Running with Your Dog: Tips for Hydration
Life-giving water is the single most important nutrient for humans and dogs alike. If you’re an athlete, you’re already keenly aware of this; your canine running companion is, too. Staying hydrated is imperative when you’re running with your dog, and so is recognizing when she’s thirsty. She depends on you for breaks; learn the signs of dehydration and other medical emergencies before you go, and listen carefully to what your dog is telling you.
1. How often SHOULD MY DOG DRINK?
Before, during, and after a run: whenever you take a drink of water, you should also give your dog an opportunity to drink. Know your run; if it’s a quick 5K, you may not routinely take along bottled water, and most likely your dog will be okay waiting ‘til you get home, too. Longer distances demand you bring it; consider a collapsible portable dog bowl if your workout buddy won’t drink from a water bottle. And avoid puddles, which harbor toxins and contaminants she should not ingest.
2. HOW MUCH SHOULD My DOG DRINK?
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, but here is a simple way to calculate: your dog needs about ½ to 1 ounce of water per pound of body weight. So if she’s a 65-pound Lab, for example, she needs 36 to 65 ounces of water every day. Use common sense: if you’re running with her on a hot day, she’ll need more.
3. HOW to get your dog to Drink Water
You can lead a dog to water, but some dogs are reluctant or unwilling to drink it. Here are three ways to encourage your dog to drink more water:
Eventually you can phase out the treat, or only use it only on occasion. And for extra fun, play a game with the hose or a sprinkler—some dogs like to “catch” the water; the yield is small, but something is better than nothing in a pinch. Also try giving your dog a water bottle with the lid only partially closed—attempting to get the water out is a joyous challenge, and she’ll drink some of it in the process.
Whoa there, little doggie: slow down! If she chugs after a run it’s all likely to come back up. Help her take in water a little at a time, even when she is very hot and thirsty.
What are the SIGNS OF DEHYDRATION IN DOGs?
The signs of dehydration in a dog are easy to spot when you know what to look for. Keep in mind, a dry nose might mean your dog is thirsty, but her nose fluctuates between wet and dry during the course of any day, so it could mean nothing. Conversely, a dog with a wet sniffer can be dehydrated. There are better benchmarks:
Sunken eyes, loss of appetite, lethargy, and depression can also be signs of serious dehydration in your dog; if you observe these symptoms seek the help of a veterinarian immediately.
BETTER SAFE THAN SORRY: enjoy running with your dog
By all means, run with your dog—she’s the best personal trainer you’ll ever have. But keep her safe to prolong her running life, and use common sense:
Stay home if it’s too hot to trot. But when the conditions are right, hit the road or trail: you’ll discover there are few moments in life more rewarding than running with your dog.
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