Running is a great way to keep fit – it’s good for the heart, strengthens the joints and pumps the body full of feel good chemicals. Plus, it doesn’t cost anything. And the best bit? You can take your dog along – you won’t find a better running buddy.
Some general advice to bear in mind when running with your dog:
- Keep hydrated! If you’re going for a long run, it’s important for you and your dog to stay hydrated. These doggy water bottles are great for when you’re on the go.
- If you need to keep your dog on the lead while you’re running, consider using a harness to ensure comfort and make sure their breathing is not restricted.
- Surface: where possible, let your pooch run on grassier, softer surfaces, as hard ground such as tarmac can be harsh for doggy paws on long runs.
When it comes to exercising, we know the role that nutrition plays in performing to the best of our ability, reaping the benefits of a work out and avoiding injury. And if your pooch is your running buddy, their diet is just as important as yours.
Below, we’ve highlighted some key nutrients that are integral to a runner’s diet, alongside some comparative advice for your 4-legged running pal.
1. BCAAs (Branched Chain Amino Acids)
Amino acids are the building blocks of protein, making up the structure of new muscle tissue, which is integral to any fitness goal. They can’t be produced in the body, so must be sourced through your diet.
Where: Make sure your diet is rich in a variety of animal proteins, legumes, nuts / seeds, seafood, and whole grains. BCAA supplements are also available in both capsule and powder form. Mix the powder into your water bottle and take it along for your run; they can be taken pre, post and during exercise.
Where for your pooch: Ensure your Pooch’s main meal source is rich in the above – all our grain-free foods feature a single source protein. Slim & Slender includes pea protein, which is low GI and naturally high in BCAAs.
2. Omega 3
Why: Omega-3 fatty acids are essential to runners because they help with the dilation of blood vessels. They support cardiovascular and brain health, and have also been seen to reduce post run inflammation – which can reduce muscle pain and help tissue repair.
Where: Fish is an excellent dietary source of Omega-3, although some are higher in the fatty acid than others, including salmon and mackerel. Chia seeds, flaxseeds, egg yolks and pasteurised dairy products are also good sources of Omega-3. If you struggle to incorporate these foods into your diet, fish oil supplements are widely available in both liquid and capsule form online and in many health food stores.
Where for your pooch: Ideally, base your dogs main meal source on either a fish protein, or include additional sources of Omega-3. You can top their usual food with a sprinkle of flax/chia seeds, or even add a supplement such as Salmon Oil to your dogs meal to give them a boost.
3. Glucosamine, Chondroitin, MSM.
Why: Glucosamine, chondroitin and MSM are probably the best-known combined health supplement for joint health. Glucosamine is needed to form synovial fluid, which is the joint’s natural lubricant. It is also vital for cartilage metabolism and the renewal of connective tissue in and around the joints. Alongside these factors, glucosamine also provides the joints with the building blocks needed to manage damage caused by wear and tear and the natural ageing process. Chondroitin works alongside glucosamine, helping to draw fluid and nutrients into the joints. MSM aids the body in forming new muscle and joint tissue, while its anti inflammatory properties target swelling and stiffness.
Where: There are few food sources of glucosamine; crustaceans including crab, lobster and shrimp can provide trace amounts. Supplements combining glucosamine, chondroitin and MSM are said to be more effective than simply consuming one of the options by itself.
Where for your pooch: Pooch & Mutt’s Mobile Bones is a health supplement formulated especially for active dogs, or those suffering with joint and mobility problems. It contains 15 active ingredients to help promote joint comfort & mobility and aids the development of strong bones.
What to snack on around your running regime:
While having an occasional ‘naughty’ treat such as crisps or chocolate is perfectly acceptable, they shouldn’t be your daily go-to when it comes to snacking. There are plenty of tasty, healthy snacks to choose from in-between your runs to keep you energised and satisfied.
Greek yogurt is great for a protein hit. Top with blueberries and chia seeds for an antioxidant / Omega-3 boost.
For your pooch: Check out our recipe for homemade ice cream – made with healthy human ingredients that are dog friendly. You could also opt for a little bit of cheese. Try and choose an option that is low in fat such as cottage cheese, which is also high in protein.
For on the go energy, Perkier bars are a great option. Naturally low in fat and made with protein packed quinoa, they come in a selection of flavours. (Go for cacao and cashew if you’re craving a chocolate hit!)
For your pooch: Pooch & Mutt’s Tasty Turkey chew is a great ‘junk-free’ treat for your dog. At only 65 calories per chew, they are also free-from wheat, corn, soya, artificial colours, and flavourings.
Please note, it is always best to check with your GP before taking any health supplements.