We’ve all heard the saying that a dog is “man’s best friend,” and while that is true, there are so many other health benefits to having a furry companion! Adding one more to your family can be the catalyst needed to make the changes toward a healthier lifestyle.
1) Promotes physical activity:
No matter where you live, hiking trails, dog parks, sidewalks, or open grass are available! Not only is this great quality time with your dog, but it also gives you daily movement! Dog owners are more likely to meet their daily exercise requirements which is a bonus to the bond being built with your pet! And depending on the size of your dog, walking them can be like weight training and strengthening your muscles.
Something that seems so simple, like playing fetch or tug-of-war, can increase your overall movement in a day, which comes with a healthier life!
Having the responsibility to exercise your dog, and yourself provides options that can reduce overeating due to boredom and can maintain a healthy body weight.
2) Can positively affect mental health:
Having a dog is having a permanent best friend. Dogs love you unconditionally without judgment. They are always there to listen, and you are truly never lonely. And when you’re having a bad day, they give you responsibilities to lift you back to your feet.
On top of the physical benefits of walking your dog, the fresh air and boost of vitamin D can elevate your mood. When out for a walk, dogs want to interact with any other dog they see. This means dog owners talk more with other dog owners. Even if it’s a short interaction, having a dog allows you to socialize in a way that you may not have had without them.
With a positive effect on mental health, this may reduce the urge to emotionally eat and potentially overeat the greasy foods our body craves in those moments.
3) Encourages a healthier diet:
You can eat the same food as your dog! Yes, you heard that right. Just like us, dogs should have foods that are packed with nutrients and flavors. Below are some foods that you and your furry friend can enjoy together:
Blueberries – contain antioxidants, anti-inflammatory properties, fiber, and vitamins C & E.
Carrots – have fiber, vitamins A, C, & K, and potassium.
Chia seeds – aids in hydration. Have fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, and antioxidants.
Kale – has anti-inflammatory properties, vitamins A, E, & C, and antioxidants.
Pumpkin – low calorie with soluble fiber, carotenoids, potassium, and vitamin C.
Quinoa – a complete protein with fiber, folate, iron, and phosphorus.
Sweet potatoes – contains vitamin A & C and antioxidants.
Yogurt – filled with probiotics, protein, calcium, B vitamins, & iodine.
A dog requires a regular feeding schedule. This type of structure can help with the reduction of binge eating. And cooking can be much more enjoyable when cooking for two!