you take care of your dog after his workout as well as you do before and during your run, you’ll find he’ll be in fine form to go out with you again before too long.