Why Your Dog Should Be Your Workout Buddy

Most everyone agrees having a gym buddy helps you stick to your workouts better than going solo. If your workouts include running, consider designating that title to your four-legged canine companion.

Not only are you more likely to stick to your exercise regimen, but a new study shows running produces similar benefits in a dog’s mood as it does in ours.

University of Arizona researchers took blood samples from humans, dogs and ferrets after a treadmill run and found both the human and dog subjects experienced higher levels of a chemical that produces feelings of euphoria.

Endocannabinoids — chemicals found in marijuana — are responsible for that post-jog high that runners often experience. This study shows our dogs can share in this feeling after a run. It’s a win-win situation.

Consider making your pooch your running buddy, but make sure you speak with your vet before starting Fido on any exercise program. Also keep the following tips from Spark People in mind:

-Familiarize yourself with the symptoms of overheating in your pet, especially as the weather warms up.

-If your dog isn’t used to going on runs with you, ease him into it. Just as people need time and practice to build up stamina for exercise, so does your dog. Consider starting out with short walks and then slowly build up to longer runs. If your pup shows exhaustion, stiffness or soreness for hours after a run, it’s a sign for you to scale back

-Use a leash on your dog, even if he is well trained. This will allow you the proper control you need and put other runners and passersby at ease.

-Consider the surface you are running on. The debris on the road and hot concrete can be hazards to your dog’s paws. Consider running on soft surfaces such as dirt or grass. If your dog starts limping, immediately check to see if any foreign objects have lodged into the paw pads. After a run, wash the pads to remove any harmful chemicals and check for blisters. You can also consider buying special shoes made for running dogs.