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CANINE TRAINERS KEEP US ACTIVE : healyourdognaturally.com

Michael Arloski

About 11:30 a.m. each day, our dog Scooby Doo’s internal clock goes off and the urging begins. He knows that if he is persistent enough at bugging my wife and me as we work at home he’ll get what he wants, a mid-day walk. Seeing the leash, he transforms from a 12-year-old border collie mix into a puppy, jumping for joy and racing around the yard, preparing for takeoff. Our reward is not only seeing his joy but also the mind and body benefits that come from the exercise and a break in our workday.

Three things that help people live healthy lives are regularity of activity, fun and connectedness. Dogs deliver on all three, and there is proof they may be among our best wellness motivators. If you are a dog walker, you’re more likely to meet the recommended daily guidelines for activity.

Animal behaviorist Dr. Sandra McCune, co-editor of the book, “The Health Benefits of Dog Walking for People and Pets,” said that dogs are the reason behind two-thirds of the walks their owners take each week, according to a recent survey of more than 1,011 adults commissioned by pet food company Mars Petcare. One-quarter of people with children and pets regularly visit parks and other outdoor spaces because of their dog. The poll also found that 44 percent of dog owners aged 65 and older exercise on a weekly basis because of their dog. McCune also states that dog walkers are more likely to connect with other people and converse, building social and community ties.

Dogs who nudge us into more movement do so regardless of the weather and so we get out more regularly. When our dogs have regular exercise and play, they are more relaxed, have better digestion, showing us that we can have the same benefits.

A client of mine who lives on the Eastern Plains needed a walking companion to help her lose weight. Her only neighbor nearby was not a good candidate, but his overweight golden retriever was. The neighbor was happy to have someone walk his dog. Walking together regularly, my client and her canine buddy have both succeeded in weight loss.

The health benefits of pets of all kinds are not just limited to increasing our activity. Pets are good for your heart, figuratively and literally. Researchers tell us that pet-owning heart attack patients survive longer than those without pets. Male pet owners showed lower levels of triglycerides and cholesterol levels. Other studies show pet owners with lower blood pressure readings. Playing with a dog can even elevate levels of serotonin and dopamine – nerve transmitters that are known to have pleasurable and calming properties.
Four-legged fitness trainers are a resource not to be overlooked. Take your dog, or somebody else’s, out for a walk and be well.

Yours in Health,
Sar Rooney BHSc., ND., DC., DASc., GDSc. (Hons) Zoology, MHATO, MATMS.
Canine Naturopath, Naturopathic Physician, Research Health Scientist, Zoologist 
Naturopathic Animal Services






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