Labradors are a fit and athletic dog breed that can also be used as guard dogs. Thus, many people tag them along on their morning and evening runs.
What do I need to know before I run with my Labrador?
You can run with your Labrador, but first, ensure your pet is in great shape, in good health, and over 18 months old. Train your Lab slowly till they adapt to your running pace. Run on a smooth path at a slow speed, and don’t cover long distances as you risk causing them injuries.
Before compiling this detailed guide, we’ve researched and interviewed several veterinarians and dog owners who run with their Labradors. From their responses, we’ve compiled this guide on the ideal age to start running with your Lab, how fast your Lab can run, and safety tips to observe to keep your Lab safe as you run.
Is it Okay to Go for a Run With My Labrador?
If your Labrador is fit and healthy, nothing stops you from tagging your dog for your morning run. Dogs make perfect companions as they can enjoy fresh air and exercise. Many people tag their dogs along for their morning and evening runs.
Besides, Labrador is a dog species known to be fit and athletic. Therefore, you don’t need to worry; just make sure to run at a pace and cover a distance your pet is comfortable with.
How Fast are Labradors?
Labradors are fit and athletic dogs and can run at a sprint rate of 40 miles per hour. Health, fitness, and age determine how fast your Lab can run. That said, ensure that your Labrador is healthy and well-trained, and they will be keeping up with you in your morning run.
If you want your Lab to accompany you for a long distance, make sure to use a slow space. If you opt to run faster, they will tire quickly, and you risk injuries to your pet.
What’s the Maximum Distance a Labrador Can Run?
This varies from dog to dog. For a labrador, the maximum distance depends on its health, fitness, and training. It’s good to note that a dog can run for miles and even continue running when tired, though it may lag behind.
Everylabrador owner should be attuned to their dogs. This will help you deduce if your dog is comfortable and happy to accompany you for your run. You should also be able to notice when they are tired and avoid pushing them too much, as they may experience discomfort in their joints, feel thirsty, and overheat.
Noticing signs of fatigue in your Labrador will go a long way in ensuring that they are happy and healthy.
Furthermore, when running with your Labrador, maintain short distances of about 5 miles round trip, as long distances may lead to irreversible health issues.
The distance your Labrador can cover without extending the limits depends on various factors. These include:
You must ensure you’ve trained your dog thoroughly before bringing it along for your run. An untrained Labrador cannot run for five miles, as it would wipe out their energy rendering them tired and breathless, and might result in injuries.
You can train your dog to run with you slowly, starting with short distances and increasing as you notice their tolerance level increase. And within no time, they will be accompanying you’re a roundtrip run.
Ensure your dog has no existing health conditions before you start training. You can take your Labrador to a veterinarian for a complete body check-up.
Suppose your Labrador has health problems, and you introduce them to running.
In that case, they may further strain their body, bones, and joints, resulting in irreversible issues, such as chronic pain or speeding up their disorders. A vet must ensure your pet is healthy and ready to tag along for your runs.
Weather impact is not limited to humans; even dogs have issues running when it’s too hot or cold. Therefore, ensure the weather conditions before leaving the house for your runs.
Labs have a high tolerance to cold weather. But this doesn’t mean you should tag them along for a winter run, as the snow will stick to their fur, causing them great pain and discomfort. They may also suffer frostbite or hypothermia if they stay outside for too long.
It is pretty hard for old labradors or puppies to run. This is because puppies are still developing; and their joints may form incorrectly if they run.
On the other hand, old dogs’ bodies, bones, and joints have become weaker. You can take your more senior Labrador on short runs or walk to keep fit and maintain some form of movement.
You should avoid running when it’s too hot, as Labradors are susceptible to overheating. That’s why it’s better to run early in the morning before the sun’s up or late in the evening.
If running for a relatively long distance, you should take regular breaks, as it’s not good to have your Lab running continuously. Rest in a shaded area and feed them water to dehydrate them.
Although their paws are not as soft as your feet, you must not run on rough terrain as it may be painful and uncomfortable for their feet and joints. Avoid paths made of asphalt, gravel, concrete, and pavement.
Opt for softer terrain like beach sand, dirt, or grass when running with your Labrador. This significantly reduces the stress on their paws, ensuring that they run for a long distance without experiencing any pain or discomfort.
What is the Ideal Age for a Labrador to Start Running?
You may wonder, at what age should you start running with my Labrador? You should avoid running with Labrador puppies as they are still developing and risk causing deformities in their joints, bones, and muscles.
You should introduce your Labrador to running at about 18 months to 2 years because, at this point, they have completed their growth phase.
When your puppy is about 18 months, you can take them for short runs with a distance of 1 to 2 miles. However, when they are young, take them for strolls to help their development.
Safety Tips for Running With Dogs
Having your Labrador as your running companion is fun, and you’ll feel safer, especially if they are trained as a protection dog.
So, you won’t be afraid of running early or late in the evening. You must practice these safety tips when running with a Labrador.
- Run on soft ground to guarantee comfort and protect them from painful paws.
- Cool down after your run: Before going for any run, you must warm up by walking briskly. And after your run, don’t stop abruptly; cool down your Lab by walking for about 10 minutes before stopping. This helps slow down their heartbeat and regulate their body temperature.
- Take regular breaks with your dog, rest under a shaded area, and feed your dog water.
- Keep them on a leash when running. This prevents them from wandering away from you or frightening other runners.
- Run with your Labradors on days when the weather is favorable.
- Be attuned to your Lab to know when they are tired and to stop running.
- You can start running with your Labradors from 18 months to 2 years.
- Labradors have a high tolerance to cold weather.
- You can’t run with puppies as you risk developing deformities in their joints.
- Run on a smooth path to protect your dog’s paws and ensure their comfort.