Your biggest fan can now become your race buddy thanks to the growing trend of triathlons for dogs.
Perfect for pets with boundless energy, these races first started seven years ago with the pan-European Iron Dog competition. Now, dog and human endurance tests are popping up in Germany, the Czech Republic and the U.K., which is hosting its first dog triathlon, The Tridog, next year, reports Bloomberg.
Like humans, dogs need to train consistently and safely to conquer the run, swim and dry-land mushing portion of the race. This requires owners to acquaint their dog with distance swimming and being attached to a scooter by a bungee cord for the dry-land mushing portion, which takes the place of biking.
The course is often shortened to prevent dogs from overheating, but it is still important to know your own dog’s limits. Not all pups are meant to run triathlons.
Fitness apps like Strava are creating dog sections to facilitate this new sporting trend and help owners keep their dogs healthy. For the canines who enjoy the competition, there are great health benefits. Running dog triathlons can keep pups from becoming obese and can create positive behavioral changes in dogs with separation anxiety.
Overall, veterinarians approve of dog triathlons, as long as your dog is in the right physical condition to compete, since the activity keeps canines moving and serves as a great way for owners and pets to connect.