Why Run With Your Dog?

Personal training for dogs. You’re kidding, right? Actually, no, we’re not. Research suggests up to 40% of our dogs are overweight, and they suffer from the same health complications that overweight people do. Veterinarians (including myself) are becoming more and more concerned about the increase in joint pain, heart disease and other obesity related illnesses in dogs. Hence, Pooch to 5k. Dogs can’t lift weights, or use the gym. If you’re going to increase their fat burning, you need to increase the intensity of their exercise. This means that a daily stroll just won’t cut it any more, it’s too laid back. The Pooch to 5k program will help you get your dog from doing nothing much to comfortably running 5km, over a period of 12 weeks.

Because you’ll be running with your dog, you’ll also get a great workout three times a week, as you train yourself to run 5km. Why not subscribe to our dog health and fitness newsletter and grab your dog, and you’re ready to go!

Archive for Product Reviews

Jun
17

Safe Lace – No More Tripping

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Safe Lace closedIt’s not always easy to run with a dog. Stopping to sniff, stopping to pee, running from one side of you to the other to smell the latest aroma on a passing tree. That’s unless your dog runs nicely at heel. Guinness doesn’t at first, and I’m ok with him having a bit of an explore when we first head out. After a few kilometres, he’s neatly at my side and pretty much stays there for the rest of the run.

With all that going on, the last thing I want to do is add a loose shoelace to the mix. I’m watching where the dog is, avoiding an ankle tap that will send me flying, only to trip over a loose shoelace. Fortunately, I discovered Safe Lace. This clever yet very simply designed item secures my laces so I don’t have to worry about them coming undone.

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Airia One 2I have had dodgy feet for pretty much all of my life. I have high arches, hallux rigidus in my right big toe (due to a suspected broken toe a few years ago) and Morton’s toe (a long second toe which causes pain in the ball of my foot when running). If I was a horse, they’d probably shoot me. So, I was excited to read about a new shoe design that seemed to not only accommodate all my issues, but would make me faster. I was keen to give them a run.

The Airia One incorporates an innovative biomechanical design, which the manufacturer claims affects your stride and alters your muscle usage. This leads to an improved performance. The sole of the shoe is asymmetric; it is thinner on the inside and sharply angled, with an upward pointing toe, which optimizes the biomechanics. The shoe’s inspiration comes from the wheel, with designers stating that it provides the runner with a wheel-like motion that makes running more smooth and stable.

This shoe has been decades in the making, with every aspect of the shoe analysed and tweaked to maximise and utilise the power of the human Airia Onebody. Its designers are convinced that wearing a pair of these running shoes will not only enhance your comfort by correcting poor biomechanics but will also improve your performance. They claim that 8 out of 10 runners wearing the shoes noticed an increase in pace ranging from between 1% and 7%.

The shoes are most definitely geared towards the more serious athlete. It’s not easy to walk in them, so they’re not a shoe to wear when you pop down to the shops or pick up the kids from school. There is a breaking-in period for them; the manufacturers recommend that you run up to 10km in them before you decide if they’re right for you. There can be some calf discomfort when you first start running in the Airia One, but this soon settles as you get used to them.

So, did this shoe work for me?

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Nov
29

Product Review – The Flip Belt

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flipbeltWhen you go out running, you always need to carry a few things with you. If you take your dog with you, you need even more. Poop bags are an essential, and they can take up a bit of space. Put a small purse, mobile (or cell) phone, car keys, poop bags and a lip balm into a bum bag (or fanny pack as they are called in the US), and the result is an uncomfortable bouncing mass around the waist. For me, that large chunky mass at the front is so annoying, and it’s enough to take the shine off a run.

There’s a new product on the market that can remedy this situation, and I just had to try it out.  The FlipBelt is a simple, yet ingenious idea. It’s made from a spandex/lycra blend, and designed to fit comfortably so that it will remain in place around the hips. It’s essentially a tubular belt, with multiple openings along it which enable you to slide your items inside and move them along the tube. This allows you to carry all the necessities and spread them around your middle.  I usually have my mobile phone, keys and purse around my back, and the things I need often, such as poop bags and my lip balm, at the front. Because the weight of my bits and pieces is spread evenly around my body, there’s no bounce.

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summitseekerIf you’ve browsed through our site at all, you may have already met Vanessa Runs. She wrote a great guest post on 5 Things My Dog Taught Me About Running. The Summit Seeker is her first book, but hopefully not the last!

In The Summit Seeker, Vanessa takes you on her journey from her very first 5k to her third 100 mile run. Along the way, you will share her struggles, as well as her triumphs. Most importantly, you will come to understand how running helped Vanessa to transform her life. Her writing style is very accessible and personable, and as you read it is almost like having a conversation with a friend. One of the best things about The Summit Seeker is the way that the author inspires you to keep pushing yourself to become empowered and to transform your own life.

The book reads more as a collection of essays, rather than a straight-on chronological narrative. While this may prove disconcerting to some readers, in my opinion it makes you feel closer to the author and her thought processes. In fact, the openness and honesty that comes across in her writing is very refreshing. It is also very personal as she shares the ways in which running helped her to overcome the pain from her upbringing, as well as enormous stress in her personal life. It is hard to imagine reading this book and not be left with an overwhelming urge to run.

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Sep
11

Product Review – the I-Knead

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If your dog is active, then it’s likely that his muscles ache just as much as yours after a tough running session, and he too would enjoy a rub down. Even in the canine couch potato, massage has its place. It can help him recuperate after surgery, and improve his mobility as he ages.

Massage doesn’t just make your dog feel good, it can reduce the amount of the stress hormone cortisol in his body, and increase the “feel-good” neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin.

The I-Knead will help you to effectively massage and relax your dog’s muscles.

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Jul
20

Book Review – Dieting with my Dog

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Dieting with my Dog is Peggy Frezon’s honest and heart-warming story of her journey from being overweight and unhealthy, to losing 20lbs and feeling great. She went from struggling to climb the internal stairs in her home to enjoying a hike in the countryside with her husband and her dog.

Speaking of her dog, Kelly, she too was carrying a few extra pounds around her middle that was cause for concern. By the end of the book, she had lost 15% of her body weight and was looking trim taut and terrific.

Written with a liberal dose of good humour and including colour photos of Peggy’s gorgeous family and the oh so pretty Kelly, this is a pleasant read. You’ll get to know Peggy and Kelly very well through the pages of this book. Peggy was up front about sharing the stern comments from her doctor and Kelly’s veterinarian about their love of food and curling up on the couch. Both dog and owner were heading down the slippery slope towards heart disease, arthritis and diabetes.

When Peggy’s much loved cousin actually had a heart attack, she realised that she and her cousin were very alike, and she too was at risk of lifestyle related illness. Peggy also recognised that her choices were affecting her dog in the same way. It wasn’t going to be easy to change her lifestyle to a healthier one but “maybe I could do it for Kelly,” she said.

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