Fleas are big business. According to Transparency Market Research, the market for flea and tick products worldwide reached $1.48 billion in 2017 and will grow by 5% per year for the foreseeable future. These products can take the form of ‘spot-ons,’ sprays, oral pills, shampoos, powders, and collars. Topical spot-ons are the fastest growing segment because of their effectiveness (68% of cat owners and 60% of dog owners buy them).
Each month, a liquid is squeezed onto the cat’s or dog’s skin between the shoulder blades and is absorbed through the skin and hair. Not only are fleas killed, but the life cycle of the flea is broken. Because of the strength of this chemical treatment, some versions are only available with a veterinarian’s prescription, and pet owners should monitor their pets for side effects.
Sprays and oral medications can also be effective. Shampoos, powders, and collars all have their use as external tools to control fleas. Besides fleas, some products control ticks and heartworm (in dogs) as well.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulate the different products.
Insurance Coverage and Wellness Plans
Standard pet insurance policies do not cover flea treatment. Wellness plans often do, but the annual allowance may not be meaningful. Here are some of the wellness plan allowances we found:
Embrace Wellness Rewards covers flea, tick, and heartworm prevention, with no deductible and offers annual allowances up to $400.
Most pets will require some form of protection against fleas as well as ticks and heartworm. It is worth examining the costs of the different wellness programs to see if their allowances even make sense for this benefit.
What are the Costs Related to Flea Treatment?
Costs vary greatly with the type of treatment chosen. The spot-ons are the most expensive. They exist in cheaper over-the-counter versions, but the more effective versions require a veterinarian prescription.
They can cost from $10 to $23 per monthly treatment from online discount houses for the more popular Revolution, Frontline, and Advantage brands. The new 90-day Bravecto for dogs or cats runs about $50 (Prices at the vet can be twice as high). Dog and cat versions are different; dosages (and prices) also vary by your pet’s weight.
Why is Flea Treatment Important?
Besides being uncomfortable, flea bites can introduce microorganisms into your pet’s bloodstream. Your pet may be allergic to flea saliva and, if so, the resulting dermatitis can cause severe itching. Scratching opens the skin to bacteria, virus, and other parasites. Fleas are also part of the life cycle of tapeworms when pets ingest tapeworm-infected fleas as they clean themselves.
What Is Flea Treatment?
Should you see fleas on your pet, they are a minor part of the infestation. The rest of the life cycle (eggs, larvae, and pupa) will be throughout all the soft surfaces of your house, plus floorboards and cracks in baseboards.
Besides treating your pet, your house will need extensive cleaning, vacuuming, foggers, and sprays. Natural means, such as spreading boric acid powder and diatomaceous earth, are possibilities for people concerned that spot-ons might be toxic to pets.
The key is to break the life cycle of the fleas somehow.
This article was originally featured on www.petsquote.com, by By Sharon O’Day, June 10th, 2018
Is there anything better than strapping on your backpack, leashing up your dog, and heading outside for a day of hiking? Dogs make the best adventure partners for many reasons — they are happy to venture just about anywhere, provided you are by their side, they don’t care a bit about nasty weather, and they won’t complain if you can’t keep up.
The best part? Hiking with dogs is easy to do, and is suitable for people and dogs of all abilities. All you need is two legs, your favorite dog, and some basic gear to get started. Below you’ll find an overview of our favorite gear for hiking with dogs — everything you need to get started. You don’t need a lot of gear to start hiking with your dog.
A Sturdy Leash
Your leash is probably the most important piece of gear for hiking with your dog. No matter how well-trained your dog is, there are times when a leash will be crucial. Many parks have rules about keeping your dog on a leash, and dangerous conditions, wildlife, and other hikers make using a leash important for everyone’s safety. I recommend using a rugged 6-foot leash for most situations. Our favoriteleashes are made of biothane, which is sturdy and waterproof. I don’t recommend using any type of retractable leash, as these pose dangers for both you and your pup on the trail.
Collar and Harness
Your dog’s collar should be well-made and durable. These collars by Mighty Paw are completely waterproof and feature a reflective strip for walking in the dark. They’re made of coated nylon, which also makes them smell-proof and easy to clean. Be sure to attach your dog’s identification tags securely to the collar in case you become separated during a hike.
