What’s more fun than a 5K? A 5K with dogs, that’s what. When planning a dog-friendly 5K, there are some extra steps involved, but remember, ultimately the goal is for everyone, whether they run on two or four legs, to have fun. National Pet Week is May 7th-13th, so here are a few reminders to consider for your dog-friendly 5K event planning.


Aggressive dogs are always a concern for pet lovers who are enjoying a fun and pet-friendly event. It is important for the safety of all participants that every dog is well behaved and people friendly. Races are often crowded and stressful events, so all dog owners participating in the race should know their dog well enough to tell if they are starting to get irritable. Any such dogs should be removed from the race to ensure the safety of the other dogs and runners. All dogs should absolutely be kept on a tight leash. Retractable leashes are not allowed at dog-friendly 5K races due to the risk it causes to other runners. Short leashes that provide the owner with great control should be used at all pet-friendly events. Finally, be sure that all dogs are up-to-date on their vaccines.

Doggie First Aid

First Aid is essential in all 5K event planning and dog-related runs are no exception. Everything that would be provided for humans should also be provided for dogs. Make sure that there is plenty of water for both species on the course and at after-race events. All dogs should be registered with their owner and given a bib that includes the name and cell phone number of the owner. Dogs can get overheated, physically-stressed, or injured on a run and all staff should be made aware of these signs so that they can remove the pets from the race and assist them as quickly as possible. Remember to provide the location of the nearest veterinary hospital for any dog injuries that may require greater attention.


Nature calls. Expect dogs to have to do their business along the race and, typically, it is the responsibility of the owner to pick up. Poop bags should be included in the dog’s pickup packet at the beginning of the race along with instructions on how to properly dispose of the bags. Be sure to place trash cans along the way for runners to drop off their bags and pick up new bags if necessary, making sure that participants are be responsible and picking up after their furry friends.

Truly “Dog Friendly”

Lastly, when doing 5K event planning, always consider who the event’s audience is. Dog-friendly races should have a variety of accommodations for both human and dog participants. The race should be walk friendly since many dogs or, if we’re being honest, humans, may get tired and not be able to run the entire event. Additionally, all water stations should include water for both runners and their dogs. Post-race celebration events are a chance for all participants to relax, have fun, and engage with fellow competitors, furry or otherwise. Put some time and effort into providing food and drink that not only help everyone refuel, but are specific to your event. Can you say, puppy chow? Be sure to provide prizes for both runners and dogs, including medals for both runners and their dogs as well as toys and goodie bags for all competitors to take home. As always, sponsors are key to every event and should be both relevant and engaging for all who attend. When thinking of sponsors, remember that there are plenty of fun pet-related businesses to provide dogs with some special treats.

Dog-friendly 5K’s have the potential to be both extremely fun and popular. They’re a break from the norm and allow people to come together around something everyone loves, adorable pups. Whether you’re more of a pug or a husky kind of person, keep these tips in mind and you’re sure to have a successful, dog-friendly 5K.

To learn more about how ChronoTrack can help you in race day management, contact us!