If you follow Proud Dog Mom on Instagram then you probably know I’m all for living a healthy lifestyle. I’m guilty of drinking the yoga kool-aid and I try to get my two dogs—Diego and Gigi—their daily exercise too. If we can take our physical activity outside to breathe in the fresh air, all the better. Plus, I love cooking nourishing meals for both myself and my dogs. As an advocate for healthy living, I was immediately intrigued by this article by Pretty Fluffy. Editor Serena Faber-Nelson highlights three healthy habits that will benefit both you and your pup!
One of the hardest things about implementing a healthy lifestyle for yourself and your pet is time. While our health should be our number one priority, usually it gets bumped down the list when work, family, friends, and other commitments pop up. So to make things easier, here are three simple healthy habits—each taking just minutes—that you and your dog can start today.
Full Body Brush
We all know we should brush our dog’s coat, but very few of us do it daily, and even less give ourselves a daily full dry body brush.
Brushing has the following benefits for both humans and dogs:
- Boosts circulation by encouraging blood flow
- Exfoliates the skin and stimulates natural oils
- Eliminates toxins through stimulating the lymph nodes and supporting a healthy immune system
For yourself, simply use a dry body brush daily on dry skin working in circular motions brushing in upward strokes towards the heart.
For your dog, brush daily with a gentle motion removing the dead hair, ensuring no matting occurs within the coat.
Stretching and Simple Massage
While all of us would love to duck off to the masseuse once a week, that rarely happens. By taking five minutes out of every day to stretch and massage your body, you keep your muscles rested and supple.
While dogs will stretch naturally, canine massage has the additional benefit of increasing circulation for dogs, releasing endorphins, and reducing stiffness.
To massage your pooch, simply apply slight pressure with your palms as you would normally pat your dog.
Experiment with circular motions and movements, making note of what your dog enjoys and spots where they may be holding tension. Remember, you’re not a trained masseuse so keep it fairly light and short in duration.
This routine can become a lovely daily ritual between you and your dog. It’s a great way to bond and also allows you to know your dog’s body inside out, allowing you to keep your eye on any future health issues or change.
It goes without saying that your dog needs daily exercise.
However, one of the biggest lapses dog owners admit to is not walking their dog on a daily basis.
We’ve all been there—it’s the end of a long day, it looks like it might rain, we haven’t even started to cook dinner yet…and we decide we’ll take them for an extra long walk tomorrow. Which almost never happens.
The thing is you’re not only cheating your dog out of the health benefits of daily exercise, you’re cheating yourself.
It’s widely accepted that walking for just 30 minutes a day helps you lose body fat, improves your fitness levels, and assists in avoiding all sorts of nasties – such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and osteoporosis.
For dogs, the news is even better. It’s their chance to explore, improve their fitness, engage their senses, and exercise their joints. It’s the #1 thing to keep your pooch happy and healthy on a physical and emotional level.
By introducing one or two short walks into your daily schedule you’re doing both yourself and your dog a favor.
How To Make Your Healthy Habits Stick
- Start small. Even just a few minutes a day makes a difference.
- Be consistent. Carve out a time that suits you and make it a daily ritual i.e. massaging your dog before you go to bed each night, going for a walk first thing in the morning etc.
- Commit to at least 60 days. After that, the habit should become second nature—in fact, after only a few days your dog should be used to the habit.
- Make your habits a priority. Example: In our household, the TV is not to be turned on until Soda [AKA Serena’s dog] has been for a walk that day.
- Remember the benefits. These habits will boost the health of both you and your dog, in addition to strengthening the bond you share.
A Little About Pretty Fluffy
What daily rituals do you have with your dog?