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Hey race fans, keep you pup healthy with regular visits to your veterinarian, and remember to follow this pre 5k Checklist to ensure your furry family member is ready to participate in this legendary event. 

The Pet Experts want to share eight great steps to take before you sign up your pup to run a race. Here’s how to run a 5K with your dog:


1. Check with your vet.  It is always wise to consult with your vet before starting an exercise program with your dog. Some breeds struggle with breathing (bulldogs) and may do better with shorter, more frequent walks.

2. Size up your animal. Larger breeds with longer legs can walk or run longer than smaller dogs with shorter legs. Develop the length of the walk based on the size of the pup. Again, talk with your vet.

3. Start out slowly. Just like humans, you have to start with where they are fitness-wise, and progress very slowly to avoid injury or heat-related stress. This is especially true if your dog is a puppy, older, or overweight. Start with a slow walk of 5-10 minutes per day and add 5 minutes to the walk time no sooner than once per week.

4. Listen and watch for signs of fatigue. Watch your animal for signs of fatigue and adjust accordingly. Dogs are very loyal and will follow you for days if you let them. Listen to their breathing rate along the way, and if they are struggling for air or breathing loudly, slow your pace or walk it out to allow them to catch their breath. Be mindful of the heat and humidity and adjust the pace slower and bring water for you and the dog. Pay close attention to your dog’s footpads for signs of wear (excessive wear and cracking), and avoid hot surfaces and trails with sharp rocks.

5. B.Y.O.D.B. Provide cool water at the end of the walk for your pooch and bring water on longer walks and on warm days. Avoid hot and humid days. Dogs cool themselves by panting, and like humans, they struggle to stay cool on hot and humid days. If they can’t efficiently cool themselves by panting, they can develop heatstroke. Make sure to exercise at cooler times of the day (in the early morning and after dusk) and avoid extremely hot and humid days altogether.

6. Run and walk. For most breeds, especially smaller dogs, walking is the perfect activity, while others prefer to run-walk or run. It also depends on the dog itself. Consult with your vet, as some breeds are better at distance running than others, and most are made to run for short durations and walk (run, then walk repeatedly).

7. Bring a leash and let them do their thing. To keep you and your dog safe, make sure they are on a leash and have identification. If your pet isn’t microchipped, talk to your vet. This simple tool allows for easy identification if your pet should become lost. Give your dog a few minutes prior to starting each exercise session to mark their favorite tree or bush.

8. Warm up and Dlog it. Start each training session with a walking warmup beginning with an easy effort walking pace and progressively building to a brisk walk. Walk at an effort level (how you feel, your breathing rate) that is easy for the dog. Keep a Doggy Log, and track the distance, weather, energy level, and mood of your dog, and anything else that happens along the way.

Participating in a 5K with your pooch is fun; just make sure you tune into their needs. Research Doggy 5K walk and run training plans for even more tips!

If you’re looking for extraordinary pet care for your furry family member, look no further. The Pet Experts offer comprehensive veterinary care for dogs, cats, birds, reptiles, and pocket pets. Through the use of advanced veterinary medicine, state-of-the-art technology, and superior customer service, we are able to provide customized care to meet the unique needs of every pet.

From preventative care plans to advanced diagnostic services, you can count on our team to deliver the exceptional care your pet needs and deserves.


We accept walk-ins during our Doctor's Hours to meet your busy lifestyle. If you’d prefer to make an appointment, we offer those too! When our clinic is closed, you can utilize our After Hours Emergency Service, for that you must call 630-337-3070 to speak to the ER veterinarian before coming in.


New client specials include a FREE first exam, FREE microchip, half off grooming and first night FREE boarding. Call or stop in today!

Elmhurst Animal Care Center

850 S Riverside Dr.

Elmhurst, IL 60126


Naperville Animal Hospital

1023 E Ogden Ave.

Naperville, IL 60563


Springbrook Animal Care Center

2759 Forgue Dr.

Naperville, IL 60564


Wheaton Animal Hospital

266 Roosevelt Rd.

Glen Ellyn, IL 60137


Deerfield Animal Care Center

150 N. Waukegan Rd.

Deerfield, IL 60015


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