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Stanley Edelson Healthy Dog NJ
Jan 07, 2019

How to Make Your Pet Live a Healthier Life

Diane Grigg Finley

Stanley Edelson Healthy Dog NJ

What are the odds of keeping New Year’s resolutions for 2019? By February, the majority of them have fallen by the wayside, replaced by old habits creeping back and the guilt associated with lack of commitment. Perhaps our best friends can assist in helping us stay on track and be more disciplined.

Living a healthier lifestyle makes sense. Much of what we do on a daily basis, our pets would enjoy doing also. Short of getting them a gym membership, easing into an exercise regimen with your buddy is the best way to not give up.

Dogs live for activity. Their enthusiasm is infectious, encouraging us to stay on track. According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, about one-half of the nation’s pets are considered overweight. Combining a weight loss resolution for both you and your pet increases the chance of success while naturally strengthening the human-animal bond.

Walking is the simplest and most beneficial. Its low impact appeals to both humans and animals of all ages and shapes. It is easy to fit into a busy schedule, and costs virtually nothing except for a good pair of sneakers and a sturdy harness and leash.

Regular exercise keeps joints flexible, maintains a healthy weight, and encourages a better lifestyle. A study done by Michigan State University found that dog owners were 34 percent more likely to get at least 150 minutes of exercise per week then those who did not have a dog.

Make sure everyone is clear of any health issues before embarking on a new routine. Take it slow. Keeping sessions short initially makes it easier to maintain motivation. Remember that pets can’t sweat, they pant to cool down. Excessive exercising should be discouraged, and exercise should be done at a time of day when the weather is favorable. Know your limitations and your pet’s too.

Cats also enjoy exercise. Even though they may not be able to accompany you on a daily walk, engaging in 15 to 20 minutes of focused activity will keep them slim and happy. Instead of picking up that junk food, pick up a cat toy and watch your feline engage in a healthy game of “hunt”.

Interacting with an animal produces significant positive changes. Released endorphins contribute to a lower heart rate, which reduces blood pressure. These feel-good hormones trigger a more positive and energized outlook. Alleviating anxiety lessens the need to resort to old familiar negative habits. After a bit, the cravings subside and a healthier choice is made.

Resolutions and reflections don’t always involve exercise and healthier eating. Slowly incorporate changes. Making time for oneself on a daily basis is equally important to happiness and contentment. Too often life revolves around everything else but the Self. Yet taking care of the Self and honoring the nourishment of Spirit is of the utmost importance.

This is an area where our animals shine. They know how to let life unfold in the present moment. They are masters at being in the Now, teaching us to let go of the past and not worry about the future, trusting that everything will be OK. Leave the mistakes and regrets behind.

If a resolution is broken, acknowledge, accept and move on. The idea of setting healthy goals for the New Year is a positive one. Just remember you are not alone. Your faithful friend is right by your side, reminding you to be content and joyful, knowing you are exactly where you need to be.