As the date (October 26) for our first How-O-Run 5k approaches, many of our supporters may
be thinking that this would be a great opportunity for their canine buddies to accompany them during their show of support for homeless animals. Running and walking are good exercise for two-legged and four-legged participants.

Most dogs thrive when they engage in regular physical activity. Even if your canine companion has access to a fenced yard, very rarely will dogs ‘exercise’ alone. Daily exercise can go a long way to helping a dog be well-adjusted in a home environment. Many dogs need a ‘job’ even if that ‘job’ is to accompany their person on regular hikes, runs or even walks to get the newspaper or a cup of coffee. Physical activity is particularly important for herding, working or sporting type dogs and those with anxiety. The physical activity provides an outlet for the energy that is natural in young, healthy dogs. Without physical activity as a way to discharge that energy, dogs may ‘create’ their own outlet by destructive behavior, barking or escaping.

However, just like we need to be conditioned to the type, speed and duration of the activity, so do dogs. For instance, a distance of 5K, or 3.1 miles, would be an easy walk for a 2-year-old husky-mix. That is if that dog was in good weight, with young joints and accustomed to walking, and the outside temperature was in the dog’s comfort zone. However, it would be too far for a young puppy or a senior dog. An appropriate level of physical challenge and conditioning for both human and canine athletes is the key to injury-free success.