"Happy dogs are happy around people, and active dogs are happy dogs," says Liz Devitt, DVM and veterinarian for Dog Run Dog events.
If you love running with your dog, Devitt has a few helpful suggestions to make sure the experience is enjoyable for both you and your pooch.
Know the Signs of Fatigue in Your Dog
Fido can't tell you when he's tired. To make sure you're not overworking your hound, Devitt suggests paying close attention to any physical signs of exhaustion.
"There's panting and then there's 'Can't stop panting,'" Devitt says.
If your dog's rear legs are dragging or tail starts to go down, it might be time for a break.
Prepare for the Race
"Make sure your dog is fit enough for the distance," Devitt says. "Just because you can do it—can gut it out—doesn't mean you or your dog should."
Devitt suggests getting the OK from the vet to make sure your dog can handle the distance safely. Most dog races are a 5K or 10K distance. Just because you can handle the 10K doesn't mean it's the best choice for your canine. Devitt suggests dropping your dog off after the first 5K if you want to push through the 10K.
What to Wear
From shoes to socks and everything in between, runners spend a lot of time deciding what to wear on race day.
"Anyone who's ever worn cotton socks on race days knows how much they regretted it," Devitt says. "Your dog doesn't get to choose what to wear, so choose for them wisely."
Devitt suggests leaving the retractable leashes and choke collars at home. While costumes can be cute and funny on your pup, it's important to consider what's comfortable too.
With these helpful tips, you can be sure your dog will enjoy race day just as much as you.