The Healing Power of Pets: 4 ways your dog can improve your health

My dog Lincoln is a lot of things. But most of all, he’s like a happy pill packed into a puppy.

Sure he sheds like mad and has a bit of a drooling problem. He makes black clothing virtually impossible to wear. He also has a touch of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). I’m still trying to weed out the foods that wreak havoc on his belly and my living room floor.

Another real resume builder is that Linc’s exceptionally gifted at magic, having no trouble making a Houdini-like escape from his double lock, Alcatraz-style doggy crate. The crate was only a temporary experiment to avoid another Category 5 poop-nado from ripping through my living room while out to dinner. And still, despite having to toss a number of chic rugs, convert my entire wardrobe to pale colors, and accept that my home will always have slob accent marks adorning the walls, I love my dog…a lot.

Pets have the power to improve our mental and physical health. Here’s how your dog is so much more than just a dog:

  • Dogs listen and don’t respond. No talking back, sassy comments, no attitude or judgement. Who needs a therapist when you have someone that will patiently listen and only charge you in hugs, licks and belly rubs?

  • Dogs are always happy to see you, making them the ultimate companion. It’s hard to feel lonely when your pup is always by your side, or patiently waiting for you to come home from a long day at the office.

  • Dogs are the best workout pal - always excited to exercise (you know I had to find a space for fitness somewhere, right?!) It only takes 3 walks, 30 minutes each to hit the weekly workout recommendation for healthier living. Throw in a few runs and you’re already at the weekly dose of vigorous exercise, too.

  • Here’s a tweak to your usual tummy trimming tricks - 10 minutes of playing tug of war helps to strengthen core and stabilizer muscles. Next time your dog brings you a slobbery rope, play with him and brace your body while you do.

If you are lucky enough to have a dog, or a pet you love, you’re lucky enough. Show them how much you care by taking them for walks, runs, playing fetch, cuddling with them, and giving them a little peanut butter here and there. Your pup and your body will thank you for it!

Lincoln getting ready for the Game of Thrones premier.

Lincoln getting ready for the Game of Thrones premier.