7 Health Benefits of Dog Ownership



7 Health Benefits of Dog Ownership

If you’re a dog owner, you constantly experience the loving nature of these canine wonders first hand. Dogs are naturally affectionate and loyal creatures that have served as companions to mankind for centuries.

Having a dog in the home, especially if you live alone, will boost your emotional well-being. In fact, having a canine companion increases your sense of security and safety.

Dogs also help you learn how to be responsible – as you take care of them and cater to their needs you’re also developing your accountability and reliability as a person.

It’s also known that having a dog contributes significantly to your physical and mental health. This article focuses on the health benefits of dog ownership. Keep reading to know more.

Benefits of Owning a Dog

These are some of the significant advantages associated with dog ownership:

1. Improved Heart Health

Improved cardiovascular health is another benefit of having a canine companion. A good number of studies have proven this.

Heart rate and blood pressure are normalized when you’re interacting with your dog. With this knowledge, perhaps dogs should be adopted as a medical solution for patients with coronary conditions and high BP.

In fact, scientists at the American Heart Association said that dog owners have a 24% reduction of all-cause mortality.

2. Dogs improve mental health 

Thanks to the affectionate nature of dogs, dog owners are exposed to a lot of love from these canine wonders. In fact, having a dog at home reduces your risk of developing depression; people who have also been diagnosed with the condition are positively affected by having canine friends at home.

In the process of catering to your dog’s needs, you’re more exposed to the outdoors where you get to meet other people, and possibly their pets – this way, you have more acquaintances and your life is more active.

Summarily, interacting with your dog daily has positive effects on your mood. The affection shown towards you by your dog improves your happiness and fights loneliness in your life.

So if you are looking for dog ownership benefits, what’s better than having a happier life in general.

Puppy love brings many benefits to dog owners
Cuddling your dog boosts endorphin levels making you feel happier.

3. Dog owners are less prone to sickness

Studies have shown that having a dog at home generally reduces the number of times that you fall sick. How is this possible? Here’s an explanation: the idea behind this effect of having a canine wonder at home lies in the presence of germs.

Lots of people deploy various machines and chemicals to clean their home and effectively rid their house of germs. Because of this reduction in the germ level at home, the human body is rid of most types of germs. This absence of enough germ diversity in the body makes us fall ill more often.

This is where dogs come in. Dogs carry various types of germs on them. This biodiversity in dogs introduces all the needed germs within the house. This then leads to the needed biodiversity within humans in the home, and they won’t fall sick often.

In fact, a study conducted on dog ownership by the Scientific Journal Pediatrics revealed that babies who grow up in homes with a pet (dog or cat) are less likely to fall ill as compared to babies who live in pet-free homes.

Dog owners experience less sickness
Dogs not only bring their owners immense joy, they also make you less prone to sickness

4. Dogs promote resistance to allergies

Another health benefit of having dogs at home is improved resistance to allergies. You might be wondering how this is possible since pet hairs are known to kick-start allergies in humans.

The idea here is that kids born into a home with dogs are likely to develop resistance to allergies. Assuming that a woman is with child, and she has a dog living in the same house, the child is born with a resistance to allergies.

This is because bacteria are mutually transferred between the dog and the pregnant woman. Checking the child’s body system will likely reveal the presence of allergy-curbing Ruminococcus and Oscillospira.

Dogs reduce childhood allergies
Growing up in a pet owning household means you are less likely to suffer from allergies.

5. Dogs facilitate an active social life

Dog ownership can also improve your social life. If you take your dog out on a walk, light jog, or some exercise at the park, you’re likely going to meet and interact with other people – both dog owners and non-dog owners.

You might just notice people coming over to pet your dog and admire its adorable looks. As this happens, you also get the chance to start up conversations with new people and expand your social circle.

If you own a dog, you won’t just leave it in the house all week. Instead, you would have some scheduled time each week to exercise your dog outdoors. The advantage here is that while exercising your dog, you also get some additional minutes to exercise your own body.

6. Dogs encourage you to exercise

With dog ownership, you will participate more frequently in activities such as walking, hiking, low pace jogs, treasure hunts, fetching games and many more. As you engage in these exercises with your dog, your physical and mental health will be improved.

Dogs encourage exercise
Owning an active dog is an excellent motivator for daily exercise.

7. Dogs have been known to detect cancer

Lastly, cancer detection is also a benefit associated with having dogs at home. It has been discovered that these canine wonders can detect cancer in people.

Studies have shown that dogs have a keen sense of smell that detects the presence of cancer, such as colon, prostate, breast, and even skin cancer.

Bio
Pete Decker is the lead editor at TheGoodyPet.com. For the past 20 years, Pete has been working professionally with dogs, and he has spent time volunteering in animal shelters across the USA and around the world. Now, Pete dedicates his time towards TheGoodyPet, a pet educational website made by pet lovers for pet lovers.

You can find more from Pete on his website or by following TheGoodyPet on Twitter or Facebook.

Track your dog’s adventures with your free WAGSTA walkies, weight and wellness tracker. Join the pack and start saving your dogventures today!

 

Dog Friendly Restaurants, Pubs & Cafés




Dog Friendly Places: How the World is Embracing the Dog

Pet ownership has been rising for decades. But now more than ever, pet parents are integrating their pets into their everyday life. They are our furry children after all. Businesses are getting smart to the fact that people want to take their pets with them and dog friendly restaurants, cafes, pubs, hotel chains, cruises and resorts are popping up all over the world. It’s easier now than it ever was to hang out with your pet. 

Dog Friendly Restaurants

France has been dog friendly for decades. Take a stroll through Paris and you’ll see large dogs napping discreetly beneath tables or a poodle with its own seat in a restaurant. The French are much more lenient about allowing dogs in restaurants.

In Switzerland and the Netherlands you can assume your dog is welcome at restaurants unless there’s a sign telling you otherwise. In Poland, Sweden, Luxembourg, the U.K. and other European countries you’ll find a smattering of dog friendly restaurants, where dogs are allowed inside.  

Elsewhere in the world, rules have relaxed enough to allow dogs at the outdoor tables of a restaurant, on patios and beer gardens.

