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91% of pet owners consider their furry companion as a member of the family. However, did you know only half of owners walk their dog at least once a day? In fact, 50% of fur-baby moms and dads admit to rarely walking their dogs, not knowing it’s a two-way street.
People who live with at least one pet tend to have lower blood pressure. They also have a decreased risk of heart disease than those who don’t have pet animals. This health boost is due to the extra exercise that playing and walking a dog requires, along with the stress relief of having a dependable best friend on hand.
Here are three additional reasons you and your dog should enjoy daily walks:
Feel Less Lonely and Stressed
Quality walks with your four-legged friend can reduce feelings of loneliness and stress. Contact with pets (of with humans for dogs) seem to counteract stress responses by lowering stress hormones and heart rates. This contact also lowers anxiety and fear levels, as well as elevate feelings of calmness. Studies even show that dogs are crucial for helping seniors cope with stress and loneliness, as well as help calm pre-examination stress for students.
Improve Your Physical and Mental Health
Both humans and dogs have plenty of health issues that can be prevented or managed through routine exercise and a wholesome diet. Walking three times a week (at the very least) can improve your sense of well-being, lower your blood pressure, increase energy levels, and reduce your weight by 5% and your dog’s by 15%.
Exercise will also make your pup happy, which is evident in how much his or her tail wags whenever they see you holding their leash. Plus, since you are partly taking your dog out to relieve themselves, you will also see an improvement in their behaviors inside the house. Your dog also needs to ward off boredom, especially since he or she may be cooped inside the house all day. Just like you, dogs can suffer from obesity and poor health without proper exercise. Thus, heading out on a relaxing, long walk can help keep the extra pounds away.
Strengthen Your Bond
Last but definitely not the least, daily walks provide quality time for you and your best friend. One-on-one time is extremely important to your dog’s behavioral development. It will also build a stable foundation for a trusting and loving relationship.
Though the studies are not as extensive, the benefits of walking your dog are impressive enough that many clinical establishments are opening their doors to animal-assisted interventions. Otherwise known as pet therapy, this protocol is often used alongside conventional medicine to treat various ailments.
If you are new to long walks, start slow with 15-minutes, then gradually work your way up to 30-60 minute daily walks. Just remember to keep your dog leashed; to keep him or her on the safe side of the road; and to always have paper bags and newspapers on-hand for potty breaks. Ready? Let’s go!