December 2015

Buffalo News article about Dog Parks (from the Buffalo News) recently posted a story about local dog parks: Best of 716 - Unleashed: A guide to the best local dog parks.

Options for Walking Indoors

Neil writes:

Quick question for you - I have a 10 year old boxer, Riddick, that has degenerative myelopathy and is slowly losing the use of his hind legs. He currently has a harness that we use to help him get around as his left leg is pretty much unusable and his right is getting pretty weak.

As a result, we've ordered him a custom cart so that he can begin exercising again. When you take some of the weight off of his back legs he wants to run around and play like he used to therefore everyone is pretty confident that the cart will re-enrich his life and he'll be able to resume a healthy regiment of walking, etc.

Unfortunately, winter is coming and we won't be able to take him around the sidewalks in -10 degree snowy weather as he has such a short coat. In your experience, have you found anywhere in the area that that has like an indoor facility that I could bring him to a few times a week during the winter in order to take him for 15-30 min. walks? Any info would be awesome!

This is a great question. I wrote back to Neil:

Thanks for writing. This is something that has been challenging for me as well. I don't know of an indoor facility that could be specifically used for walks, but here are some things I have done with Ren:

  • Take him for a walk around the inside of a PetSmart. Since pets are allowed in the store, I will often drive to one, bring Ren in, and walk him up and down the aisles for about 20 minutes. Sometimes I buy something while there, but I don't always, and so far none of the employees have had a problem with me being there. PetCo or Pet Supplies Plus could work too except they seem to be a bit smaller (at least the ones I've been in). We also have a few other pet-friendly stores listed on our stores entry
  • Since we have been lucky enough to not have any snow yet, I've been trying to take Ren for brief walks outside. Since he's also shorthaired, and generally wimpy about the cold, I don't do this for very long, but I figure 5 to 10 minutes here and there is better than nothing. I got him a warm coat that covers his belly to help him tolerate the temperatures. A lot of dog coats seem to be nothing more than capes with a small strap across the belly, so I found one online in an Etsy shop that covered more of his body. This store specializes in small dogs, so they probably would not have anything suitable for a Boxer. But you could try checking with some online shops such as Drs. Foster & Smith or Muttropolis
  • Some places that do daycare and/or play groups will also rent out their space, although that could be more than what you want to spend. K-9 Kids Club on Niagara Falls Blvd will rent their room for an hour for $20. Canine Academy on Main Street in Clarence also does rentals but I am not sure of their rate. Maybe you could partner with a few other people who are also interested in exercising their dogs and share the cost of an hour rental. If you check out our listing of daycare facilities, you'll probably find others that are willing to rent too.
  • Another option for exercise, although it's not walking, is using a pool. I've heard this is a great way to exercise dogs with mobility issues and to help build up leg strength. Fetch N Catch in Lancaster has pool rental for the half-hour or hour. However, this does not include lessons - you are just paying for time at the pool for you and your dog. Another option is Sand Dancer in Orchard Park. They do provide lessons, however it can get expensive.

What do you think? Is there anything I left out? Do you have any more suggestions for Neil? Leave a comment on our Facebook post about this.