Know some great dog friendly restaurants and cafes in your city? Share your recommendations with other dog owners using WAGSTA

Table Manners: 7 Tips For Dining at a Dog Friendly Restaurant

  1. Keep your dog on a short leash. Other guests won’t want a dog nose sniffing around their plate and servers need to be able to rush through the restaurant with plates of food without being tripped up by your dog. Your dog should lie quietly beneath your table, or in your lap, out of the way.
  2. Well-behaved dogs only. If your dog is unsociable, leave him at home. Children and guests will want to pet him and there might be other dogs present. A restaurant is no place for growling or nipping. Socialize your dog in a more forgiving environment before you introduce him to the dog friendly dining scene. Dogs should obey the voice commands “sit,” “down” or “stay” on cue in high distraction areas.
  3. Barking dogs should leave. Some dogs are uncomfortable in bustling environments, especially when guests or servers rush by. If your dog starts barking, he’s probably stressed. Have your meal boxed so you and your dog can leave. It’s the right thing to do for your dog.
  4. Bring water and a collapsible bowl. Most dog friendly restaurants will have a dog water bowl out the front. If they don’t, give your dog a drink of water before you go in. If you’re at an outdoor table, you can place the bowl under the table where it won’t be walked on by guests or knocked over.
  5. Choose a quiet table. Not all guests like dogs and some are afraid of them. Be considerate. Choose a table away from high traffic areas in a quiet corner or outdoors. Your dog will be able to relax more and is less likely to be stepped on.

  6. Keep your dog occupied. If your dog isn’t likely to sit quietly for an hour around food, noise and lots of people, bring a chew toy and some chew treats to keep him occupied. If he’s too distracted to chew these, he is probably nervous. Box your food and leave.
  7. Take poop bags.  Don’t humiliate yourself by not being prepared if your dog poops in front of a restaurant full of people.

Dog Friendly Pubs

There are hundreds of dog friendly pubs across the UK, and many of them within prime dog walking country. Enjoy a magical ramble through the countryside with your best friend, and relax afterwards by a cozy fire over some refreshments at a charming local pub. Pictured is the Black Bull Inn, Frosterley. You can work up an appetite on a Pennines ramble before dropping in here for lunch and a beer with your dog at your feet.

There are websites with databases and maps dedicated to helping you locate dog friendly pubs in your area of choice.
Many of these pubs are located near dog friendly accommodation, too.

Dog friendly pubs
The Black Bull Inn, Frosterley

Dog Friendly Cafes

Dog friendly cafés are a growing trend. With many cafés welcoming dogs in their alfresco seating areas. What better way to start the weekend than taking a morning stroll with your dog to the local café. Chances are you will be in similar company!

Taking this dog-friendly theme one step further, the ‘Dog Café’ creates a café scene entirely dedicated to dogs!

The Dog Cafe

It all started with the Cat Café craze, but dogs are now in on the act with Dog Cafés springing up in major cities around the world. The Dog Café is a place where you can enjoy your coffee and cake with some canine company. Sometimes the dogs are provided, sometimes you are able to bring your own.

The United Kingdom

Newcastle has the Dog and Scone where resident dogs hang out with patrons in a garden-themed setting with a comfort-food menu & coffee.

At Manchester’s Beach Dog Café, playtime with dogs is offered in the adjoining play area. You can also adopt a dog to take home with you.

The Pug Café in London organizes pop up events all over England dedicated to dogs for dogs. Originally focused on pugs, the Pug Café now organizes pop up cafes for Dachshunds, Frenchies and Pomeranians. These events are designed to create a safe space for your pooch to meet fellow pups. Humans are welcome, even if you don’t have your own dog. The menu offers dog treats and pupuccinos. Humans can enjoy coffee and cake, too.

Dog friendly cafes
Noodle, a resident dog at the Dog and Scone café, Newcastle.

Japan

In Tokyo, Dog Cafés are dedicated to particular breeds. The Mame Shiba Café, for example, is dedicated to the Mame Shiba Inu,  a smaller version of Japan’s popular Shiba Inu dogs. Tatami flooring and low dining tables create a homely traditional vibe. The entry fee covers entrance, a drink and 30 minutes with the pooches. Arrive early to avoid long queues. 

The United States

America’s first dog café opened in New York City’s East Village in October 2017. Boris & Horton was created for New Yorkers who wish to enjoy a meal and coffee alongside their dogs. They also host adoption evens but unlike the city’s cat cafes, the dogs don’t live there. The menu is all vegetarian with vegan and gluten free options.

Dog friendly cafes
Boris and Horton, New York City.

The Dog Café in Los Angeles is a different concept. Here you can catch up with friends over a latte while snuggling the resident lap dogs. If you fall in love with one, you can adopt him because all dogs at the Dog Café are rescues looking for their forever home.

Australia

Cafe Bones in Sydney is an outdoor cafe in a dog park offering cafe bites, coffee, plus pet-friendly snacks & drinks.

Doghouse in Melbourne offers a fairly extensive menu of full meals and snacks for dogs and a rather more limited menu and coffee for humans.

pet friendly cafes
The Pug Cafe, a pop up dog cafe in the UK.

Dog Friendly Vacations

Some tour companies are catering to dog owning travelers who wish to adventure with their pooch. Walking tours of Britain and Europe, white water rafting adventures or dog friendly vacation packages – with our list of dog friendly locations and tour companies, the world just got bigger for you and your dog.

Flying with a Dog

Flying with your dog is not as difficult as you might think. Read all about pet passports, dog friendly airlines, and travel tips in our article, Flying with a Dog.

Dog Friendly Hotel Chains

Hotel chains all over the world are rolling out the red carpet for you and your best friend. We’ve done the leg work to find the 22 most dog friendly hotel chains in Europe, USA, and all over the world along with their pet policies. You never know, your favorite chain might be on the list!

Dog Friendly Cruises

There’s nothing quite as much fun as exploring new lands on a boat. We think your dog will agree! He can cruise between New York and England on the Queen Mary 2, explore Germany and the Netherlands on a dog friendly riverboat, cruise down Norway’s Fjords, sightsee the coast and waterways of the United States, ride ferries between Italy and Greece, Spain, France and England and explore the Greek Isles. Read our list of dog friendly cruises, and start planning your next adventure! 

Track and share your dogventures with your free WAGSTA walkies, weight and wellness tracker! Join the pack and create the optimal healthy lifestyle for your dog!

Dog Agility – an obstacle race for dogs




Dog agility is an exhilarating dog sport where each participating dog must complete an obstacle course of tunnels, tires, weave poles, seesaws and jumps as quickly and accurately as possible off leash.

You must direct your dog through the obstacles in the correct sequence without touching your dog or the obstacles and without the use of treats. Your dog must rely entirely on your verbal cues and body language for guidance.

Dog agility is exciting for participants and spectators alike. It is obvious that the dogs relish the sport. They can pounce through the weave poles faster than you’d believe possible, and it’s heartening to see the close bond between dog and handler when the course is complete.

Dog Agility
All breeds of dog are eligible for agility competitions.

Benefits of Dog Agility

  • Dog agility is incredible exercise for both you and your dog.
  • It also requires strong communication skills, which forges a deep relationship between you.
  • All breeds and sizes can participate in dog agility, including mixed breeds. But some breeds are naturally more suited to agility than others.
Dog Agility
Dog Agility provides incredible exercise for you and your dog

Is Dog Agility Right for You and Your Dog?

