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Ask The Vet: Running With Puppies

Q: I’m a runner and I just adopted a lab puppy.  I would like to start exercising with her, but I’m worried about keeping her joints and muscles healthy.  Do you have any advice?

A: First of all, congratulations on your new puppy!  It’s great that you want to run with your new dog, but you will have to go slow, so here are a few guidelines to get you started.

Before trying to run, your dog should already be trained to walk and heel on a leash.

Start slow!  Begin with long walks several times a week and gradually progress to intervals of running and walking.  After a few weeks  you can decrease the walking time until you are running the entire route.  Add speed or distance, but not at the same time, by no more than 10% each week.  Take your cues from your dog.  If she slows down, let her.

Make sure you schedule rest days.  Young muscles and bones need adequate time to recover.  If possible, run on softer surfaces away from traffic and remember to carry water.  Have fun!

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