Top 10 dog-friendly races and why you must participate

Research confirms that petting, playing with, or just watching animals can lower cortisol levels and increase serotonin production. In simple words, having a pet means less stress.

It’s not just mental health. Studies have found that pets give benefits to their owners’ cardiovascular system. Spending time with animals will normalize blood pressure and lower the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Animal therapy can have a positive influence on psychological wellbeing, helping with anxiety, depression and even autism, PTSD, or Alzheimers disease. At the end of the day, a pet can become a loyal best friend who will be there for you in the darkest hours of your life.

Jogging with your dog - Why should your dog run alongside you?

Among others, there is one activity that will benefit both you and your furry friend. Running, jogging, and walking with your dog are pastimes that are becoming trendy at a sharply rising rate in America. The major reason for such a boost in interest for dog-inclusive activities is an obsession with a healthy lifestyle. Many American organizations such as The American Cancer Society prove a huge role of dog-human relation in treatment and recovery after diseases. Owning a dog has a number of health benefits and doing something alongside your four-legged friend is a lot of fun for both of you. It appears that dog owners spend about 300 minutes walking per week on average, providing the benefit of being physically active in the fresh air. And you’ll never lack motivation - your pup won’t be gentle reminding you to take him out for a walk. The advanced version of that would be jogging with your dog, and here’s why you need to consider it.

Benefits for the two-legged

Running has considerable benefits for your health. It will improve your cardiovascular health, granting you a longer and happier life. Running will help you fight a sedentary lifestyle - a scourge of modern-day society that could result not only in obesity but also in anxiety or depression. It will give you a boost of self-confidence and will help to fight stress in your life. In the long shot, running can prevent one in twelve deaths as this study claims.

Benefits for the four-legged pal

Exercising is as crucial for your canine companion as it is for you. Staying fit will provide for stronger heart and lungs for dogs. It will help them spend their spare energy, as most breeds have a need to burn it down to stay healthy. Some studies show that under-stimulated dogs with lack of exercise are at risk of getting a number of anxieties. One of the major benefits is helping dogs evade arthritis. The Arthritis foundation claims that dogs get arthritis, too, and running with them will help their bones stay healthy much longer. If you have an adopted dog it would facilitate their adaptation to a new “pack” sooner. Don't start running with your dog until all growth plates are closed, generally around nine to twelve months of age. If in doubt, radiographs can be used to determine closure.

A list of the 10 best dog races in the U.S.

As the benefits from such an activity are clear, here is a list of upcoming events for you and your dog to participate together:

  1. In Dallas, TX there is an AIDS Walk Dallas (LifeWalk). A 5k “run or walk” event hosted by Dallas LGBT community takes place to raise awareness of the highest infection rate of AIDS/HIV in Texas. The event is family-friendly and kiddie pools will be set up along the way for the pets to splash in.
  2. Bone Bash - Jackson, TN takes place in October in Jackson TN. A 5k run organized by Arthritis foundation has a cause of informing about the issue of arthritis across the US and raises $30k for people who struggle from this kind of disease. Dogs can participate and they have a doggie costume contest with a trophy that is awarded in the West, TN markets.
  3. Bark In The Park 5k in St. Michaels, MD. In October, you can become a part of a dog-friendly run-walk race. Bring your beloved furry friend because, after all, there will be a dog parade. How cool is that?
  4. In May, you can take part in Furgo Dog Run - Fargo in North Dakota. It is a multiple-day racing event, and your dog can run with you for 1.5 miles. After finishing the race you will be awarded with a doggy goody bag, a finisher’s shirt and a medal, and your dog’s very own finisher’s award. Participation fees will be partially presented to the local homeless animal shelters and rescues.
  5. In February, a 5K Paw Walk in the San Diego Botanical Garden takes place at Encinitas, CA. It is a 5k walk with pet products and treats, food for people and some valuable information for dog lovers. Also, there will be a pet first-aid station.
  6. Paws for a Cause McKENZIE event happens every year in March at McKenzie, TN. A 5k walk or run is hosted by Carroll County Humane Society to raise awareness about their No-kill animal shelter. All registered participants receive a custom finishers medal and a T-shirt.
  7. Metrowest K9 5K at Hopkinton, MA traditionally is held in June. It is a 5k run/walk for raising money for the MVMA Charities working with stray animals. They provide emergency & disaster preparedness and response education for communities across Massachusetts. This event is for you and your dog. It is a day to run or walk alone or with your team and enjoy the many planned festivities. 5K Trail Walk/Run with your Dog is a timed race. Prizes: Male/Female Team Division (4 runners minimum, w/ at least 1 dog) And Dog Prizes, too!
  8. The YMCA of Catawba Valley's Annual Turkey Trot takes place in November in Hickory, NC. You can choose a 5k or a 10k run/walk race and certainly bring your dog. Top runners will get their awards and every dog-human runner will get their own giveaway item.
  9. Running Wild's WILD TURKEY TROT 5K benefiting Mizell Senior Center of Palm Springs happens in Palm Springs, CA in November. The distance is 5k and trophies are awarded to top 10 finishers, Top 3 Male, Female, Challenged Athletes, Strollers, and Dogs.
  10. Jingle Bell Runs start December 1st all over the country. Almost all of the running events are dog-friendly and are full of fun for you and your canine pal. Awards in a wide array of nominations are granted.

And here’s a huge database of all dog-friendly races in the United States.

Staying fit is not an easy task and requires everyday input. To ease this struggle everyone could use a good pal. Here is where your dog comes to the rescue becoming a loyal, eager and reliable partner. In addition, you will get a benefit that would improve the health and wellbeing of your dog. Even if, like me, you are no longer a "runner", you and your dog can enjoy walking together, even if that means taking along a stroller or wagon for your senior pet. After all, even though we may not deserve the love of our dog, we are trying our best to show them all our affection and gratitude.

Photo by kevin laminto on Unsplashv