Agility requires a sharp mind, an eagerness to please, and a lot of energy. If your dog loves to run and learn, she will likely thrive on agility. A few breeds you will constantly see winning agility competitions are working dogs such as the Border Collie, Jack Russell, Australian Shepherd, Shetland Sheepdogs, Australian Kelpie and German Shepherd but also some unexpected breeds such as the Standard poodle, Papillon, Pembroke Welsh corgi and the Rat terrier.

Dachshunds will have trouble clearing the jumps and this activity won’t do his back any good. Great Danes don’t have the high energy required to dash through the course. The brachycephalic (short-snouted) dog breeds such as the Bulldog might have trouble breathing. Read about the signs of heat stroke and how to keep your dog cool.  Breathing troubles are also exaggerated if dogs become overweight.

As with dogs, not all humans are suitable for dog agility. Training will require your patience, perseverance, persistence and daily commitment.  But you will soon find that the rewards are well worth it!

To be eligible for competitions your dog must be older than 15 months, be registered to compete, be spayed or neutered and be up-to-date with vaccinations.

Dog Agility
Dog Agility training requires your daily commitment but the rewards are worth it.

Dog Agility Training

Before you start agility training, it is a good idea to teach your dog the basic commands first – sit, heel, down, stay. Once you have established these foundations, sign up with a dog agility class. You and your dog will be introduced to the various obstacle types and taught communication techniques so that you can guide your dog through the obstacle course. Be prepared to attend once a week for about an hour.

It is important to practice from home between classes for at least 15 – 20 minutes each day. You could improvise an obstacle course with objects from home. Some equipment, such as the tunnel, is collapsible and easy to store between practice sessions. Weave poles are also easy to store. If you opt for some DIY agility equipment rather than purchased equipment, be sure to build them according to the specifications in your country. For the USA this is the American Kennel Club regulations (in chapter 3) and for the European Union it is European regulations (in section C).

Take your time in the beginning to allow you and your dog to get accustomed to the sport. Incentives such as healthy treats can help in the beginning but are not permitted in competitions so they should eventually be replaced with voice and body commands.

Dog Agility Equipment
The Dog Walk is one of the obstacles on a dog agility course.

Dog Agility Equipment

Building a dog agility obstacle course is a bit like building a playground for your dog.  If you don’t have your own yard, you can set a course in a nearby park, dismantling it after each practice. Here are some common obstacles.

  • Tunnel – A flexible tunnel about 2 ft (60 cm) wide and 10 – 20 feet (3 – 6 m) long through which the dog runs.
  • A-Frame – two ramps that meet at a peak in the middle. The bottom part of the ramp is painted a bright color to mark the contact zone – where the dog must place at least one paw while ascending and descending.
  • Dog Walk –three planks, one ascending, the center one flat, the last descending so that they form a sort of plateau. This has contact zones marked on the ascending and descending planks.
  • Seesaw – A 10 to 12 foot (3 to 4 m) plank that pivots from a fulcrum (you know, a seesaw!) with brightly painted contacts zones at each end. The dog must run up the seesaw and as it tips, run down the other side.
  • Jumps – broad jumps are wide planks the dog must jump across, tire jumps are hanging tires that the dog must jump through, panel are solid panels (like a wall) that a dog must jump, and hurdles are horizontal beams.
  • Pause Table – an elevated platform onto which the dog must jump and pause for a designated period of time, normally 5 seconds.
  • Weave Poles – a series of evenly spaced poles through which the dog weaves. The dog must always enter with the first pole to his left and not skip any. For many dogs, weave poles are the most difficult obstacles to master.
Dog Agility Equipment
Dogs learn to dash through weave poles very quickly

Dog Agility Competition

If your dog does well with agility, you could find yourself having so much fun that you want to take it to the next level and compete. Dogs are put into groups for competitions in order to give them a fair chance – the small dogs compete against other small dogs, experienced dogs compete against other experienced dogs, beginners against beginners and so on. 

Agility Rules and Faults

Each organization has its own rules but some common rules and faults include:

  • Missing the contact zone.
  • Knocking a bar from a jump.
  • Refusal to attempt an obstacle.
  • Skipping weave poles or entering incorrectly.
  • Off course – not taking the obstacles in their correct order.
  • The handler touching a dog or obstacle.
Dog Agility Equipment
A dog tunnel used in dog agility courses.

History of Dog Agility

In the late 1970s the organizers of the Crufts dog show in the United Kingdom decided to liven things up a bit during the intermission between dog shows so that the audience was not staring at an empty oval. They had dogs run an obstacle course similar to the ones used in horse jumping.  This intermission entertainment was such a hit that it became a competition in its own right.

Keep your dog active with our free WAGSTA walkies, weight and wellness tracker! Join the pack and create the optimal healthy lifestyle for your dog!

Create the optimal healthy lifestyle for your dog with WAGSTA. Learn more now.

WAGSTA

How to commence a dog exercise routine for your overweight dog




Dog exercise is beneficial for both humans and dogs! Whether it be playing in the back yard, walking at the park or swimming at the beach, the rewards of regular physical activity are impressive. 

Improved mental alertness, improved cardiovascular output, improved mobility and musculo-skeletal health are just a few benefits you and your dog will reap. And of course there’s also the added incentive of increased calorie burn.

But aside from all these benefits the number one benefit for both humans and dogs is to HAVE FUN and FEEL HAPPY!

 

Before embarking on a dog exercise program there are several points to consider to ensure we do not cause our dogs harm.

Introduce dogs to increasing levels of dog exercise gradually.

Please do not employ a ‘boot camp’ mindset where your primary goal for dog exercise is weight loss. Successful canine weight management should commence in the kitchen not in the park, with 90% of a dog’s weight loss achieved through calorie restriction. Regular dog exercise should be viewed as an aid to weight loss but not as the major player. Read more on this topic here: Is exercise a priority in helping dogs lose weight?

When it comes to exercise, too much-too soon will only end in tears for us and pain for our dogs.

Overweight dogs are prone to overheating and heat stroke.

And quite simply, heat stroke kills! Increased activity levels quickly cause a rise in body temperature especially when carrying excess body fat. Unlike humans, dogs are unable to sweat and so rely on panting to dissipate heat. 

Excess weight negatively impacts on the cardiorespiratory system (through reduced heart and lung capacity, narrowed airways) further compromising heat loss via panting.

Overweight dogs are also at higher risk of soft tissue and joint injuries.

Excess weight puts a large amount of strain on joints, ligaments and tendons.  Inactive and overweight dog tend to have poorly conditioned muscles and so weaken and fatigue quickly.  Lameness, ruptured cruciate ligaments, carpal and foot injuries are all too common in overweight dogs. 

