Irish Setter Participating as Sponsor for Walk to End AlzheimersPet walks and runs are a relatively recent addition to charity fundraising events, and are growing in popularity across the country. Besides providing animal charities with much needed funds, a charity pet walk is a wonderful way to bond with your pet, enjoy the outdoors, and socialize with other animal lovers in your community.

Here at AIMSS, we couldn’t be more supportive of the idea of a charity pet walk or race, but before you and your pup hit the streets, make sure you’ve covered all your bases!

Before You Go

It’s important that your pet is healthy enough to embark on a long walk or run, so make sure to schedule an appointment with your family veterinarian prior to the big day. Even if your four-legged friend appears healthy and strong, he or she could benefit from a wellness exam to address the following:

  • Overall fitness – Your pet’s overall health will be assessed to ensure that he or she can physically handle the demands of a longer walk or run.
  • Underlying medical issues – Your veterinarian will make sure that your pet is free of any health concerns that could impact his or her ability to participate in the race.
  • Preventives – Your pet should be up-to-date on all vaccines and parasite preventives before interacting with other animals.

Training Basics

You wouldn’t drag your couch potato spouse out for a 5K with no training, so don’t do the same to your dog! Even young, healthy pets need to build up to extended walks or runs, so take time in the weeks or months leading up to the race to slowly increase your dog’s tolerance for physical exercise.

Besides being physically fit, your pup needs to have a good handle on basic obedience commands and leash training in order to safely participate in a charity pet walk. If you have any concerns about your pet’s ability to follow your commands, or his or her leash skills, sign your pet up for an obedience class and reinforce the training at home.

Charity Pet Walk Pro Tips

Keep the following tips in mind for your pet’s safety and comfort during the walk or race:

  • Pack plenty of water and a collapsible or plastic bowl
  • Avoid retractable leashes, as they can increase the risk of accidents
  • Bring along your stash of biodegradable dog waste bags, and make sure to pick up after your dog
  • Pay close attention to your pet at all times to ensure that he or she is staying safe
  • Always ask permission from another pet owner before allowing your pet to greet a strange animal

Last but not least, keep a close eye on your pet’s physical condition during the race. If you observe signs of exhaustion or injury (such as excessive panting, salivating, disorientation, limping, or other signs of distress), take a break and get help for your pet if symptoms do not diminish with rest.

As always, if you have any questions or concerns, give us a call!