While some dog owners will opt to attach the leash directly to their dog’s collar, a harness is safer for dogs that pull excessively or are in training. Using a harness prevents neck and trachea injuries, and is more comfortable on long hikes. The Ruffwear Front Range Harness features two leash attachment points — at the front of the chest to resist pulling, and on the back for everyday walks.
LED Safety Light
Even if you don’t think you’ll be hiking in the dark, it’s important to be prepared in case your hike keeps you out past nightfall. That means a headlamp for you and a safety light for your dog. The SpotLit clip-on LED light attaches securely to your dog’s collar and provides a bright, long-lasting light for night-time adventures. A safety light also alerts other hikers and vehicles of your presence, and it’s a great way to keep track of your off-leash dog after sunset.
While dog boots aren’t critical for hiking with your dog, there are many situations where they can be very useful. Booties are great for dealing with temperature extremes, icy conditions, hiking on rocky terrain, and foot injuries. Get your dog used to wearing boots around the house and in the yard, so if they have to wear them hiking, it won’t be a big deal. We’ve tried a lot of different brands, and so far, our favorite dog boot is the Ruffwear Grip Trex. As long as you get the right size for your dog, these will not come off when you’re hiking. They’re also really great for walking on hot pavement.
A Treat Pouch and Treats
A treat pouch comes in handy for training on the trail.
As someone who uses positive reinforcement training methods with dogs who LOVE food, I find a sturdy treat pouch and yummy treats essential for all our outdoor excursions. The Rapid Rewards Treat Pouch from Doggone Good features a clip and a belt for easy attachment, and it also comes with a few extra pockets for your keys, phone, and poop bags. Of course, you could always keep your dog treats in your pocket, but there’s a good chance you’ll forget about them and find bits of dog food in with your clean laundry.
No matter how deep into the woods you venture, it’s important to pick up after your dog. Domestic animal waste in the backcountry has the potential to spread diseases to wildlife, contaminate rain run-off, and create algae blooms in nearby water sources. Keep a roll of biodegradable pet waste bags in the pocket of your treat pouch, and you’ll always be prepared when sh*!%t happens.
Water and a Collapsible Water Bowl
Clean drinking water on the trail is as important for your dog as it is for you. Unless you know that you’ll be hiking near reliable water sources, pack enough water to keep your dog hydrated on your hike. Whenever you stop for a water break, offer your dog a drink as well. A collapsible water bowl is the perfect lightweight solution for hiking with dogs and will fit easily into your day pack.
Dog First Aid Kit
Many of the essentials you carry in your own first aid kit can also be used for dogs. This includes gauze pads, bandaging, antiseptic wipes, antibiotic ointment, and Benadryl for bites and allergies. I would add a roll of Vetrap bandaging to your hiking first aid kit, as well as a tick remover. In addition to packing a small first aid kit, be sure to program the number of your dog’s veterinarian and the closest emergency animal hospital into your phone, just in case.
Additional Gear for Backpacking with Dogs
If you’re heading out on a multi-day hike with your dog, you will need some additional gear. Here’s what you need to get started backpacking with your dog.
A dog backpack is perfect for longer hiking trips.
Provided your dog is in reasonable shape, is full grown, and isn’t elderly, you should be able to train him to carry a backpack on longer hikes. Look for a pack with padding under the clasps and an adjustable fit. Whatever pack you choose should also be rugged and water resistant. The Kurgo Baxter Backpack for dogs comes in three sizes, and features an integrated harness with reflective trim, two saddlebags, and a handle for easy lifting. No matter which backpack you choose, be sure that your dog never carries more than 20% of his weight. Anything heavier could result in excess strain on muscles and joints.
Portable Bed or Sleeping Bag
Perhaps your dog cuddles right into your sleeping bag when you turn in, or maybe his thick fur coat allows him to sleep comfortably right on the ground. How you plan for sleeping outdoors with your dog will depend on many factors, including the size and breed of your dog and whether you want to share your own bed. Carrying a sleeping bag for your dog will definitely add extra weight to your pack, but it also adds a level of comfort that your dog will certainly appreciate. The Ruffwear Highlands Sleeping Bag weighs in at just 12.7 ounces, and is perfect for dogs of all sizes.
