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Dogs Get Us Moving! Mars Petcare Sponsors "Woof Walks" with YMCAs

Walking our dog in San Francisco gets us both out of the house and enjoying our mild summer climate. The city with its famous hills is a perfect outdoor gym for people and dogs. Cleo and I love to power walk together while she picks up the local canine news. It is a daily routine we both enjoy though probably for different reasons.

Cleo-Walking
A new study now proves that Cleo is not alone in her skill at bumping my keyboard, or getting my attention by methodically stretching near my desk each day at exactly the same time. Wow! Maybe she really CAN tell time!

Dogs get us walking. A recent study on behalf of the Petcare segment at Mars, Incorporated (which includes PEDIGREE®, WHISKAS®, NUTRO®, ROYAL CANIN® and BANFIELD®) found that nearly two-thirds of dog owners engage in exercise on a weekly basis because of their dog and that 29 percent of dog owners who engage in regular exercise other than walking do so because of their dog.

San Francisco-Steep-Hills “The simple act of taking daily walks with your dog provides great benefits for people, pets and communities,” says Dr. Sandra McCune, research manager for the Human-Animal Interaction Research Program at The Waltham Centre for Pet Nutrition and co-editor of the newly released book “The Health Benefits of Dog Walking for People & Pets; Evidence and Case Studies.”

“Studies show walking can lower the risk of heart disease and high blood pressure, and may help combat obesity in both humans and pets. Walking a dog has also been shown to increase interaction among neighbors, fostering social cohesion. These are real, tangible benefits to having a pet.”

The Power of Pets Program and the YMCA. Mars Petcare just announced it will sponsor a series of “Woof Walk” fun runs as part of THE POWER OF PETS™ program for 2011.  Co-hosted by local YMCAs nationwide, the events feature 2-3K run/community dog walks, as well as healthy and fun activities for the whole family. 

The first event will take place in Chicago on September 24.  Events will follow throughout the fall in cities across the country, including: San Diego, CA; Austin, Texas; Miami, Florida; and Portland, Oregon.

THE POWER OF PETS™ by Mars Petcare, a community-focused initiative that celebrates the health benefits of pet ownership, is focusing its 2011 program on dog walking as a way for families to increase their physical activity levels while spending more time together and outdoors.

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To help you get moving and take advantage of the all that the season has to offer with your dog, consider these tips:
 
* While you don’t need a lot of expensive equipment to walk with your dog, make sure you have a comfortable harness and leash, and that your dog is trained to walk by your side.
 
* Before you set off on a walk or run, check the weather –- heat stroke can be dangerous for you and your dog. Check that the pavement is not too hot for your dog’s paws and that you and your dog are well hydrated.
 
* If you and your pet are ready to bring your workout to the next level, take your dog on a run with hills or vary your speed to help increase your workout.
 
* Only run with breeds who can handle it. Many breeds are not meant to run for extended periods of time. If you’re looking for other ways to exercise with your dog, play a game like tag or Frisbee.
 
Before beginning any exercise routine, remember to always check with your doctor and your veterinarian. Then, get your dog saddled up and get moving! We'll see you in the neighborhood!

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For more information visit The Power of Pets™ on Facebook.

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