Pitter Pattering Paws for your Pooch!

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Photo courtesy of pexels.com.

Why Taking your Dog Out for Exercise is Important
Ever heard the expression “if your dog isn't tired at night then they didn't get enough exercise that day”? It is crucial to a pooch’s health that they get the right amount of exercise. Similar to humans, exercise allows canines to stay healthy both physically and mentally. It’s important to get their heart rates going and their muscles moving. Enough exercise will ensure the chances of your companion living a long, happy, and healthy life.

No matter the size of your furry friend, all dogs need exercise. If your dog does not get the physical activity it needs, it can become overweight and develop other health issues. Almost 50 per cent of dogs are not their ideal weight. When your dog is overweight, they can lose some of their stamina, have difficulty dealing with the heat in warm weather and will have a hard time working off the excess pounds. So, let’s not give them the opportunity to find themselves in this position.

Photo courtesy of pexels.com

Photo courtesy of pexels.com

Even if you do take your dog out for a walk around the block every day, you may need to consider their breed. For example, many breeds are built for sport and other physical activities like hunting. Retrievers enjoy hunting and chasing their prey. Hounds, such as Greyhounds, love to run and should have time throughout the week to do so. All dogs have a great sense of smell. In particular, Bloodhounds have especially powerful snouts that can track scents from far away places. If your dog is limited to the space in your backyard, they are unable to track down those crazy smells. For generations these breeds have been built to run and explore. Think about their cousins, the wolf and the coyote! These wild animals roam, free to travel long distances and chase anything they please. Chances are there is something in your dog’s DNA that pushes them to have that same desire. Dogs are born to be active and they deserve the opportunity to stretch their legs.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

Behavioural issues can take place when a dog is not provided with enough exercise or enough time outdoors. If your pooch does not get enough attention and activity, they may start to feel neglected and can act out. This means your house and belongings are at risk of being damaged when you are not looking. It also means they have the potential to lash out at you or others aggressively in order to express their frustration. Your dog could potentially become a threat to other canines at dog parks. Sometimes these incidences can lead to the dog being put down when it’s not even their fault.

It’s easy to get caught up in your own life. A busy day at the office can really tire you out! But consider the fact that you took on the responsibility of an animal when you became a dog owner. It is your duty to make sure they are active, even if that means pushing your body to the limits to take your dog out for a walk after a long day. And hey, some exercise will do your body good as well!

Here are some locations in the Ottawa, ON., area that you and your dog can check out for some well-needed (and deserved) exercise:

  1. Bruce Pit - This off-leash dog park is a large forest full of places your dog can explore and sniff. The park is a 3.2 kilometer loop trail that is usually busy on the weekend. Frequent visitors recommend to go early in the day to avoid traffic.

  2. Conroy Pit - This park is fenced in with lots of grass, sand, and wooded areas where you can let your canine friend off-leash. The beautiful tree-lined trail makes this park a great spot to go for a run with your dog in the fall when the leaves are full of colour!

  3. Sugarbush Trail - Sugarbush is a 1.8 kilometer winter friendly trail and is accessible all year round. In the winter you can find people snowshoeing throughout the trail.

  4. Lauriault Trail - Another year-round 3.9 kilometer trail that encourages hiking and other outdoor activities. You can also get a great view of the King Estate in the background. The trail is located near Old Chelsea, QC.

  5. McNabb Park - Located in downtown Ottawa, this park has weekly off-leash hours and a dog pool! Its easy access location makes it available for everyone.

Remember, exercise will increase your dog’s mental health: an active pooch is a happy pooch!

Photo courtesy of pexels.com.

Photo courtesy of pexels.com.


Holly Williams

Holly Williams is a small town girl jumping into the big city life. She recently graduated the Honours Program at Trent University with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Cultural Studies and English Literature. Reading and writing have always been activities she has been passionate about, along with photography and exploring. She likes to think if a book doesn't light a spark in your soul then it wasn't a 10/10. Her happy place is sitting on the porch on a crisp fall day, spending time with people she loves, with a hot cup of tea in her hands.

Why BSL is Just Plain BS

Instead of blanket breed legislation, dogs should be treated as individual animals and their humans educated and held to a higher standard of accountability.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com

In 2005, the Ontario government passed an amendment to the Dog Owners Liability Act to ban all pit bull-type dogs. Any residing in the province at the time were grandfathered and allowed to stay so long as they were spayed or neutered and muzzled in public at all times. Many law makers believe that banning specific breeds deemed more dangerous than others reduces dog bites and attacks; several regions around the world have similar bans to Ontario’s, including many cities and counties in the United States and the entirety of the United Kingdom. Other than Ontario, Winnipeg is one of the only regions outside the province to have a full ban in effect.

