Monday, April 20, 2020

Celebrating Canine Fitness Month During COVID-19

By Alandea Muñoz

To help prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Bay Area residents have been ordered to
stay home and avoid all non-essential outings until at least May 3rd. Fortunately, stepping out for fresh air and exercise is not only permitted, but encouraged, as long as we practice social distancing. Lucky for us dog lovers and our furry best friends, this means extra opportunities to enjoy our natural surroundings while staying healthy and fit together. It also creates a great and simple opportunity to support SVPP!

In celebration of April being Canine Fitness Month, here are five scenic dog-friendly trails that are open during the Bay Area’s shelter in place mandate.

  • Los Gatos Creek Trail: This 9.7 mile recreational trail can be accessed by you and your on-leash canine companion via many different starting points in Los Gatos, Campbell, Willow Glen or San Jose. Enjoy a leisurely stroll, brisk walk, or jog with your dog along the tranquil Los Gatos Creek, one of Santa Clara Valley’s last remaining urban streams that serves as flood protection and an important water resource for the area’s plants and wildlife. The trail connects to Vasona Lake County Park, where you can take in the beauty of the nearby Santa Cruz Mountains and the colorful wildflowers in bloom.
  • Santa Teresa County Park: Tucked away just ten miles south of downtown San Jose, this park offers 15 different trails for all fitness levels, ranging from 2.4 to 8.3 miles for you and your on-leash pup to enjoy. It’s the perfect way to experience some peace and quiet away from city life without leaving Silicon Valley. You’ll likely even see some wildflowers and grazing cows to complete the experience!
  • Almaden Quicksilver County Park: The former home to more than 1,800 quicksilver (better known as mercury) miners and their families for 135 years, this South San Jose park is rich in history and also offers more than 34 miles of on-leash dog-friendly trails ranging from 2.6 to 16.1 miles.
  • Pearson Arastradero Preserve: On-leash dogs are welcome at this open space in the heart of Palo Alto, which offers more than 10 panoramic miles of trails, ranging from 1.5 to 5.2 miles each, for you to explore. Note that the Arastradero Preserve parking lot is currently closed, and there is no parking allowed along Arastradero Road or Page Mill Road, but trails remain open, making this a perfect getaway for Palo Alto residents with dogs.
  • Pulgas Ridge Open Space Preserve: A hidden gem in Redwood City, this preserve is currently open on weekdays only, with on-leash dogs permitted on all trails, including the area’s typically off-leash dog area. Take your pick from six miles of trails offering stunning views of the San Francisco Peninsula and the surrounding hillside.

No matter where you choose to get fit with your dog, remember to follow the proper protocols to keep you and your loved ones healthy and safe. Walk solo or hike with members of your household, maintain a six-feet distance from people you don’t live with, wash your hands before and after your outing, and bring hand sanitizer if possible. Take advantage of the natural environment near your home without venturing too far away, and avoid peak times and crowded areas. Bring plenty of water for you and your pup so everyone stays hydrated. And, double check that the trail you want to visit is open that day, as the COVID-19 situation continues to evolve daily. 

Whether you opt for two blocks or two miles, be sure to log every walk on WoofTrax, the free iOS and Android app that makes it easier than ever for you to support SVPP while staying fit with your dog! Simply download the app, select SVPP as your charity of choice, and track every walk to collect points and automatically fundraise. The more “active walkers” (users who log their walks at least once a week) there are walking as part of the SVPP community, the greater the donation! Even if you aren't currently a dog parent, you can still participate!

Thanks for doing your part to flatten the curve in the Bay Area, while keeping your canine fit and supporting SVPP. Happy Canine Fitness Month! 

Alandea Muñoz is an SVPP volunteer, content contributor and devoted dog mom.