Dehydrated Dog Food
Every pound counts when you have to carry all of your weight on your back, and the same goes for your dog. Dry dog food is heavy, and the best way to cut weight from your pack (or your dog’s), is to switch to dehydrated food for backpacking trips. A 10 pound box of Honest Kitchen dog food makes 40 pounds of human-grade dog kibble. All you have to do is add water while you’re on the trail. It is made in the USA and comes in chicken, turkey, or beef.
Hiking with dogs is a fabulous way to get some exercise and get outside, and it’s the perfect opportunity to explore and bond with your favorite companion. With some extra gear and a little advanced preparation, you’ll be tail-ready in no time.
This article was originally posted on www.yourdogadvisor.com and it was written by Tara Schatz on December 2, 2018.
Any dog owner will have experienced the feelings of guilt when leaving their four-legged friend alone even for just a short amount of time. While it is completely natural for dogs to miss us and want us to come home as soon as possible, some dogs suffer severe cases of separation anxiety on a different level. Not only does this make going out on our own somewhat of a chore, but it also can cause your dog problems, not to mention your couch, shoes, table… the list goes on! Fortunately, there is now a completely natural way to ease separation anxiety and reduce the symptoms of anxiety in dogs using CBD treats.
If you are a new dog owner, keep an eye out for these seven signs of canine separation anxiety in the dog’s behavior, so you can manage their nervous demeanor before it becomes too severe.
Your Dog Suddenly Learns to Sing
Well, not quite. One of the primary signs of severe separation anxiety and distress in dogs is excessive howling or barking, as well as destructive chewing. While all dogs feel sad when they see their parents walk out the door, howling and/or scratching at the door trying to desperately follow you is a red flag that you need to take notice of.
You Come Home to An Accident
If your dog is already potty trained and provided you are meeting their bathroom needs and taking them out frequently, they shouldn’t feel the need to pee inside and it shouldn’t cause distress. Understandably, if you are gone for hours and hours, then an accident here and there is bound to happen. However, if you are normally only gone for an hour or two and you always come home to a pee or poop on your white sheepskin carpet, then something is definitely up. This is a common symptom of separation anxiety in dogs and we suggest consulting a dog behaviorist or professional dog trainer for further advice, treatment, and possible medication.
Destruction and Devastation
The strongest warning sign of separation anxiety and distress and, without a doubt, one of the worst is destructive behavior while you are out, even for short periods. If you regularly come home to find your furniture chewed up and your shoes destroyed, it won’t be hard to pinpoint the culprit. Many dog owners choose to crate train their dogs and they still often come home to find that Fido has broken free and destroyed his crate and everything around it.
Dog lovers will all agree that fireworks and thunderstorms are two things that the world could do without when it comes to the effects they can have on dogs. Think back to the last time you snuggled up by the fire with a glass of red wine in hand, all ready to settle in for the night to the sound of thunder… and then your dog just completely freaked out, panting excessively, hiding, crying—all of the things a pet parent never wants to see! The same is true with many dogs when they experience separation anxiety; they start panting like crazy usually just as they see you putting your shoes on to leave.
Another sign of anxiety in dogs can be repetitive pacing in the same pattern. Your dog might sometimes do this when you are home. However, if you notice that your pooch is frequently pacing more often than normal, you need to address it.
There is a saying about dogs that goes something like this: “you will never pee alone again!” This is definitely true for the majority of us dog lovers and is usually completely normal behavior. What isn’t normal per se is, if your dog suddenly starts being ultra clingy and possessive. While almost every dog wants to be by our side, most do have a small degree of independence at times. This can be something as simple as laying by the side of the bed instead of on it (and on top of you!) or in their own bed while you are sitting on the couch. A major telltale sign of separation anxiety is if they have to be on top of you all the time or they start barking or crying.
OK, by now you have probably realized that your dog has separation anxiety in one form or another. Here are a few pointers of what you can do to try and soothe them so you can leave the house with a clear conscience and not worry about leaving them alone in the future.
