Outdoor Pet Fun in Peoria

Getting backing back to nature with my four legged best friend is one my favorite activities from early spring to late fall. Right here in Peoria County lies a plethora of adventures to be had. There are miles upon miles of beautiful land for us to explore, providing new experiences that bond us closer together. There are several other reasons I love hiking with my dog, Dixie. While the quality time together is enough, being in nature soothes the mind, and the activity is great for both of our bodies. While I relieve my mind and get in some fun exercise, Dixie takes in all the sights, sounds, and smells that the trails have to offer. Though we usually stick to the same few trails, everything seems brand new to her, she thoroughly enjoys the time we spend outside, and she uses enough of her energy that for the rest of the day she is content if you just throw the ball across the living room a few times. Anything that naturally exhausts your dogs energy is good, right? Don’t forget that all it costs is a pair of hiking shoes and a sport harness! I’ll be sharing with you some of my favorite dog friendly trails right here in the Peoria area. Though most trails are dog friendly, your pet must be on a leash at all times, and if ever unsure, check the park district website for rules and regulations.

Along the Illinois River Bluff trail, which I access from Mossville Road, you can take in Robinson Park and Camp Wokanda. Robinson Park is Dixie’s favorite, but is more suited for both owners and pets that enjoy moderate activity. It is a very natural trail and you should wear proper hiking shoes and your pet should wear a comfortable harness. Though there are bridges in some spots, lush greenery, and tranquil creeks, there are also steep slopes, poison ivy, and sometimes fallen limbs or washouts. Another great area to explore is Detweiller Park. There are several different trails for all activity levels. Though there are some easy trails, you should you still wear proper footwear and your pet should wear a harness. Though there are steep slopes at Detweilller Park, the park district has made it a little easier by laying down posts as make shift “stairs”. It has as much to offer as Robinson Park, but is generally easier because it is convenient to take only a small loop of the whole trail. Visit the Peoria Park District website for details and maps.

The most “family friendly” trail is the Rock Island Trail Extension. We use the access point at Pioneer Parkway in Peoria. The trail is very clear, mostly flat, paved, and you will notice familiar landmarks along the way. There is still much to see and Dixie and I always enjoy ourselves. She especially enjoys going through the tunnel and playing with fallen hedge balls. This trail is wonderful for all ages and activity levels. You can enjoy a leisurely walk, an invigorating run, or even bicycling. A supportive walking/running shoe is always recommended, but hiking shoes are not needed, as the trail is paved. Also, if you and your best fur friend are only out for a stroll, a regular leash and collar will suffice. When exploring with your pets, always be prepared. Carry or be familiar with a map of the area, be alert when in nature, be aware of weather conditions, protect yourself with bug repellent and/or sun block, stay hydrated, pay attention to your pet’s behavior, don’t push yourself or your pet too far, and don’t forget to have fun!

by: Lisa DeWan

The Joy and Consequences of Partying Like a Dog

by:Kathy Cain, Peoria Area Veterinary Group of Dunlap

I have been waiting forever for my two legged friends to come over and play with me. This only happens a couple of times a year and I always know when mom is preparing for it. Tables set up with food for me to smell and I know I’ll grab something sweet to eat. No other time of year do I get to eat anything other than the same old stuff mom plops into my dish morning and night. I just have to do it when she is not looking. I’m fast and sneaky so no problem!

I wait and wait forever for my friends to come over to play with me. I keep on thinking they are here but no just those other loud things that move by the house quickly. Oh there goes the squirrels running up the tree… that cat just ran past me where is he going? I better go check it out… where did mom go?? What… what… AAHHHH they are here! They’re here! Come on come on what are you doing? Come inside quickly… let’s play let’s play!

Finally, we are running around playing, toys are being flung around! I don’t know why they don’t chase after the toys either, they just keep picking them up and throwing them. No competition for me! I always win! I got the ball let’s go… let’s go.. I got it run! I’m faster than them all. Wait where are you guys going? The taller two legged people are talking to my friends now, I guess I’ll see what mom is doing.

It smells so good… oh my oh my. Everyone seems to be occupied talking to each other and eating off those flat trays. Why don’t I eat off of those trays? Where is mom… there she is talking and eating. She will never know, here is my chance! Oh no I hear yelling… I think she is coming… RUN! RUN! Almost choking but it tastes soooo good. I better swallow before she tries to take it out of my mouth. Yes it tastes fabulous. If only I could have more. I just don’t understand what the problem is. She is eating the stuff so why can’t I?

I can keep playing now that my friends are back running around too. As the night continues we hang out on the couch together watching that moving screen that mom stares at all the time. The tall two legged people seem to just be getting louder and more have invaded my house at this time.

Why do I feel funny? I think I will lay down for awhile… not feeling so hot! Ugh what are those noises coming from my body… Hey mom I might need to go outside. Where is she? There she is in the place the food tables are set up in. I really need to go now! Let’s go outside!

Noises continue to come from my body… I thought I had to go to the bathroom but I keep walking around and nothing is coming out! Oh it’s starting to hurt more. Mom continues to talk but she doesn’t sound very happy? I feel like she may still be angry at me for stealing that food off the table but I am not sure. Maybe she yells at me for a reason. But I still don’t understand why they can eat that stuff and I can’t. Everyone else seems to be feeling ok.

Finally relief but I can’t stop going to the bathroom. Is it ever going to stop? Oh I don’t feel good at all. I think next time I’ll try to listen to mom and stay away from the table. Every year she makes it harder and harder for me to reach. Now that I think about it every time I do eat food off of that table this is how I feel.

Until next party… it smells soooo good!

Don’t be a Fool, Keep Your Pets Cool!


by: Leah Richardson

It’s that time of the year in the Peoria Area where you want to be outside, having fun, and being with the people you love – especially your pets! As the days get longer, you feel bad leaving your beloved pets at home and want to take them with you wherever you go – but at what cost?

Of course it’s natural to want to be with your pets all the time, but it’s not worth risking their precious lives over. Did you know that even if you crack the windows, it doesn’t help them stay cool? Cats and dogs sweat differently than us humans do. They pant and sweat only through their paw pads. While standing or sitting on some warm upholstery, there is nowhere for the heat to escape their bodies, making it extremely dangerous for them.

Most of the car’s temperature increase happens within the first half hour – up to a 40 degree increase! Even on a relatively “cool” day at 70 degrees, YES, even in the shade, and YES, even with the windows cracked!! So please, please, please just make the safe bet and leave your pet at home if you are running errands on a warm day. If you find that your pet seems to be overheated, get them some cool water right away, and try to use a cool cloth to rub on them to also help decrease their body temperature.

On the flip-side, if you come across a pet in a parked car while you are out, try to get all the information you can about the vehicle and description of the pet and go into the nearest establishments to try and find the owner right away!

Have a safe and cool summer!!