To avoid these injuries start your dog exercise routine with safe, controlled exercise such as lead walking and swimming. High impact activities involving jumping should be avoided when commencing activity programs.

Regular dog exercise is key to a happy dog
A daily dog exercise routine maximises quality time with your dog.

17 Tips when Commencing Dog Exercise

  1. Always have water available for your dog to drink (carry a collapsible bowl and a bottle of water if necessary)
  2. In hot climates reserve dog exercise sessions for the cooler parts of the day, early morning or late evening
  3. Don’t push it! Stop and rest if your dog is panting heavily or appears weak
  4. Incorporate water play or swimming whenever practical- this is great form of low impact exercise and avoids overheating
  5. Starting from scratch? Aim for 2 x 10 minute lead walks a day. Over the course of 3-6 months aim to increase to 2 x 30 minute walks daily.
  6. When starting out choose flat, even surfaces to walk your dog on. Avoid rocky or uneven ground.
  7. Ensure good paw care- keep your dog’s nails trimmed, avoid walking on hot asphalt or hot sand and avoid cold injuries such as frost bite- booties can assist.
  8. Assist your dog getting into and out of the car. Lower your dog to the ground rather than letting him jump out (avoid excess force impacting on the spine, elbows, shoulders and carpus). For large dogs, save your own back by purchasing a ramp.
  9. Increase your dog’s incidental activity at home- consider using treat balls to put some of their allotted daily food into, provide toys, play hide and seek.
  10. Set aside time in the household schedule for your dog’s daily activity. Share the fun around different family members.
  11. Don’t let feelings of guilt or shame stop you from venturing out. If comments are made by others try not to be defensive. Just explain that your dog has commenced a weight management program and that as part of it he is making a gradual foray into regular dog exercise. You’ll be surprised; those who may come across as the most disapproving of your dog’s weight in the first instance will often turn out to be your biggest allies and supporters.
  12. As fitness improves and your dog’s weight reduces provide more active sessions i.e. incorporate off lead play, uneven terrain or short jogs.
  13. As your dog nears their target weight, introduce obstacles, hills, fetch & catch games. 
  14. Reserve more strenuous activities which impact on the joints for when significant weight loss has occurred. At this stage your dog’s muscles and ligaments will have strengthened and the risk of injury will have reduced. Play it safe by always exercising caution to avoid overdoing things.
  15.  A health check-up is recommended before commencing all dogs on weight management or dog exercise programs. In addition to assessing your dog’s underlying health status, veterinarians are able to help with diet recommendations, target weight calculations and they can prescribe treatments to help your dog. Quality of life and mobility of arthritic dogs frequently improve following prescribed anti-inflammatory remedies.
  16.  Always remember parasite prevention for fleas and ticks. Keep worming up to date. The risk of parasites is heightened when out and about with other dogs and when entering bush land and countryside habitat.
  17. Should your dog have behavioural issues or poor on-lead skills, consider enrolling in training classes or seek help from an animal behaviorist.

Reached your dog’s healthy weight? Well don’t stop there…. when it comes being active with our dogs, the possibilities are endless. How about bike riding, skating, fly ball, agility classes, hiking, stand-up paddle-boarding, cani- cross and skijoring just to name a few!

Exercise does not need to be a chore. Regularly walking your dog and taking part in outdoor activities is about adventure and strengthening the special bond we share with our dogs.  So get out there and enjoy your time together!

   

10 Dog Hikes to Add to Your Doggie Bucket List




Pets love walking in new locations as much as we do. It stimulates their brain and their senses, keeping them happy and healthy. With pet obesity a major health concern among pet owners, hiking is also a fun way to give your dog the exercise she needs.

We hope this list of dog-friendly hikes from around the world will inspire you to take a vacation with your pooch. The rise in pet-friendly hotels makes vacationing with your dog easier than it ever was.

Dog Hike Tips

A few tips when hiking with your dog.

  • Keep your dog on a leash if he is prone to running off, especially around cliffs, wildlife and livestock.
  • Clean up after your dog.
  • Avoid fields with calves and lambs.
  • Put your dog on leash around frozen lakes in winter. I have seen a dog fall through ice while chasing geese and it saddens me to say that it wasn’t a happy ending.
  • Take water and a collapsible dog bowl.
  • Check your dog for ticks after his walk.
Dog hikes
Some of the hikes listed are off leash dog hikes.

Dog Hike Trails USA

1. Acadia National Park, Maine

Dogs can go on most of the trails in Acadia National Park if kept on a leash. The range of trails is staggering from the coastal cliffs and beaches to the summit climbs. Distances and grades vary.

Ocean Trail

Distance: 7.2 km | 4.5 miles return
Time: 3 hours return
Grade: Easy
Dogs on leash.

This stunning trail begins near Sand Beach and hugs the coast through woods, along cliff tops, and around rocky coves past Thunder Hole all the way to Otter Cliff where you can watch people abseil. Park at the Sand Beach or Otter Point parking lots.

Coast hike Acadia National Park
The Coastal Trail

Jordan Pond Nature Trail

Distance: 1.6 km | 1 mile loop
Time: 1.5 hrs
Grade: Moderate
Dogs on leash

Boardwalks take you through the forested shore and over granite rocks before coming to a clean gravel trail along the waters edge. A short section of rock scrambling is needed, which is why this is moderate and not easy. You can lengthen this trail by climbing the bubbles (pictured). Park at Jordan Pond parking area. 

Jordan Pond and the Bubbles
Jordan Pond Nature Trail and a view of the Bubbles.

Acadia National Park
A summit climb in Acadia National Park.

2. Dog Mountain, Washington State

Distance: 9.6 km | 6 miles round trip
Time: 3.5 hours
Grade: Moderate to difficult
Dogs on leash

This trail up the Washington side of the Columbia River Gorge has an elevation gain of 2,800 feet (850 meters). It’s a steady leg burner but you can enjoy some stunning views of the gorge. In spring the trail is laced with wildflowers. Permits are required on the busiest weekends (March 31 – July 1), which are $5 per hiker.

Columbia River Gorge
Columbia River Gorge, Washington

Dog Hiking Canada

3. Banff National Park

All National Parks are dog-friendly in Canada if kept on leash. This opens up all kinds of vacation opportunities for you and your pal!

We chose Banff National Park to add to our list because it has over 1,600 kilometers (1,000 miles) of trails, which is more than any other mountain national park in Canada. 

Fairview Mountain Lookout Trail

Distance 10.6 km | 6.6 miles return
Time: 4 – 5 hours
Grade: Difficult due to the elevation gain of 1,014 meters (3,326 feet).
Dogs on leash

This leg-burning climb up a forest trail will get you and your dog away from the crowds and reward you with close-up mountain views. At the world-famous Lake Louise, your dog can have a cool drink, but be sure to take water for him on the hike. The trailhead begins near the canoe rental facility on Lake Louise.

