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Why Running is Great for Your Dog (and You!)

The obesity epidemic is spreading to dogs, with over 50% of dogs in the U.S. being reported as overweight or obese.  Running is a great way for both you and your dog to get exercise and the benefits go beyond losing those few extra pounds.  Like humans, some dogs are more athletic and built for running than others. Huskies, greyhounds, and working breed dogs are all inclined to run for long distances.

Physical Benefits

While walking is good exercise, most dogs need an opportunity to run in order to burn off their energy. Running uses different muscles than walking, and will increase your dog’s heart rate more than walking.  This is known as cardiovascular exercise, which will help increase the strength of your dog’s heart and can extend his lifetime. Many owners also note that their dogs are less likely to be destructive when they are allowed to run regularly.  While the health benefits for your dog may be enough to encourage you to run, running with your dog is also great for your own health. Research has shown that individuals who are moderately active experience great health benefits, like weight loss, muscle building, and protection against diseases.  Running a few times a week with your dog is a good way to maintain a moderate level of activity for both you and your pup.

Mental Benefits

Along with the physical benefits, there are many mental benefits that come from running with your dog.  Regular exercise has been shown to reduce mental disorders, including anxiety and depression.  Add this to the fact that spending time with a pet has been shown to reduce these disorders, and running with your dog can become a great part of your treatment plan.  Running with your dog can also help reduce stress, as touch and movement are the two quickest methods of relieving stress.  Moving with your dog and patting them as praise for good behavior can really help to better your mental outlook.  In addition, running with your dog is a great bonding activity that can help to better your relationship.

A Perfect Match

A dog is a perfect running partner.  Research done at the University of Missouri has shown that individuals who exercise with their dogs are more likely to stick with their workout routine.  Your dog will begin to look forward to your regular runs, and you will find it hard to resist those big eyes and wagging tail.  Runners also find that bringing their dog along on their runs helps them to focus less on their running time or calories burned, and instead turn their attention to enjoying their workout.  Running with your dog will help to motivate you both to enhance your physical and mental health.

Running is a mutually beneficial activity that can serve as a great bonding experience for you and your pooch. If you’re boarding a guest dog in the near future, take him for a cool run to keep him entertained and fit. Let your dog encourage and motivate you to get fit, we are sure he will always be up for a good run.

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