When running with your dog, the most common injury you may come across is a paw and pad injury due to the nature of the sport of running. Here are my top tips for protecting and looking for your dogs’ paws.
1. Have a check of your dogs paws regularly to become familiar of what ‘normal’ looks like for them. Always give all 4 paws a quick check over before and after each of your runs.
2. Check your dogs’ claws are not too long as this can effect their running gait and overgrown nails can also be uncomfortable to move on. If you are in any doubt, your local groomer or vet will be able to advise on this.
3. It’s important to build your dogs running up gradually so that they harden their pads up without doing too much too soon. If you’re unsure on how to build up your dogs running fitness safely, you can enrol on my 8 week online Canicross C25k course HERE!
4. Running on trails /softer surfaces is much kinder to your dogs paw pads. Softer ground also helps lessen the impact during running on their bones and joints. Small sections of running on harder surfaces is fine, but try and keep these to a minimum when planning your running routes.
5. A question I often get asked is about dogs wearing running booties to protect their paws. It’s something I tend to not recommend unless there is a specific problem arising from running ( in which case I’d recommend to speak to the vet first ) as the majority of dogs won’t adjust to wearing boots quickly as they feel unnatural to wear and can result in changing their gate and/or rubbing because of them. You also have too be super careful with anything covering their paws, particularly whilst running as dogs mainly regulate heat through their paws as they cant sweat like us, so if we put boots on there is a potential of increasing risk of overheating.
Although prevention is better than a cure, sometimes accidents happen beyond our control. I always recommend owners to have basic first aid knowledge to know what action to take should your dog pick up a paw injury. I can highly recommend this free online first aid course with Registered Veterinary Nurse, Rachel Bean. You can enrol for free HERE.
Emma Cook – Owner & Certified Canicross Trainer