Lake Louise, Banff National Park, Canada
Lake Louise, Banff National Park, Canada

Dog Hikes in Scotland

4. Loch Morlich in the Highlands

Distance: 6 km | 3.75 mile loop
Time: 1.5 – 2 hrs

Grade: Easy
Dogs on leash

Loch Morlich is surrounded by thick forests and fringed with beaches where many people let their dogs off leash to run around. It’s all set against the backdrop of the often snow-clad peaks of the Cairngorms.

Dogs swimming
Your dog can cool off after his walk in the loch.

Dog Hikes England

5. The Doone Valley, Exmoor

Distance: 8.8 km | 5.5 mile loop

Time: 3 hours

Grade: Moderate to difficult

Dogs on leash

Doone Valley is the setting for Blackmore’s classic seventeenth century novel, Lorna Doone. Recount the story as you and your dog cross the dramatic moors down into a picturesque valley, passing Blackmore’s memorial stone and Oare church, where Lorna’s eventful wedding took place. 

This hiking trail is strenuous at times. Reward yourselves with a rest afterwards at the dog-friendly Blue Ball Inn in Countisbury.

Doone Valley, Exmoor, England
Doone Valley, Exmoor, England

Another stunning walk in the region is the coastal walk from Bossington to Countisbury. But it takes 4 hours each way so a driving buddy would come in handy.

Distance: 18.5 km | 11.5 miles one way

Time: 3.5 – 4 hours

Grade: Easy

The coastal walk, Exmoor, England
The coastal walk, Exmoor, England

6. Green Chain Walk, London

Distance: 8 km | 5 miles one way

Time: 1.5 hours

Grade: Easy

Dogs on leash with off leash sections

London’s Green Chain Walk takes you from Crystal Palace Park to Nunhead Cemetery, which is one of London’s seven Magnificent Cemeteries. 

Visit the site of the 1851 Great Exhibition and the Horniman Museum and Dulwich Art Gallery along the way. In Crystal Palace Park, Sydenham Hill Wood and Dulwich Park, well-behaved dogs can run off leash –a rare treat in London!

Dog Hiking in IRELAND

7. Gleninchaquin Park, County Kerry

Gleninchaquin Park is a working sheep farm that has several great trails ranging from a gentle meander around the pastures, a stroll along the river and falls or the more strenuous mountain trails taking that can take anywhere from 2 to 7 hours to complete depending on what trail you choose.

Heritage Trail

Distance: 8 km | 5 mile loop

Time: 1.5 hours
Grade: Moderate-difficult
Dogs off leash except near livestock

The Heritage Trail takes in most of the lower valley and crosses two streams by a bridge before entering the woodlands.

After ascending the hills and crossing a stone bridge you arrive at the Heritage Site, an 18th Century farmstead, uninhabited for more than 130 years.

The Famine Cottage has featured in films and magazines and has been photographed by Annie Liebowitz. In 2016 a UK film Company spent six days shooting a short film, ‘The Widow’s Last’ depicting a woman’s struggle with life during the famine.

Before the path descends, there is a sign to a viewing point where you can enjoy views across the valley and woodlands right out to the sea and the horizon.

On your way downhill, a wooden bridge crosses above a beautiful series of waterfalls and pools.

Gleninchaquin Park
Gleninchaquin Park

Dog Trails in AUSTRALIA

Dogs can travel without quarantine between Australia and New Zealand, so Australian and New Zealand dog owners could easily take their dog on vacation across the Tasman Sea.

8. Cape Conran Coastal Park, Victoria

Cape Conran is located in the Gippsland Lakes area of Victoria on the southern coast of Australia.

East Cape to Pearl Point

Distance: 25km | 15.5 miles return
Time:  5 hrs

Grade: Intermediate-Difficult
Dogs on leash

Cape Conran Coastal Park has dog-friendly camping so you can stay here with your dog.

The walk from East Cape to Pearl Point can be a difficult walk due to the soft beach sand. The park has heathlands, wild ocean beaches and banksia woodlands abundant in nectar-feeding birds. There are stunning rock formations, sand dunes and a lot of marine life.

9. Bondi to Bronte, Sydney, NSW

Distance: 6km | 3.7 miles return

Time: 1 hr
Grade: Easy
Dogs on leash

The Bondi to Bronte walk hugs the coastline with constant views of the Pacific Ocean. The path is mostly sealed with some stairs and a few rocky patches. Stop for a swim at pretty Tamarama Beach.

You can lengthen this walk by continuing on to Coogee Beach from Bronte.

Distance: 10.6 km | 6.6 miles return
Time: 2.5 hours
Grade: Easy

Dog Hiking in New Zealand

10. Otari-Wilton’s Bush

With 20 miles of hiking trails from easy to difficult, this will have something to suit you and your dog.

Otari-Wilton’s Bush is New Zealand’s most significant native botanic gardens and Wellington’s largest area of original native forest. It is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week and is free to enter. Pick up a map from the Information Centre.

The Canopy Walkway is a 75 meter long boardwalk 18 meters above the forest floor and is the shortest walk.

Skyline Loop Track

Distance:  4.5 km | 2.7 loop
Time: 2.5 hours
Grade: Difficult
Address: 160 Wilton Road, Wellington, NZ
Dogs on leash

This climbs through forest and traverses the mountain range. On the upper Blue Trail you will pass an 800-year-old rimu tree. Imagine that! In the thirteenth century, while St Francis of Assisi founded the Franciscan Order, Genghis Khan invaded China and William Wallace led the Scotts against the English, this tree was sprouting from the soil.

Keep your dog in perfect health with FREE walkies, weight and wellness tracking. Join the WAGSTA pack to create the optimal healthy lifestyle for your dog!   

Dog Sport: 11 fun sports for you and your dog



If you want to start a new sport in which your dog can participate, consider a dog sport. There’s something to suit every dog breed and personality. You can find out about local dog sports by Googling ‘dog sports near me’ or asking for recommendations from your veterinarian, groomer or dog obedience school.

1. Dog Agility

Agility is the most popular dog sport. With guidance from his handler a dog must race through an obstacle course in a specified order accurately and as quickly as possible. Obstacles include tunnels, jumps, weave poles, pause tables, A-frames and hoops. Read more in our article about Dog Agility.

Dog Agility
Dog Agility is for every breed.

2. Flyball

Flyball is a relay of four dogs who take turns to jump hurdles, catch a ball and race back to the start line. The hurdle height is set to the shortest dog on the relay team so that all breeds can compete. For more information about his exciting sport, read our article on Dog Flyball.

Flyball
If your dog loves to catch balls, he will love flyball.

