Thursday, February 3, 2011

How far is too far to run with your dog?

I mentioned recently that my chocolate lab Indy loves to run and it seems like she can run for days without getting tired. She makes for great company on a long run but I am worried about pushing her too far.

I gradually increased her mileage and we are now up to 10 miles, which is about 1.5 hours. My gut says I am probably starting to push the limit on how far I should let her run even though she seems great at the end of our runs. Maybe 2 hours max?

I will definitely ask her vet at her next visit, but I am worried that it will be like asking a doctor that doesn't run about overcoming a running injury. Without perspective or passion for the sport, the short answer is usually very conservative and not patient specific - usually something really creative like "stop running".

Do you have a dog that loves to run? How far is too far to run with your dog?

12 comments:

ONEHOURIRONMAN said...

My dog? About 200 yards.
Sounds like you have "Old Yeller" there so probably as far as you can go.
Funny story. "Back in the day" early 90s the race director at Escape from Alcatraz used to swim from Alcatraz with his Lab.

Ironman By Thirty said...

I'd say as long as you keep gradually increasing you'll be good. I am assuming that she isn't showing any signs of fatigue on the runs so I bet she can make it 2 hours.

Our dog is still a puppy so I haven't taken him for a run yet. How old was Indy before you started running with her??

Growing up, we had beagle/basset mutt. He had short stubby basset hound legs and the long basset hound body but was still a great runner. My dad worked him up to a 8 mile max. He lived a long, injury free, and I would like to think happier life because of running.

Jeff - DangleTheCarrot said...

I had labs growing up and they could seriously run all day long. So jealous of their energy! Probably best to ask your vet or do some searches on the credible animal websites.

My pugs can make to the end of the block now and in the summer time they can make it to the end but they need to be carried back (-:

Matthew Smith said...

I have a Boxer, and the longest she's run is probably an hour. I think if the dog isn't showing any signs of being tired, and she's not hurting the next day from the run, then keep running!

Andy Rosebrook said...

No experience but since you are slowly building up the milage, and the dog is still excited to go running, I'd say its all good. Question is at 2 hours who is pulling who?

Love and Puppies, Christy said...

I think that like people, dogs are individuals and it depends on breed, training, and age. My newfoundland mix used to be able to run 13 miles - only in the winter as it was WAY to hot for him in the summer. But we gradually built his mileage up each winter and he loved it. then in the summer, he could do 5 miles max...the heat was just too much. Now he is old (8 years and for a big dog, that's pretty old) and a 3 miles jog (not even a run) is about all he can do. We may have done some damage to his hips when he was a puppy with all the running, but there's no way to know. I'd say just wait until your dog isn't a puppy anymore (you know, in the 2-3 years range), build the mileage slowly like you would for you and see when he starts to tucker out. I could always tell when Don got tired because his tail wouldn't be up and curly anymore. :) Have fun!

Colleen said...

I wish I could run with my dogs... they are WAY too lazy! :)

Velma said...

I have taken my golden about 7 miles. It really depends on the weather. She can go forever in the fall and spring. In summer, 2 miles is about it. Happy running :)

Kendra said...

My mutt can only do 4 miles. Then her energy is too sporadic, she really drags. Be careful of your dog's paws in TX too. I can't run after 9am in the summer with my dog. Definitely ask your vet, since your vet knows your dog, and it's so different for each dog.

IMby30 - when you start your puppy (at age 1), start on grass.

Andree said...

My first lab ran with me a lot training for my first marathon. She got up to 10 miles, but labs are prone to arthritis, so I cut her back. Just watch out for that. Kaleigh now is still building :)

Caratunk Girl said...

Well, my dog won't run across the road. My buddy Beth's dog has gone 15 miles before and was ready for more a few hours later. I think it all depends on the dog. Just remember that your dog will keep pushing past pain because they are kind of programmed to ignore that stuff.

Laura Wheatley said...

I've built my vizsla up to several 10-12 mile runs, and when he got home he sprinted up and down the stairs wanting to play with a toy... I've also had friends take their dogs on 15-20 mile runs!

Like Mandy said, be careful, they DO run through pain... I will never take my dog running in the heat again...one time, he seemed to be doing fine for 5 miles, then all of the sudden ran under a bush for shade and refused to come out...it was like his last straw, but I didn't even know he was "suffering"... You will also want to teach him how to "drink" on command, like you would teach him to sit or stay. No matter what the temp, you want him to DRINK, and if they are not trained they won't want water until they are "bonked" or "dehydrated"

My question is, if you train your dog to run 10+ miles with you, do you have to plan THEIR nutrition too?? What would that consist of??