Ultrarunning with your dog

Many runners run with their dog, however some precautions need to be taken when participating to ultramarathons. Here are some helpful suggestions to bring your dog running long distances along with you.

1. You need to train dog feet and extend the distances gradually. After all, did you run 100 miles the first time you went out? There are products that will help toughen the skin on their feet. Check with your veterinarian.

2. Water is a must. Dogs do not sweat and the only way they can cool down is to cool their tongue. You can buy a doggie backpack or saddlebags and your dog can carry his own water and snacks. He might even carry yours if you ask nicely.

3. Speaking of snacks, you are usually better off sticking to doggie food instead of power bars or other sport food. Check with your veterinarian what is best for your dog.

4. Dogs are so devoted that they will do just about anything to please you. The danger is that dogs will not stop. They will run until they collapse. So pay attention to your four-legged friend. If he is struggling to keep up or even to keep upright, stop and walk. Let him cool down.

5. If you dog gets overheated, putting water on his head is not going to help. It may cool you when you are hot but remember a dog does not sweat. You must cool his internal organs. Put ice or cold water on his stomach. If he is not responding or is in heat stroke, you can take extreme measures and put ice up that area under his tail that none of us want to touch. If there is a lake or stream nearby, submerging his body will cool him nicely. If it is too cold, be careful about shock - put water on his body to start adjusting his body temperature and then put him in the water.

6. Be careful about feeding your dog too soon before a run. If you eat right before you start out, you probably end up with an upset stomach. It can be worse for your friend. Gastric torsion is a situation where the dog's stomach convulses and literally flips over, and it is deadly if not operated on immediately. Feeding lightly when you eat should be ok.

7. Keep in mind that your dog might run more than you do. Dogs love being free to just run. And they usually run back and forth, up and down.

 Running with your dog - A growing collection of articles for runners and walkers who love to bring their four-legged friends along.

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