3. Dock Diving

In dock diving, dogs jump from a dock over a body of water competing against one another in the height or distance of the jump. Dock diving is perfect for water lovers such as retrievers.

Dog sport - dock diving
Dock Diving is the perfect sport for water lovers.

4. Herding

Some dogs were born to herd! In herding competitions, the dog must herd animals into a pen. The animals are normally sheep or ducks but herding titles can be won on herding geese, turkeys, goats and cattle, too. Different tasks can be added, such as ‘sorting’ the animals or moving the herd back and forth before penning, according to the dog’s skill level.

Dog Sport - herding
Herding geese.

5. Lure Coursing

This sport is perfect for high-energy dogs who love to chase things. Dogs chase a mechanized lure around a course. The lure simulates the unpredictability of chasing live prey by zig-zagging across the open field.  

If your dog loves to run flat-out, consider lure coursing.

6. Scent Work (or Nose Work)

 A dog’s sense of smell is up to 100,000 times more sensitive than ours. Scent work allows your dog to sniff to her heart’s content! Neither the handler nor the dog knows where the target scent is hidden, so this sport is simply a matter of letting your dog sniff it out. The target scent is normally a cotton swab saturated in essential oil. When the scent is found, your dog must communicate this to you, and you call it out to the judge.

Dog Sport - scent work
Scent work celebrates your pooch’s sense of smell.

7. Tracking Trial

Like Scent Work, Tracking Trial involves your dog using his nose. Your dog must follow a scent trail that has been laid out the day before, and by doing so find ‘lost’ articles.  The sport mimics search and rescue missions and police work where the dog must find a lost person or article. Tracking is also a survival skill that helps a dog to hunt prey in the wild. For many breeds tracking is still a strong instinct that they love to use.

Dog Sport - Tracking Trial
In Tracking Trial, your dog must find hidden articles by using a scent trail.

8. Obedience

In obedience competitions dogs complete a specific routine of behaviors correctly to demonstrate their training. The basic commands of ‘heel’, ‘stay’, ‘come’ and ‘sit’ are mastered, along with fetching and jumping ability.

Dog Sport - Obedience
Obedience is a great way to deepen your relationship with your dog and build respect.

9. Rally Obedience

Rally obedience takes the obedience competition a step further by testing your dog’s obedience behaviors over a course while he is timed. Handler and dog must run side-by-side through the course of numbered signs. Each sign provides obedience instructions that the dog must perform. Rally obedience is all about working as a team while performing skills.

Dog Sport - Rally Obedience
Rally Obedience pushes obedience to the next level with a timed course.

10. Canine Freestyle (or Dog Dancing)

Canine freestyle requires you and your dog to perform a dance routine together. This not only requires a deep bond with your dog, but a mastery of basic obedience. Patience and a sense of fun will go a long way!

Dog sport - canine freestyle
Have fun with your dog’s natural dancing ability and choreograph some moves.

11. Disc Dogs

Disc dog competitions are sometimes called Dog Frisbee Competitions but ‘Frisbee’ is a trademarked brand of disc and is not the official name of the sport. A disc must be thrown by the handler for the dog to catch. The dog and handler are judged on either the distance of the throw and the skill of the catch, or on the cleverness of a freestyle form of disc throwing which demonstrates the dog’s skill at catching discs.

Dog sport - disc dogs
Does your dog love catching discs? There’s a sport for that!

 A Word on Short-Snouted Breeds

The brachycephalic (short-snouted) dog breeds such as bulldogs, pugs, Boston terriers and ShihTzus are predisposed to breathing difficulties, especially during exercise and when they become over heated. Controlling your dog’s weight and keeping him fit is important for his health, though, so don’t let this put you off dog sport. Just be aware of it and learn how to heed the warning signs of breathing difficulties and overheating.

Dog Sport - agility
Short snouted dogs, such as this pug, can overheat more easily than other breeds, but this should not stop them from participating in sports.

Keep your dog active with free WAGSTA walk and wellness tracking.Join the pack to start building the optimal healthy lifestyle for your dog today!

Flyball for Dogs: A dog sport for all breeds




Flyball is a relay race between two teams, each team consisting of four dogs. Each dog must jump four hurdles, catch a ball by triggering a flyball box pedal and then return over the four hurdles to the finish line.

Benefits of Flyball for Dogs

  • Flyball is a great way for dogs to burn off energy. It includes all the things that dogs love to do; run, jump, fetch, compete and please their owners.
  • Another wonderful thing about flyball is that any dog can participate in it regardless of breed, size or shape. You’ll have more chance of winning a competition if your dog has a lot of energy and is well coordinated, but if you’re doing it for the sheer fun of it – which is a worthy reason on its own – any dog with the ability to fetch can participate.
  • For dog owners, flyball is a great way to build a close relationship with your dog while having fun.
  • Flyball also provides a great opportunity to socialize with other dog owners. 
Flyball
Any dog with the ability to catch a ball can play flyball

Flyball dog Training 

If your dog can fetch and catch a ball in his mouth, he’s perfect for flyball. Basic commands such as sit, stay and heel will also be useful. Once you have established these foundations, sign up for flyball training with your local flyball club. To find a flyball club near you, contact your national flyball association (there’s a list at the end of the article).

Dogs need to be relatively fit to play flyball. Some people achieve this by swimming or bike riding with their dogs. In the warmer months, your dog also needs to be acclimatized to running in the heat. Read about the signs of heat stroke and how to keep your dog cool

The brachycephalic (short-snouted) dog breeds such as the Bulldog are not suitable for this strenuous sport due to their restrictive breathing, especially during exercise and when hot.  Breathing troubles are also exaggerated if dogs become overweight. 

Training will require patience, perseverance, persistence and daily commitment, but you will soon find that the rewards are well worth it!

An important aspect of flyball is the fast ‘swimmer’ type turns a dog must do on the flyball box while retrieving the ball. Specific training has been developed to help your dog learn to do this.

Flyball training
Dogs need to be relatively fit to play flyball and swimming is a good way to get them fit.

Flyball Rules

There are two racing lanes set up side-by-side divided by a set of drag racing lights that provide the count down to start. When the last light turns green, the dogs are off!  The lanes are 51 feet (15.54m) long and the hurdle height is set 5 inches lower than the shoulder height of the smallest dog in the team.

At the end of each lane is the flyball box loaded with a tennis ball. The dog must trigger the box by stepping on a spring-loaded pad, then leap in the air to catch the released ball.

  • Missed jumps and dropped balls require the dog to rerun the course after the rest of the team has finished.
  • If the first runner crosses the start line before the light is green, it is a foul.
  • As soon as the first dog’s nose returns across the finish line the next dog can go. If a dog starts early, it is a foul.

The first team to have all four dogs cross the finish line error free wins.

Flyball is for all dogs
Dogs of all shapes, breeds and sizes can play flyball.

