This month Vital Pet Health will be joining in with the Olympic mood and investigate sports that our pets can get involved with in order to keep them fit and healthy. This week the focus is on the increasingly popular sport of CaniX.
CaniX, means running with your dog. If you already go running with your dog then you are already participating in the sport of canine cross-country.
The events organised throughout the UK are designed to engage with all breeds, ages and fitness levels of both dogs and owners. The sport is focused on participation above all else.
Previous events have included vision impaired entrants running with a human guide, hearing impaired entrants running with their Hearing Dogs, people who have had a triple heart by pass, 10km/ marathon/ ultra-endurance athletes, to kids, have-a-goes and those that just love to do things with their dogs
To get started with CaniX you will not need specialist equipment. Entrants can start their first event by running with their dog on a collar and lead, the only thing that you might want to practice is your own ability to keep up.
Experienced CaniX competitors may choose to harness their dog’s pulling power and chase instinct with a dog running harness, waist belt and CaniX line. This approach offers more comfort for you and your dog, giving much needed assistance up those steep hills!
Dogs soon learn the difference between their collar and their running harness – understanding that they can pull with one and not the other. The running harness directs all the pulling power to the dog’s chest and shoulders away from the neck. The feel is totally different to the collar and significantly more comfortable.
CaniX is a brilliant way to get out in the fresh air and spend quality time with your dog. You and your canine chum can enjoy the peace and tranquillity of your surroundings and get in shape at the same time with an invigorating workout.
The benfits of CaniX:
- maintains a healthy lifestyle for you and your dogs.
- strengthens the bond between you and your dogs.
- can be enjoyed by all ages, male or female.
- is a versatile sport that can be practiced anywhere.
The first couple of events may be a taster for you and your dog. Regardless of fitness levels there is a race that you can get involved with. Enter the 2.5km Have-a-go class and when you feel comfortable try the 5km. Everyone at the event is primarily a dog lover, the race is secondary, so you will be in good company.
If your dog is unfit, go at their pace, give them lots of breaks, plenty to drink and gradually increase your distance and speed. If you don’t carry water, ensure your route will take you past water (natural springs, streams, rivers or lakes).
Just a few points to consider before taking the plunge. If your dog is under the age of one then you must consult your vet before excessive exercise. Young dogs are still developing at that age and excessive exercise can disrupt their growth patterns.
Training when it’s hot. Never underestimate the heat. Heat exhaustion can kill, and it will kill your dog before it kills you. Your dog will run until it drops whereas you will stop before then. Be responsible – always put your dog first. Forest trails benefit from the shade of trees and running in the morning or evening will avoid the heat of the mid-day. Keep an eye on your dog in the minutes after the run, until they have fully recovered and returned to normal breathing.
Consider the surface you are running your dog on – dogs do not have the benefit of hi-tech trainers and could develop impact injuries if running on hard ground such as tarmac. Tarmac is also very abrasive and could wear away your dogs pads. For your dog, grass and dirt trails are the best, followed by sand, wood chip and crushed gravel.
Remember, your dog will not complain. Even if injured and in pain, they will be more than happy to join you for a run.
For more information on the latest events and ways to get involved with CanniX visit www.cani-cross.co.uk.