Georgia Veterinarians Partner with State Parks
To motivate dog owners to get more exercise for themselves and their pets, the Georgia Veterinary Medical Association (GVMA) has partnered with Georgia’s state parks to encourage healthy walks in the woods, according to a news release.
Through the new Pets RXercise program, veterinarians can give their canine patients a “prescription” to visit a Georgia State Park. The prescription is redeemed for free parking, which is normally $5. Park admission is free and there is no fee for hiking on trails.
Pets RXercise is part of the Georgia State Park System’s Tons of Fun Fitness Challenge, in conjunction with the GVMA. The program is sponsored by Purina Veterinary Diets and Pfizer Animal Health.
Pets RXercise is the first program of its kind to be initiated by a state veterinary medical association. It’s also the first venture combining animal nutrition and veterinary pharmaceuticals solutions, in tandem with regular exercise, to create a multi-faceted approach to prevent obesity for happier, healthier pets and people.
“Reaching and maintaining an ideal weight and fitness level can help both pets and their people live happier, longer lives,” said Dr. Denise Funk, GVMA President. “As veterinarians, we are delighted to launch Pets RXercise as a public health initiative to create awareness and provide an exercise-focused framework that can be tailored to health needs, which ultimately reflects the cherished animal-human bond.”
Pets RXercise invites pets and their owners to enjoy the great outdoors and get those endorphins pumping in Georgia’s state parks, which includes more than 40 state parks that allow leashed dogs on trails and in campgrounds. Trails range from easy lake loops and paved paths, to longer and more challenging hikes. State Park officials stress that keeping dogs leashed, and cleaning up after them, is for the pet’s own safety, as well as the safety of wildlife and other park visitors.
“Guests are sometimes surprised to learn that dogs can get lost in the woods, and they can get hurt if they chase wildlife,” said Director Becky Kelley. “It’s very important that they stay leashed while enjoying their walk. We want to see visitors enjoying the parks with their four-legged family members, and we also want to ensure that everyone is safe and that wildlife is not affected.”
Walking trails can be found at www.GeorgiaStateParks.org/petsrxercise.