Competition Flyball

Flyball races are grouped into performance-based divisions with the fastest teams placed in Division 1 and so on, enabling each team to compete fairly against teams of a similar speed. Dogs must be at least 12 months old to compete at flyball. 

Most competitions are two-day weekend events. There are typically 18 to 32 heats for each team at a competition.

The European championships are now the largest international flyball championships and are held in a different country each year. The North American Flyball Championships are the largest tournaments where over 800 dogs compete over a three day event.

The world record time for a flyball team to complete is just over 14 seconds (14.182 seconds). That means it took less than four seconds for each dog to cover the 102 feet (31.8 meters) of track, leap hurdles and catch a ball while turning on the flyball box. It’s an incredible speed!

The amazing team that set this record is Touch N Go from the United States. The team consists of Slayer, Detail, Action and Custom, a family of Border Collie-Whippet mixes. Detail, Action and Custom are from the same litter while Slayer is their half brother.


video of Touch N Go winning the world record.

Flyball History

Flyball started as a dog sport in California back in the1970s when some dog trainers combined scent hurdle racing with retrieving. Herbert Wagner invented a box to launch the tennis ball for his ball crazy dog and this later became the flyball box. The first formal competition was held in 1981 in the United States.

Since then, flyball has spread around the world with more than 16,000 flyball dogs registered in Australia, the United States, Canada, South Africa, Europe, and the United Kingdom. 

Flyball Near You

To register your dog for flyball, contact the flyball association in your country. Some are listed here.

  • The Australian Flyball Association
  • UK Flyball League
  • British Flyball Association
  • North American Flyball Association
  • United Flyball League International (actually North American and not trully international)
  • Belgicshe Flyball Belge
  • South African Flyball Association

Keep your dog active with our free WAGSTA walkies, weight and wellness tracker! Join the pack and create the optimal healthy lifestyle for your dog!

Create the optimal healthy lifestyle for your dog with WAGSTA walkies, weight and wellness. Learn more now.

5 Reasons Why Dog Workouts Rule




Work-out partners do not have to be Lycra-clad or sporting the latest active-wear. The furred alternative works wonders too!

Have you considered joining your pooch in a dog workout? It could make all the difference to committing to your daily exercise routine!

Here’s why your dog makes the perfect personal trainer!

1. Dog workout partners are always eager and ready for action!

A dog’s enthusiasm to get out and about is contagious. Such enthusiasm and positive feedback encourages dog owners world-over to walk on a regular basis.

As dog lovers it’s almost impossible to say no to those pleading expressions and adorable antics! And it’s a very tough call to knock back the one thing your dog loves and enjoys the most: W_A_L_K_I_E_S

Research agrees, proving dog owners walk on average TWICE the distance of non-dog owners within a week. Better still, dog work-outs help us pet parents benefit from lowered rates of cardio-vascular disease and illness.

2. Dog workouts involve adventure!

Who says your daily walk needs to be confined to walking around the block or to the local dog park? It’s time to start following your dog’s lead by exploring your surrounds!

Increase the pace and physical challenge of your dog workout by heading off trail. If you have an athletic breed try taking part in more strenuous dog activities such as jogging, biking and swimming!

3. Dog workout buddies do not complain

Unlike many exercise partners, your dog will not bog you down in conversation or distract you from keeping to your work-out pace. Your dog will not complain about where you are working out nor will they have any social hang ups.

When it comes to being active, fun is your dog’s second name. So, follow in your dog’s paw prints, leave your stresses behind and enjoy the great outdoors.Record your dog workouts on WAGSTA

Make the most of the great outdoors with your dog workout buddy!

4. Dogs are creatures of habit

And so, should you be! You won’t find your dog workout partner crying off from going on a walk due to the weather or because they feel tired. Dogs are up for exercise at any time of the day or year!

Commit to daily dog workouts with WAGSTA
Stay committed to daily exercise by tracking your dog workouts.

Once you start a regular dog work-out routine it’s a safe bet your dog will pressure you into keeping it!

Does whining at the front door or pacing with lead in mouth, ring a bell with you?

5. Dog workouts make you feel good!

Your dog will never judge your exercise efforts. Instead they will faithfully plod alongside you providing motivational support during your work-outs. View your dog as your personal fitness trainer, knowing they’ve got your back.

Reward your dog’s loyal companionship by taking your dog walkies each day. Feel the endorphins release and let your stresses melt away!

Safety First

Always exercise within your dog’s limits for a fun-filled workout. 

If your dog is sedentary and has gained weight, it’s never too late to introduce regular exercise. However it is important to realise, the bulk of your dog’s weight loss should be due to calorie restriction.

Ease into dog workouts and build your outings at a slow and steady pace. Remember to keep within your dog’s breed, health and fitness limitations and check with your vet before committing your pooch as a dog workout partner.

Ready to start tracking your daily dogventure? Get active with free WAGSTA GPS tracking today!

NB. Not all dog breeds are suited to active exercise. Check out this interactive graph listing potential jogging partners and the amount of calories you can burn jogging with these various breeds of dogs.

Dog Beach Finder & Dog Beach Safety




Make the most of summer with a trip to your local dog beach. Feel the breeze in your hair, the sand between your toes and let your cares blow away whilst letting your dog have the time of their life!

Dog Beaches Near Me

Discover dog-friendly beaches recommended by fellow dog lovers. With WAGSTA you can shout out about your favorite dog friendly hangouts – dog parks, dog beaches and dog cafes.  Then track and map your dog walks and dogventures for free! 

Dog Beaches: 10 Safety Tips for Dog Beach Visits 

Make the most of your doggy beach adventure! Play it safe this summer with these 10 safety tips for exploring the sand and surf. 

1. Keep your dog well hydrated.

The combination of exercise, high ambient temperature and coastal breeze can soon lead to dehydration. Prevent this by bringing a fresh water supply and bowl.

Dog Beach fresh water supply
Always supply fresh drinking water when visiting dog beaches..

2. Prevent saltwater intake.

Prevent your dog from drinking sea water. Saltwater ingestion commonly leads to tummy upsets (such as acute onset diarrhea) and will dehydrate your dog. Excessive saltwater intake can be life threatening. 

3. Prevent overheating and hypothermia.

Consider the prevailing weather conditions. Time your visit to the dog beach to avoid the hottest time of the day and seek/provide shade for your dog. Know the signs for dog heat stroke.

Likewise, in cooler climates beware the cooling effect of sea spray and onshore breeze. These can rapidly lead to hypothermia in less active dogs, small breeds, the young and elderly. Keep your dog out of the ocean in winter. 

4. Be dog swim safe.

Ensure your dog can swim! Consider dog buoyancy vests for poor swimmers and Brachycephalic Breeds

Dog Beach swim safety
Ensure your dog is a good swimmer before venturing into the surf.

