If you’ve embarked on a mission for healthy living, it’s no wonder you might start thinking about how your dog can live a healthy lifestyle, too. Many pet owners don’t realize that there are plenty of ways you can keep your dogs healthy, ultimately bridging the gap between what’s healthy for you and what’s healthy for your dog. Fortunately, not only are there easy workouts for you, but plenty of easy workouts for dogs, too—and you can work on them together.
Exercise With Them
A dog needs exercise, and unfortunately it’s an underserved need for many dogs (though not for these extra muscular dogs!). Pets love a good physical workout—so why not work out with them? And furthermore, most dogs just happen to be great motivators; they’re often very excited to get going.
First and foremost, you shouldn’t underestimate the power of walking. According to The Journal Preventive Medicine, “Dog owners who reported walking their dogs were almost 25 percent less likely to be obese than people without dogs.”
A simple 30-minute walk at different paces can go a long way. Jogging, hiking, biking, and running also great team exercises. Don’t forget to always bring water along for you and your dog. And if your pet isn’t in the best of shape, start them off slow so as not to over exert them. For hiking trips, be sure to carry your ID tag and collapsing water bowls.
Work on Your Pet’s Mental Health
Living a healthy lifestyle isn’t just about exercising and eating the right foods. Your mental health plays a huge role in your overall well-being. The same can be said for your dog. Whether you realize it or not, studies have found that a dog’s brain resembles a humans, especially in terms of how they process emotions. This means that, just like us, they can experience depression, stress, anxiety, and various other emotional issues.
As such, focus on mental enrichment, which comes in many different forms. For example, you could schedule times to play with them throughout the day, and arrange dog playdates. There are also plenty of enrichment and dog puzzle toys to help keep them mentally stimulated. This is especially true for young dogs and dogs who have more energy than others. Don’t just play physical games with them—play smart games with them. For example, instead of giving them their food as usual, hide their bowl and let them use their noses to hunt for it. Simple activities like these are fun and stimulating.
Ease Their Anxiety
It’s extremely difficult to lead a healthy lifestyle when you’re riddled with anxiety. Dogs with anxiety exhibit many signs and symptoms, each preventing them from being the happy, healthy dog you want them to be. Some basic signs of anxiety in dogs include frequent trembling, passive escape behavior/hiding, tucked tails, panting, destructive behavior, aggression, and excessive barking. If you notice many of these signs in your dog, it could be a telltale sign that your pet has anxiety.
First and foremost, don’t blame yourself: it’s not uncommon for adopted dogs to carry trauma from the past. Dogs could also have anxiety due to unseen illnesses. There are several ways you can treat anxiety in your dogs. In addition to the tips previously mentioned here, like exercising, massaging, and bonding, you should also provide them with the appropriate oral treatments.
There are medications available for dogs with anxiety, but as you’re embarking on a healthy, holistic lifestyle, natural remedies are probably the best option (though you should speak with your veterinarian before you take things into your own hands). For example, CBD derived from cannabis hemp is a great, natural, non-intoxicating way to calm your dog. For more information on how CBD works for you dog, visit https://cannabidog.com/.
Just like a human, dogs love being touched and massaged. Physical touch goes a long way towards helping with mental, emotional, and physical health and well-being. Dog owners can take a class on dog massages and dog body awareness, which can prove instrumental to your dog’s overall health. Or, you can search for dog trainers who specialize in that area.
“Body awareness is teaching your dog where its hind end is, and helping them become aware of what [it’s] doing,” Tiffany Talley, certified behavioral consultant and dog trainer said in an interview. “We will sometimes put a body wrap on them, like an Ace bandage, so they can actually feel where their body is. And anecdotally, people and their dogs that have that interaction find they’re a little less anxious.”