More joggers are selecting a four-footed running buddy. The companionship and exercise make a great combination, but some safety tips are necessary to make these runs enjoyable for your dog.

Distance – Just as you probably didn’t start out running three miles at a time, your animal shouldn’t, either. Work the mileage up as your dog becomes accustomed to regular runs. And don’t forget that dogs don’t have air or gel soles. They run on their feet pads, which also need gradual conditioning.

Pace – Not every dog can keep up with a six-minute mile, so don’t drag your dog along or force him to run too fast. Unlike most humans, pets will literally kill themselves to please and will run despite pain or exhaustion just to be with you.

Body Types – Some dogs, just like some of us, are more suited for certain activities. Fat dogs should begin exercising moderately. Tiny dogs can’t keep up with long strides and a fast pace. Dogs with flat faces don’t have the capacity to breathe as well as dogs with longer noses.

Hot/Humid Weather – Take extra care when running in hot and humid conditions. Dogs cool off primarily through evaporation from their tongues, which is not as efficient as sweating. Give your dog plenty of water, even if you aren’t thirsty.

Last but not least, keep your dog on a leash so you won’t be doggone sorry.

Lakewood Love Run

The 4th Annual Lakewood Love Run is scheduled Saturday, May 9, beginning at 8:30 a.m. at First Interstate Bank – Lakewood, 6301 Gaston. Entrants have two choices: the 5K (3.1 mile) or the One Mile Pets and Their Parents Fun Run/Walk.

Races will be clocked, but results won’t be kept. Everyone – with or without a dog – is welcome to participate at his or her own pace.

The 5k overall first-place male and female (without a dog) contestants will receive a unique trophy, and in the One Mile run, the top three dogs with male and female runners will receive special awards.

Brad Davis of the Dallas Mavericks will lead the Celebrity Run, along with Dallas Cowboys past and present, and local media celebrities.

Also included in the festivities will be door prizes for pets and humans, a Precocious Pet Tricks Contest (auditions April 18 from 3-4 p.m. at West End MarketPlace and the morning of the Love Run), a Best Jog Dog Costume Contest, dog obedience demonstrations, a performance by the Promenade Pups (square-dancing dogs), SPCA adoptions and refreshments.

Entry fees are $10 if received by May 2, $12 if received May 3-8, and $15 on race day. Applications are available at First Interstate Bank, local vets, groomers and running stores. Proceeds benefit the SPCA of Texas. Call 651-9611 for information.

SPCA Calendar

April 11-12 – InCats Cat Show at Market Hall.

April 18 – Pet Trick Auditions at West End MarketPlace, 3-4 p.m.

April 19 – Easter at the Westin Hotel-Galleria with pet adoptions from noon to 3 p.m.

April 19 – Turtle Creek Pooch Parade.

April 25-26 – Deep Ellum ArtWalk with Pet Adoptions.

April 25-26 – Spring Break at the InfoMart, sponsored by WFAA-TV, featuring pet adoptions.

May 9 – Lakewood Love Run, First Interstate Bank, 6301 Gaston, beginning at 8:30 a.m.

May 15-17 – Dallas Corinthian Yacht Club Regatta on Lake Lewisville, with proceeds benefiting the SPCA.

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