5. Consider dog beach conditions.

Do your research and swim in or near patrolled areas. Beware of rip tides and heavy surf. 

6. Remember your dog’s paws. 

Sand and footpaths often become baking hot in the summer months which can lead to burnt foot pads. Check surfaces are not too hot for your dog by resting the back of your hand on the ground. For those with hairy paws, check and wash your dog’s feet at the end of their walk. Sand can soon ball up between the toes causing discomfort, abrasion and infection.

Dog Beach Safety Tips
Walkways and sand can become scorching hot during summer.

7. Think of your dog’s ears.

 If your is prone to ear infections, consider applying alcohol-based ear drops at the end of their beach swim. These will dry out any excess moisture and prevent Swimmers Ear. 

8. Be wary of fishing hooks, old bait, broken glass and crustaceans.

Keep an eye on what your dog gets up to. Avoid fishing hot spots and be wary of sharp crustaceans when climbing over rocks.

9. Be alert for venomous sea life and poisonous fish.

 Venomous sea snakes, jelly fish and octopus exist in tropical waters. On occasion these species may be encountered washed up on dog beaches. Keep your dog away and warn other dog owners. Likewise tropical waters near estuaries and mangroves may be home to Salt Water Crocodiles.

Puffer fish, Blow fish, Globe Fish, Toad fish and Fugu all contain tetrodotoxin – a powerful toxin which causes paralysis if eaten. These fish are often found washed up on the beach and swimming in the shallows.If your dog eats a Blow Fish, seek veterinary attention immediately. 

Dog Beach puffer fish
Cute but deadly. This Puffer Fish could kill your dog!

When visiting a new area chat with local dog owners first to find out about local beach risks.  

10. Follow Dog Beach Rules

Pick up after your dog and be courteous to other beach goers. Prevent your dog from racing up to others and follow the on and off-leash dog beach guidelines. Play by the rules to help prevent inter-dog aggression, accidents and injury.    

Now for some activities for your next dog beach outing..

Dog Beach Activities

Whether your dog prefers surf or sand, there’s ample to keep your dog entertained at the beach. From tropical palm lined beaches to windswept coastal stretches, there’s adventure to be enjoyed by every dog.  Here’s how:

  • Explore dog friendly beaches by walking the high tide line and letting your dog sniff and discover all the enticing smells offered up by the ocean. During low tide explore amongst the rock pools and let your dog go crab and fish spotting. 
  • Stretch those legs by walking or jogging the length of the beach. Sand makes for fantastic resistance training for both dog and owner. Up the workout by climbing and running down sand dunes.
  • Play fetch in the waves- Breeds such as Labradors and Cattle Dogs adore crashing through the waves to play this this game.

Dog Beach Surf
Fun times catching the surf down the local dog beach!
  • Get wet and take a cooling dip with your dog
  • Try out some dog friendly water sports such as Stand up Paddle Boarding and canoeing.
Dog Beach watersports
Dog water sports should only be undertaken on a calm day.
  • Set your dog on a treasure hunt by burying a favourite toy or sand-proof treat in the sand.
  • Play with nature’s toys. Fallen coconuts make for great beach footballs, and well weathered, smooth edged driftwood is fantastic for a game of fetch.

 

Keep your dog active with our free WAGSTA walkies, weight and wellness tracker! Join the pack and create the optimal healthy lifestyle for your dog! Learn more now.

Dog Parks Near Me




Dogs, just like their owners, love a change in scenery! And one of the best ways to provide this is by seeking out dog parks nearby. Dog-friendly parks are not only great for exercise, they provide your dog the opportunity to meet and greet other dogs and their owners.

Share dog-friendly spots near you to the WAGSTA Dog Park Directory.

Dog Park Directory
Share and discover Dog Parks near you with the WAGSTA App.

The best dog parks provide areas for off-leash exercise. Off-leash areas are preferably sited well away from roads. City off-leash areas are often fenced to prevent run-aways.  Fenced areas are especially useful for exercising and training dogs whose recall skills are not yet fully honed.

The most popular dog parks are larger in size to prevent over-crowding. Their large size provides owners and dogs opportunity to walk and explore. 

On the larger end of the scale are dog-friendly country parks and forest parks which provide for all day adventure! Open green spaces well shaded by trees are always a hit with dogs and families.

Dog parks should always have a water source- providing drinking water for dogs and owners. If visiting a park for the first time, play it safe by bringing your own dog water.

The best doggy parks will incorporate a natural water source such as river, creek, dog lake or dog beach. Dogs love nothing better than a cooling dip in the summer months and playing fetch in water!

Dog water park
Dog parks bordering rivers, beaches and lakes are always a hit!

 Dog infrastructure has come a long way in recent years with many council areas providing build-in water bowls and faucets. These are often accompanied by bins and dog poop bags to help ensure doggie parks stay clean for all. Do your bit by picking up after your dog and following dog park rules 😊

Some parks go all out by providing dog obstacle courses and dog playgrounds. Think dog ramps, tunnels, logs and slides to hone dog agility skills and obedience!

Dog Park Etiquette

Your visit to the local dog park should be a positive experience, leaving both you and your dog in a great frame of mind! You can help keep parks dog-friendly with these basic etiquette tips.

Dog Park Etiquette
Get ready to socialize down at your local dog park.

1.Pick up after your dog- bring your own poop bags and if bins are not supplied take your refuse home. (Dog poop is bad enough but littering with bagged poop is even worse!)

2. Always ensure your dog stays under control.  A dog-friendly park does is no excuse for unruly dog behavior. Overly boisterous and aggressive dogs make parks unpleasant and dangerous for others. As a rule, dogs should be socialized and obey basic commands (heel, sit and come) before visiting the park. This is especially important if your dog will be off-leash.

3. Time your visit to the park. Avoid the hottest times of the day. High energy dog play sessions can soon result in cases of overheating and heat stroke.

4. Look out for others: get the okay for your dog to play with other dogs. Don’t let your dog rush up to others as this can be intimidating for both dog and owner, with potential for injury/ inter-dog aggression.

Dog Park Rules
Small, timid dogs can find dog parks intimidating. Ensure your dog plays by the rules.

5. Know when to call it quits: If your dog engages in group play, monitor closely.  Group dynamics can shift quickly with playful nips and boisterous play often turning more serious.

Dog Park Play
Monitor play at the dog park. Do not let it get out of hand.

Favorite Doggie Parks

Help other pet parents discover dog-friendly spots near you! Share your favourite hangouts and dog walks using the WAGSTA app. Not only can you share doggie discoveries, you can track and map your dog adventures for free. 

WAGSTA

Create the optimal healthy lifestyle for your dog with WAGSTA walkies, weight and wellness. Learn more now.