SMRC Running with Moe RRCA
  Home About the Club Current News Club Runs Places to Run TX Running Clubs Running Links Useful Stuff  
  Upcoming Races Race Results Country Roads 10K ARA-Moe's Better Half Marathon Running with Moe Contact Us!  

August 20, 2017

If you run with your dog, be sure to keep them cool

It seems that these triple-digit temperatures are hanging around a bit longer this year; and for runners, that is not the best for training for long-distance season that is just around the corner. San Marcos is gearing up with several local races on the calendar, starting with yesterday’s Rattler Run & 5K, sponsored by the San Marcos High School AFJROTC cadets, and continuing through October and November.

Most runners are aware of the dangers of running in heat, and take precautions to avoid heat exhaustion or worse. And while there are many warning signs that will let a runner know when it is time to stop and cool off and get some water to drink, I still recall taking care of several cases of runners pushing it and ending up collapsing before the race is over.

In one case, we had to almost force a guy to get in the car for a ride back, as he was determined to finish the race. The staggered gait and weaving back and forth across the road was enough to convince him that it was not in his best interests to continue. I just did not want a collapsed runner out on the course who needed medical care; and the race director told him he was disqualified anyway and to get in the car.

One thing that I have not seen much writing or advice on is for those runners who run with dogs. I have had a couple of cases of pet heat exhaustion where fast action was needed to save the animal’s life.

One runner tried to get the dog to drink Gatorade. Water will do fine, but cooling the pet off is primary. Dogs cool off by panting with the tongue. Dogs do not sweat like humans; and with a fur-covered coat, the heat can build up very quickly – even more quickly than for their human running partner.

A runner needs to keep a close watch during the race, or on a training run, on their pet, and recognize when things are starting to go wrong. I ran with my Siberian Husky on some days; and he knew where there were water pools on the course, and didn’t hesitate to jump in and sit there while we waited for him to cool off. I made it a point to select a course where there was water that he could jump in on hot days.

Runners have various methods of staying cool during a run, like putting ice cubes in a bag under a cap to keep the head cool. Bandannas watered down to keep the neck and shoulders cool help some.

I haven’t run with a dog for some time, and am not up to date on the latest type of covers or jackets that a dog can wear with a cooling method. Some type of shirt with pockets built in for ice should help keep them cool.

One area that many dog runners overlook is the paws of a dog. You have heard of people trying to fry an egg on the pavement on very hot days. Humans have shoes to keep the bare feet off the pavement. Think how many times you have gone to the beach and tried to walk across the hot sand, and burned your feet.

Dogs’ paws can be burned if the pavement is that hot; and they need to stay in the shade at the starting line, or have some type of foot covering on if they are going to run with you. A dog’s paws are tough, but still need covering in certain conditions.

I hiked down an unused trail at the Grand Canyon one year, and saw large signs that warned hikers to leave their dogs at home. Of course, there are always those that either can’t read or ignore the warning. We found a couple trying to carry their dog in a sling tied to a brace between them, with the dog’s paws bleeding. It was a long way to the top still, so I imagine they might read that warning sign next time.

The good thing that race directors are doing lately is having aid station pans for dogs as well as the cups for runners. I have seen some races that have a “kiddie pool” filled with water for the dog to lay down in after the race.

Running in hot weather is still possible; but when runners take precautions for themselves, the same precautions needs to be taken for the pet running along with you. Run safe, and take care of your running partner; and remember that the dog has a fur coat that adds to that heat index at a faster rate.

Moe Johnson
Dr. Maurice Johnson - better known around San Marcos as “Moe” - is a professor in the Department of Health, P.E., Recreation and Dance at Texas State University - San Marcos. Moe has been a fixture in the San Marcos running community - both as a runner and race organizer - since way back when Moby Dick was a minnow. His column on running and fitness appears each Sunday in the Sports section of the San Marcos Daily Record.

Recent “Running With Moe” Columns

HomeAbout the ClubCurrent NewsClub RunsPlaces To RunTX Running ClubsRunning LinksUseful Stuff
Upcoming RacesRace ResultsCountry Roads 10K & Kids RunMoe’s Better Half Marathon“Running With Moe”
Contact Us!