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.
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.
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:
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.