Labradors are very friendly dogs, and they will do anything to please their master. As a breed, they are very athletic, and enjoy long walks or playing fetch with their owners. But can a Lab accompany you on a jogging session without getting bored or tired? We are going to answer that question below and explain why Labradors make great running partners.
1) Are Labs good jogging companions?
An adult Lab, in a good physical condition, can be the best running partner that you will ever have. They enjoy physical exercise and being with their owner, which you can see that from the first time you take them for a run.
Labs are very smart, and after a few runs, they will learn how to stay by your side and to synchronize with your running rhythm. You’ll need to keep an eye on your dog to see how they keep up with your pace at first, but most Labs have no problem outrunning their owner. Having them on a leash is imperative especially when running on busy streets where you might encounter humans or other dogs.
2) How far can you run with your Lab?
Even though your Labrador can be a good running partner, you still have to establish how far it can run. Normally, your dog’s endurance depends on several factors, like age, health, fitness and the current weather. If your dog didn’t do much running before, he will probably get tired after a short distance. But luckily, Labs are designed as running dogs and they will get in shape faster than a human being or most other dog breeds.
In order to train your Lab’s endurance, you will have to gradually increase the running distance each day. Start with half a mile and increase the distance 20% each day. This way, you will have an extra incentive to train yourself and to run longer distances. However, you shouldn’t exaggerate and you shouldn’t let your dog run for more than 5 miles.
You should avoid hard surfaces if possible and opt for an off-road or for a forest path instead. Hard surfaces can damage your dog’s joints and paws, increasing their risk for certain ailments like arthritis.
3) How to get your dog fit
Before you start running with your dog, you should take him to the vet, for a general checkup. It’s better to be sure that your dog is 100% healthy before taking him for a run. Depending on your dog’s age or weight, a vet can give you several recommendations. If you have an overweight Labrador, don’t take him for a jogging session thinking that he will lose weight this way.
Normally, an overweight Lab isn’t supposed to run long distances, because it will have negative effects on his joints. Instead, you should cut his food ratio or develop a diet plan for him. A diet is the fastest and healthiest way of getting your dog fit, and help him lose some pounds. If you’re not sure how to make such diet, you should check out this article about recommended nutrition for your Lab
Once your dog starts losing a few pounds, you can take him for a short run, but no more than half a mile. If your dog doesn’t seem tired, you can increase the distance a bit, but don’t overdo it. It’s important to give your dog a break for a few days between running sessions.
4) Can you run with your Lab in warm weather?
It is possible to run with your Labrador in warm weather, but you should be extra cautious if you’re doing that. Labs are not horses and are not made to run continuously, especially when it’s hot outside.
When running with your dog in hot weather, you should pay attention to his breathing and stop if he sounds too tired. Find a shady spot and let your Lab rest for a few minutes. If you’re near a source of water, your dog will probably want to drink a little- be sure they don’t drink a lot as this can be bad for their health. The most advisable thing is to avoid running with your dog in hot weather. If you can, you should take your dog for a run before breakfast, while it is cooler outside.
5) Can you run with a Labrador puppy?
Even though a Lab puppy should be encouraged to run from time to time, it’s not advisable to take him with you for a long jogging session. Puppies need time to harden their joints and this won’t happen until they are at least 10 months old. Until then, it’s better to just walk your dog and eventually go for a short running session, no more than 5 minutes.
While they are puppies, Labs are very enthusiastic and they often tend to run more than they should. It’s entirely your responsibility to keep your little Lab under control and prevent him from running too much.
6) Can you run with an old Labrador?
Labradors maintain their athletic shape even when they are older, and they will love joining you for a casual running session. However, if your dog is more than 10 years old, it’s better to take him to a vet for some examinations. The vet will check his joints, his heartbeat and will know if he’s still able to run, without being exposed to any health risk.
If your dog is healthy, you can take him for a run, no matter his age, as long as you closely observe his behavior and his fatigue level.
7) What safety measures should you take when running with your Labrador?
The most important measure when running with your dog is to pay attention to the weather. Your Lab can run without a problem in any weather condition, except when it’s hot outside. If your dog is overheated, you should take a 10-minute break and then, give him some water, but just a little.
If your dog seems to be in a bad mood or feels unwell, it’s better to postpone the running session for another day. Remember that Labs are very loyal and they will follow you even when they feel bad. That’s why you have to be the one who notices that and doesn’t force him when it’s not necessary.
Running with your Lab is a great experience, and you should do this whenever you get a chance. Just follow all the above-mentioned tips and make sure that your dog is ready to join you. If you do that, then you will have a happy dog and you will have a wonderful time together.