Many people have dog walkers, so their dogs can relieve themselves or get a little outside time when owners are hard at work. But now, there is a new trend that may leave dog walkers in the dust — dog runners. Instead of having a low-key walk, dog runners are taking dogs out for a run around the neighborhood, so the hyperactive dog can get some much needed exercise and work off some of that steam.
â€œMany people have come to understand that their dog needs more exercise than they can provide,â€ said Dr. Monica Clare, a critical care specialist at the Animal Surgical and Emergency Center in Los Angeles. â€œDog walking is fine, but some dogs need more exercise. Dog runners provide it.â€
Seth Chodosh, a founder of Running Paws in Manhattan, has 150 dog-running clients a week, and his business is increasing 20 percent a year. â€œSome people call us because their dog is overweight and needs to lose pounds,â€ Mr. Chodosh said. â€œOthersâ€™ dogs are too hyper and need to run off excess energy.â€
Dog running companies typically charge $28 to $40 for a 30-45 minute run, while free lance dog runners usually charge a little less. Many dog runners are marathoners.
More on dog runners after the jump.
Many clients of dog runners say that their dog comes back healthier, happier and they seem more stimulated and don’t tear up the house as much when they have that physical workout.
There are potential problems with dog running and vets advise to have your dog examined before you start your dog on a regular workout.
Dr. Clare, a veterinarian in Los Angeles, said, â€œBig stupid young dogs â€” Labs, Dalmatians, goldens â€” can never get enough exercise, but dog runners arenâ€™t for every dog.â€ English bulldogs, for example, arenâ€™t built to run much, she said.
In addition, she warned, â€œDogs with orthopedic problems or airway diseases called laryngeal paralysis â€” the airway doesnâ€™t open adequately â€” can be harmed if they are run too much.â€
Before hiring a dog runner, Dr. Clare says, pet owners should have dogs examined by a vet, who should check for bad knees, bad backs, bad hips and breathing problems. â€œDogs with these problems shouldnâ€™t be run,â€ she said. â€œHard running can exacerbate them.â€
Running Paws say that they check dogs’ paws before, during and after a run to make sure they are not overheating. Runners also carry water for the dogs and they start out slow to ease dogs into the routine.
Some runners say that dog running is challenging especially when dogs go after bikes because “youâ€™re running through the park and a hundred-pound Lab takes off in one direction and a bull mastiff in another.â€