For most walking the dog is sufficient, but for some they wish to bring their dog along when they perform more strenuous exercise, think jogging or trail running. Running whilst a good exercise can over time cause damage to human and doggy joints. So this article hopes to provide some tips and advice on running with your dog whilst staying safe during the run and after.

Make sure your dog is fit and ready 

Running is a demanding exercise, particularly on your joints.  If your dog is still growing,  the jarring impacts can cause joint damage . Vets recommend waiting until your dog is at least 3 years or older before any serious trial running. It is okay to go for short runs over smoother terrine. Advice from Eamonn Turley keen trail runner and founder of is before staring get your dog checked over with a VET for any potential problems, as it can be a gruelling sport

How far can a dog run?

How far a dog can run will depend on the dog breed, energy size and age.  On average, all dogs should be able to easily run 3 to 4 KM. Dog that are bred as working dogs can run much greater distances. AT the other side of the equation you have dogs that can only trot or jog  a few miles before becoming exhausted, this is true for overweight breeds that include bulldogs.

Examples of  some of the best dog breeds for trail running include:

  • Shepherds – German, Belgian, Australian
  • Retrievers – Labrador, Golden, Chesapeake, Curly and Flat coat
  • Rhodesian Ridge back
  • Cattle dogs – Blue Heeler, Kelpie
  • Collies – Border and Rough
  • Husky

Dog trail running gear

Before setting out, make sure you and your doggie are properly prepared for the event. Most important on the list is nourishment for the dog. Bring along high calorie snacks and water, bottle, both  of which can be shared. A waist attached leash is a popular option, giving more freedom and flexibility to both dog and owner. A collar leash is to be avoided at all costs for your and your dog’s safety. A running belt can hold the necessary accessories, plus don’t forget to bring plenty of poop bags. Running act as a trigger for dog to relive themselves.  Depending on the terrain, you may consider investing in a lightweight dog rain coat with underbelly and some paw protectors. 


If running alone  with your dog, take some safety precautions. First  making sure that you inform someone that you are off for a run and details of the trial run route. Consider a GPS collar for your dog should you get separated. If running in poor visibility, take some reflective clothing for you and your dog

Dog Care after the Run

Like us humans, your dog will need some time to relax and recover. Make sure you can find a comfortable location out of direct sunlight and have lost of drinking water should your dog have an unquenchable thirst, like mine does after a long run. After they have had time to recover,  carry out a check for cuts or damage to the paws, pay particular attention to spaces between toes and inner thigh areas. Also check doggies body for any freerides (ticks) that may have been picked in the grasses and bushes.

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