Your dog might be your best friend, but that doesn鈥檛 automatically make them your best running buddy too. But running with Fido can be great exercise for you and your pup鈥 when it鈥檚 done right. So after you鈥檝e found a聽race that you actually want to run and have identified the training plan that鈥檒l turn you into a running pro, it鈥檚 time to start pounding some pavement. To keep training interesting, grab your furry friend and follow these five tips from Christina Russell, president of the doggy daycare and training company聽Camp Bow Wow, to keep you and your dog safe and free of common running聽injuries.

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1. Start slow.聽Just like humans need to build up endurance and strength over time, so does your pooch. 鈥淚f your dog has never been out for a run with you, don鈥檛 expect him to be up for a marathon. Start with a combination of running and walking for short periods of time until you notice that his endurance is increasing. Just as humans are, dogs are susceptible to stress fractures and heat stroke,鈥 Christina says. Also, follow the basics of a good workout to avoid injury 鈥 for both of you.聽鈥淵our jog should include five minutes of warm-up, 20 minutes of jogging and five minutes of cool-down,鈥 Christina says.

2. Be mindful of the weather.聽鈥淵ou know how torturous it can be to run on a brutally hot day with high humidity 鈥 so don鈥檛 subject your dog to that either. Dogs, like humans, can overheat very quickly. If you absolutely must run that day, go during the early morning hours before the sun becomes scorchingly hot, or leave your dog at home for this run,鈥 Christina advises. Also聽鈥 believe it or not聽鈥 dogs can get聽sunburns too! As you鈥檙e prepping to run on a sunny day, she recommends you slather sunscreen on yourself and your pup, 鈥渆specially if it has shorter hair or is a lighter color.鈥

3. Wear proper accessories for safety.聽Between avoiding the hottest part of the day and heading to work, you often have to fit your聽run in聽before sunrise or after sunset. 鈥淚f you鈥檙e running in the dark, be sure that you and your pup accessorize with some reflective gear so that you鈥檙e visible to traffic,鈥 Christina recommends. No, we won鈥檛 judge you for聽wearing matching neon vests.

4. Protect those puppy paws.聽Not all running surfaces are created equal. 鈥淭oo much walking or running on concrete can stress dog joints and irritate their聽foot pads,鈥 Christina says. 鈥淥n sunny days, pavement and asphalt get incredibly hot and can quickly burn your pup鈥檚 feet. Gravel can be dangerous as well, as it can puncture their paws. To be safe, only take your dog running on dirt trails, grass or sand. Stop periodically during your run to check his paws for burns or cuts.鈥

5. Hydrate before, during and after your run.聽鈥淢ake sure you and your dog have properly hydrated before you go for a run. If you鈥檙e going first thing in the morning, wait until the pup has had a bowl or two of water, and you鈥檝e had a chance to drink some H20 too. Remember to bring along a portable bowl or cup so you can stop and give your聽dog聽some water throughout your run.鈥

Do you run with your dog? Tweet us your tips to @BritandCo!

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