to be with you every step of the way.
Dogs and humans have helped each other for more than 12,000 years as loving friends, faithful companions and working partners.
Research suggests interaction with dogs can promote health and well-being by providing companionship, emotional support and comfort to their handlers. Interaction with dogs can improve blood pressure, heart rate, stress, depression, anxiety, pain, fatigue and social functioning, and even just touching an animal has been found to decrease an individual’s anxiety.
Incorporate your dog into your daily habits to help maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Use Your Furry Friend as Motivation and Establish a Routine
Research has found dog walking can improve a dog owner's physical activity levels, and the motivation and encouragement provided by animals may strengthen engagement in a weight loss program.
In addition, walking has a number of health benefits for your pooch - and you! Something as simple as a daily brisk walk can help you live a healthier life, and the more frequently you walk, the greater the health benefits.
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Prevent or manage various conditions, including heart disease, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes
- Strengthen your bones
- Lift your mood
- Improve your balance and coordination
Emotional Health Benefits
Outside of the physical benefits of walking with your dog, there are also emotional benefits. Walking with your dog will provide companionship, which has been found to decrease feelings of loneliness and isolation. Spending time with dogs can also help reduce stress and anxiety.
Additional Exercises with your Dog*
- Take your dog for a long walk and try speed walking at intervals; start with a short burst of speed walking for a house length or a block length depending on your abilities. It’s much better for your health than walking slowly and a great way to practice the “heel” command with your dog.
- Throw the ball around for your dog. As well as great exercise, it can help improve your hand/eye coordination and keep your dog current with the "come" or "fetch" commands.
Socialize with your Dog
- Go to the park with your dog, and you may find that you’re chatting with more people than you would otherwise. Dogs are a great way of breaking the ice.
- Schedule a play date with a friend who has a dog--four’s company!
- Go to, or even initiate, community events, such as pooch parades and group walks or hikes.
- Take your dog to a sidewalk café or coffee shop. Everyone loves the person with the well-mannered dog at the café. This is a great time to practice the “down” and “stay” commands too.
Remember, it’s important to learn about caring properly for your pet, including how much water they need and when to feed them. If you’re considering adding a pet to your household, don’t forget about the many great animals in shelters waiting to be rescued.
Inspired to Help Others Who May Benefit from Animal Assistance?
- Find local volunteer opportunities with animals here.
- Offer to dog-sit for a friend.
- Join a friend or family member for a long walk with his or her dog. You can enjoy time with a loved one and the benefits of being around a dog while getting some great exercise.*
*Talk to your physician before beginning any change in exercise or activity level.