Your dog is a valued member of your family. He provides love, companionship, and plenty of laughs. There’s nothing better than snuggling up with your four-legged companion at the end of a long day.
The health and happiness of your dog are incredibly important to you. You feed him high-quality food, buy him toys, and give him plenty of belly rubs. Still, you may find that he doesn’t seem completely satisfied. Did you know that your health can impact your dog, too? Here’s how.
The Impact of Poor Physical Health
While most dogs love snuggling, belly rubs, and naps, they’re not content to sit still for long. Dogs love going out for walks, running around, and playing.
If you’re in poor health, you may not be able to run around or go for long walks. These activities provide your dog with exercise and mental stimulation. They also tire him out. Without enough exercise, your dog may be prone to weight gain and health problems of his own.
Lack of mental stimulation can leave him bored. He may be more likely to chew on things in the house that he shouldn’t or get into mischief while you’re not around. You may come home from work to find shoes destroyed, pillows ripped up, or your child’s toys ruined.
How Your Mental Health Plays a Role
It’s not just your physical health that can impact your dog. Your mental health can also affect him as well. Dogs are sensitive animals that are incredibly in tune with the emotional state of their humans. When your mental health suffers, your dog’s mental state is likely to suffer, too.
Studies have shown that a dog’s cortisol levels mirror those of their humans. When you’re stressed, your dog is more likely to become stressed or anxious. Just as chronic stress can impact your mental (and physical) health, it can also negatively impact your dog.
Improving Your Health Can Improve Your Dog’s Health and Happiness
Just as poor health (both physical and mental) can impact the health of your dog, taking steps to improve your health can improve the health and happiness of your dog. As you become more active, your dog becomes more active, too. Make your dog your exercise buddy. Instead of taking a walk around the block on your own, take him for a walk with you. The exercise can help you both to lose weight and decrease your risk for issues like heart disease, diabetes, and more.
Pay attention to the food you both eat. Limit your intake of highly processed foods and instead opt for fresh fruits and veggies as well as lean proteins and healthy fats. If you don’t have a lot of time to cook (or you don’t necessarily enjoy cooking) there are plenty of websites that offer fast, easy, healthy meals that you can make. Consider adding some supplements like those made by Gundry MD to help boost metabolism or improve digestion. Speak with your vet about a healthy diet for your dog and if supplements can help improve his health as well.
You can also take steps to improve your mental health. While studies have shown that dogs can help boost your mental state and decrease stress levels, they may not be able to fix all of your problems. You can practice mindful meditation, deep breathing, or other exercises like visualization. Start a journal to keep track of your feelings and identify triggers that make you feel anxious or stressed. Be sure to get plenty of sleep each night. If you’re having trouble sleeping, create a relaxing bedtime routine. Avoid caffeine too close to bedtime and shut off your computer and television about an hour before you go to sleep. Of course, don’t forget to snuggle your dog, give him plenty of head pats and tummy rubs. If you find that your stress is too much, don’t be afraid to reach out or seek professional help.
You love your dog and want the best for him. Taking care of yourself (mentally and physically) is one of the best ways you can help to ensure that he stays happy and healthy, too.