Dog ownership rose exponentially in 2020 as people were home more and looking for ways to create joy. Many homeowners become pet parents shortly after finding a home of their own. Fortunately, Peterborough has lots of outdoor spaces where both you and your pooch can get some exercise.
First – why is it important to exercise your dog?
Well, the days of hunting, chasing and being chased are over. Your dog doesn’t have to find their own dinner anymore, or run and hide from larger predators. Result: Big, fat, unhealthy dog who sits in the front of the TV as much as you do. A healthy lifestyle can and should be pursued by both dog and dog owner.
While the benefits of a healthy lifestyle for people are well-known, fitter pets also reap rewards. Dogs that get regular exercise are more relaxed, generally better behaved and have fewer problems with chewing and barking.
And just like people, dogs that stay in shape and eat right have healthier hearts, more efficient respiratory systems, stronger muscles and bones, and often live longer than more sedentary pets.
A healthier pet benefits you too. How? Dogs can be a motivating force in your workout life by holding you accountable to your fitness goals. When people and their dogs exercise and diet together, both lose weight and keep it off.
In addition, having a canine buddy added variety and helped reduce the hum drum of a standard fitness routine. People who exercise with their dogs find it rewarding, motivating and it’s an opportunity to bond with their dog.
Where to take a dog to exercise in Peterborough
As a Realtor®, I often get asked “Where in Peterborough can I take my dog?”. Fortunately, there are lots of options such as the Off-Leash Dog Park, the Rotary Greenway Trail, Fleming College Trails, and the many parks throughout the City of Peterborough.
Of course, making sure you and your pooch are exercising safely is paramount. Here are some tips:
- Beware the weekend warrior syndrome. Make sure both you and your dog are in shape before undertaking any vigorous activities since excessive exercise in occasional bursts can lead to serious injuries for both of you.
- Always bring a collapsible dog bowl and a supply of drinking water.
- If you take your dog running, keep an eye out for signs of heat exhaustion, such as excessive panting, salivation, vomiting or staggering. Sometimes a dog will simply sit down and refuse to go any farther.
- Watch the weather. Taking your dog out for a workout on a hot or humid day could lead to heat stroke.
- If your dog gets severely overheated, immediately carry it to a shady spot, allow it to drink small amounts of water and hose it down if possible. Consult a veterinarian.
- Periodically check your dog’s feet for cuts, thorns or cracked pads. Some surfaces, such as hot pavement, sharp gravel or ice, can cause painful damage to your dog’s paws. Before you head out, ask yourself whether you would want to run barefoot on the same surface.
- Keep pets licensed and on a leash, and remember to scoop the poop.
- Don’t take your dog for a run or workout right after it’s eaten or your pet could suffer cramps and vomiting.
- Never exercise your pet while driving a car with your dog outside on a leash, or while you’re riding a bicycle, skateboarding or roller blading.
- Respect others who are using the public space – not every dog or person is friendly towards other dogs. Obey leash and licensing rules in the area to avoid any incidents.
As with any exercise program, you and your dog should be checked out by a doctor/veterinarian before beginning. Your dog must start out gradually, just as you did at the beginning of your fitness journey. Start out by walking around the block and add a block each day to work up to the optimal distance.
Keep your dog’s size and breed in mind when deciding what exercise to pursue. Very small dogs aren’t good jogging partners, and dogs with pushed up noses (Pekingese, bulldogs, pugs, mastiffs) often have breathing problems, so very strenuous workouts can be dangerous.
Having a dog is a great excuse to get out and exercise while exploring all the parks and trails that Peterborough has to offer.