Run Like the Wind: Essential Tips For Running With Your Dachshund
Dachshunds have short legs, after all, and you might think they’d struggle to keep up as a running companion – but actually your energetic little buddy is are perfectly capable of sustaining a good turn of pace, as long as the run distance doesn’t extend into a marathon.
The physiology of Dachshunds is suited to hat and not the ultra-long distances covered by endurance champions such sled dog breeds. Dachshunds like short jogs and moderate-duration runs best and can certainly hold their own on these!
Some tips for running with your Dachshund that you can employ straight away are:
- Do a quick health check before starting to introduce sustained running
- Start by running for no more than half a mile or 5 minutes, whichever comes sooner, and build up distance slowly over time
- Keep a close eye on your dog during every run to pick up early on signs of tiredness or fatigue
- Avoid running in direct sunlight, select a route that is shaded by tree cover such as parkland or forest trails
- Plan your run to take in a natural water source, or pack a bottle of water that can be offered mid-run
- Monitor your dog for the onset of muscle soreness the day after in the early stages of your running journey
To help you get started or improve your approach to running with your wee pal we’ve expanded on each of the above points below.
Are Dachshunds even built to run in the first place?
Dachshunds were originally bred to be good at hunting small animals such as rabbits. They were small enough to dart through the undergrowth and scrabble down holes after their prey. This means that they were bred to be energetic and reasonably quick over short distances, but they aren’t suited to endurance running.
Dachshunds are however high energy dogs and like at least 60 minutes of exercise per day when they are in good health.
If you’re struggling to wear your little four-legged friend out, consider taking them on a jog after reading through the tips below to make sure it’s an enjoyable experience for both parties.
Make sure your Dachshund is in good health before running
Before you properly start running with your pup, get a health check from the vet. Make sure that there are no issues with your dachshund’s hips or back that you need to be aware of before you hit the trails.
Dachshunds often suffer from problems with these parts of their bodies because they are quite “disproportionate” creatures.
It’s easy for them to injure themselves, so you need to know about weaknesses in advance so you can choose appropriate exercise.
Talk to your vet about your fitness plan and what your dog can manage. A dog that is young, physically fit, and full of enthusiasm will be more suited to jogging than a puppy, or an elderly or overweight dog.
Build up distance slowly when running with a Dachshund
No matter how enthusiastic your miniature dachshund proves to be, don’t go crazy on the first few runs.
Just like humans, dachshunds need to build their muscles for running, and while they may not realize they need to stop, you shouldn’t let them overdo it.
Think about their legs in relation to yours and calculate just how much more work they’re having to do to keep up with you. This may help you ease into running at a more reasonable pace and cadence.
Remember also to take breaks regularly so they can catch their breath and rest their muscles a bit. Some dogs just don’t have any quit in them so it’s up to you to say when enough is enough.
Watch for tiredness when running with your Dachshund
If the exercise is proving too much for your dachshund, you’ll notice a few signs. These include:
- heavy, labored panting
- lagging behind
- unwillingness to walk
You may also notice that your dachshund is extremely thirsty when you stop, or that it seems achy the next day. These are all good indicators that the exercise was too much, and you need to review the approach before you do harm to your friend.
Try to keep an eye on your dachshund throughout the run. Glance at them frequently to see how they’re doing, and slow down or stop if they need you to. Remember too that this is a sign to do less in future runs, and to take the foot off the gas.
If you want to do long runs and your dachshund can’t keep up, you’ll have to leave them behind and only take them on days when you’re prepared to do shorter, slower exercise.
It might be fun exercising with your best friend, but not if they’re finding it too much to handle.
It’s particularly important to keep an eye on your dachshund’s behavior when you first start running with them, but you should always be watching for signs that they’re struggling, even if you are familiar with their limitations.
An injury that you have yet to notice could be worsened by over-exercising. Keep an eye on your dog whenever you run together, and respond quickly to negative signs
Don’t run with any dog in the heat of the day
Humans cope well with heat; we have plenty of sweat glands that are very efficient at helping us to cool down. Dogs do not handle heat so well. They can cool down by panting and they do sweat through their feet, but they are much more likely to suffer from overheating than people are.
Miniature dachshunds are so full of energy, they may not notice if they are getting too hot, and could even get heatstroke.
Don’t run in weather that’s over 60° F, and don’t run in the hot sun. Choose shady, cool routes that will let your dog stay comfortable.
Carry water for your Dachshund when out running together
If you plan to run in hot or even warm weather, you should carry water for your dog. They may not get dehydrated like humans do, but they will appreciate a good drink to help themselves cool down.
For short runs, it’ll be fine to just give them a drink when you return home, but if you plan to go for a longer journey (with appropriate rest breaks), take a bowl and pour some water out of your bottle for them. Most dogs will really appreciate a refreshing drink while they’re exercising.
Watch out for stiffness and soreness the next day
If your dog seems stiff and reluctant to move the day after a jog, don’t take them with you that day. Instead, choose a gentle form of exercise to get those sore muscles moving, but not stress them further.
It’s good to keep your dog moving, but if it isn’t feeling its best, go slowly and let it set the pace!
Frequently asked questions
The distance you can run with your dachshund depends on their age, health, and fitness level. Generally, dachshunds can run for about 20-30 minutes at a moderate pace, but it’s important to pay attention to your dog’s cues and stop if they show signs of fatigue.
It’s recommended to use a hands-free leash or a waist belt leash when running with your dachshund. This allows you to have better control over your dog while also keeping your hands free.
To keep your dachshund safe while running, make sure they are up-to-date on their vaccinations and have a collar with identification tags. It’s also important to keep them on a leash and avoid running during extreme weather conditions.
It’s important to train your dachshund to run on a leash and follow basic commands before starting a running program. You can also work on building their endurance gradually by starting with short walks and gradually increasing the distance and intensity.