But are these bans actually helping? Well, considering blanket legislation of any type isn’t typically the best approach, the answer shouldn’t come as a surprise: Nope. They’re really not. The stats are in and they appear to confirm what many dog activists have argued for years: BSL just doesn’t work. Harsher penalties for irresponsible ownership, education, and community collaboration is what does. We’ve listed five reasons why BSL is just plain BS, and why there are much better options out there.

1.  It’s been applied in several areas and has not reduced the number of overall dog bites.

In Toronto, dog bites have actually been rising since 2013—with the highest levels of the century in 2014 and 2015—despite the fact that pit bulls are theoretically almost non-existent in the city. Furthermore, in both 2004 and 2014, German Shepherds took first place for the highest instances of dog bites. Although an increase in overall bites may be related to an increase in dog populations in general, BSL has certainly done nothing to improve these rates and points to the more likely culprit: bad ownership. Which leads into reason # 2…

2.  In regions where education and dog owners being held to a higher standard of responsibility has been the approach instead of BSL, dog bites have been reduced overall.

In Calgary, the city has enacted the Responsible Pet Ownership Law, which focuses not on banning a specific type of breed but instead puts the onus on owners to take responsibility for their pets and behaviours. Here, the legislation focuses on licencing, spay/neuter programs, getting pets from ethical and reputable sources, and education, including free or subsidized obedience and training classes. And the numbers don’t lie: “aggressive dog instances” went from over 2,000 in 1985 to 641 (242 of them bites) in 2014 (Calgary began moving toward responsible ownership laws in 2000).

3. “Pit bull-type dogs” is a blanket term for several similar breeds, and identification criteria is vague at best, often resulting in breed misidentification.

The dogs included in the Ontario ban are American Staffordshire terriers, Staffordshire bull terriers and American pit bull terriers. However, breed identification is typically left to the discretion of animal control officers or shelter staff and is often inconsistent. In one study by The Veterinary Journal, shelter staff identified 52% of breeds as pit bull-type when DNA testing revealed that only 21% actually were. And in Montreal, where a pit bull ban was briefly in place in late 2016 after a woman was mauled to death in her backyard, the dog in question was later revealed to more likely be a boxer, and not a pit bull as previously identified.

4.  Banning breeds results in needless death.

The Ontario Veterinary association estimates that up to 1,000 dogs and puppies have been needless euthanized in the province since 2005. The majority of these dogs were not killed because of their actions and behaviour, but simply for being born the wrong breed. It is rare that rescue dogs can’t be rehabilitated, and the fact that so many are killed without cause is nothing short of tragic.

5.  “Bully” breeds typically score quite high on behavioural tests compared to other breeds and many dogs that are rescued from fighting situations can be rehabilitated.

Photo courtesy of pexels.com

Photo courtesy of pexels.com

According to the American Temperament Test Society, American pit bull terriers scored 87.4%, American Staffordshire terriers scored 85.5%, and Staffordshire bull terriers scored 90.9% respectively on behavioural tests. This is better than 120+ dogs breeds, including golden retrievers and other popular family breeds. In fact, before they started getting such a bad rap, pit bulls were America’s sweetheart family dog, often used as “Nannies” for children. And all it takes is one look at the Michael Vick dogs, who were rescued from a horrible fighting situation, to see how these these animals are so often able to bounce back, thrive, and bring comfort to others.

Ultimately, the history shows that BSL is a knee-jerk reaction by law makers that seeks to put a bandage over a much larger problem. And it’s past time pit bulls stop getting the bad end of the deal when it comes to our inability to look at the bigger picture.


Sara Grainger is a graduate of both Nipissing and Ryerson Universities. Since completing two post-secondary programs apparently wasn’t enough for her, she is also currently in the second year of the Professional Writing Program at Algonquin. When not making every attempt to avoid the 9-5 lifestyle, she can be found singing, writing, binge watching any genre of television you can think of (as long as it’s worthwhile) and pretending to be good at video games. She is also passionate about animal welfare and loves spending time with her Chihuahua mix Tula and cat Oki.

Sharing is Most Definitely Caring

Exploring the ways we can treat our fellow species ethically in a rapidly changing world, we animal lovers are here to share some of the insights we’ve discovered. We believe that every animal’s life has intrinsic value, whether they live within our homes or without. All creatures face challenges in this world, many of which are the result of human interference, and we have a responsibility to all of them—not just the ones we call family. From tips to bringing home a rescue to the effects of pollution on sea turtles, this blog is for everyone who wants to know more about caring for our furry, feathered and scaly friends.