Speak to a dog trainer about crate training and overcoming problem behaviors
Start by leaving them alone for just 15 minutes before returning and increase the time gradually so they know you are coming home
Consult your vet to rule out any underlying health issues
Ensure they get plenty of exercise every day
Make sure they have their own “safe” place to comfort them
Try leaving an item of your clothing in their bed while you are out
The above list is quite basic and, of course, there is no guarantee that any of those things will work and if your dog’s separation anxiety is getting worse, then keep reading.
Using CBD to Treat Anxiety in Dogs
Fortunately, if your pup is experiencing separation anxiety for long periods and you have tried everything under the sun, but nothing works, there is a solution—and a downright effective one at that! Along with mental stimulation, CBD treats are a tasty way to stop your dog’s separation anxiety once and for all. It has been proven that giving your dog a treat as a part of positive reinforcement can hugely strengthen your already rock-solid bond while also giving him an all natural, therapeutic way to ease his nerves and his feeling of being anxious meltaway. CBD oil has been proven to work to heal a wide range of emotional and physical ailments, but most people agree the taste is not great. These natural and completely organic CBD dog treats are worth checking out, as thousands of dog owners around the globe and clicking onto the fact that CBD dog treats actually work when nothing else seems to. You can purchase them here and also read more about all of the different beneficial ingredients they are composed of and also find out exactly how CBD dog treats work to ease separation anxiety in dogs.
This article by Jennifer is originally published at FOMO Bones. Jennifer is the voice behind the FOMO Bones blog. She’s pretty sure in her past life, she was a Great Dane. However, we peg her as more of a labrador. Regardless of her breed, she’s a dog enthusiast who has 15 years experience training dogs and owners.
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the definition of arthritis is “the inflammation of joints.” Arthritis can be caused by a wide variety of conditions, such as infection (especially from a tick-borne disease), immune-mediated disease, trauma, and metabolic issues. The most common form of arthritis in dogs, however, is due to degenerative changes caused by developmental problems, age or overuse.
According to Pet Health Network, while all dogs regardless of age or breed can be affected by arthritis, certain factors increase a dog’s risk. Poor conformation, for example, can make a dog much more likely to develop arthritis. Large breeds, such as Labrador retrievers, golden retrievers, and German Shepherds, are more prone to arthritis, and obese dogs are more likely to develop it than are their fit counterparts. Additionally, older dogs are prone to arthritis because of the years of wear and tear on their joints.
Osteoarthritis or degenerative joint disease (DJD): This is the long-term deterioration of the cartilage surrounding the joints. This cartilage allows the joint to move in pain-free motions.When it becomes inflamed or wears down, your pet will most likely experience pain. Read more about DJD.
Hip dysplasia: This is a genetic developmental disease that results in malformation of the hip joint (a ball-and-socket joint). Chronic inflammation of the hip joints occurs because of misalignment, and the cartilage in the joint gradually deteriorates, causing pain and inflammation. There are various surgical procedures available to help dogs with hip dysplasia, as well as medications that can help alleviate the pain associated with it.
If you are considering a purebred puppy that may be at risk for hip dysplasia, consider getting a puppy from a breeder who has had both parents certified against hip dysplasia and other inherited forms of joint disease by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA). To learn more about OFA certification, visit their Web site at offa.org. Genetic screening for hip dysplasia is available for Labradors, as well, using the Hip Dysplasia DNA Dysgen Test®.
Elbow dysplasia: This is a hereditary disease in which the bones do not develop normally, causing misalignment of the joint, damage to the cartilage, and even chipping of the bones, which leads to chronic inflammation. This is most common in larger-breed dogs and is thought to be inherited. Surgery is often needed to correct this problem.
Knee dysplasia: Some dogs, especially small toy breeds, will have malformed knee joints. As with hip and elbow dysplasia, this is an inherited conformational defect that causes arthritis. Some of these dogs will also have knee caps that pop in and out of position; the medical term for this is “luxating patella.” A dog suffering from this will limp until the knee cap returns to the correct position. Surgery is often needed to correct knee dysplasia.
Signs & Symptoms
Arthritis can be mild to severe; your four-legged friend may experience different signs depending on the severity of the arthritis.
Signs and symptoms include:
Popping and cracking when the joint moves
Muscle wasting (the muscles by the joint become smaller)
Licking of the joint area
Slow to rise up from a resting position
Loss of appetite or unusual weight gain
Unwillingness to walk, jump, or climb stairs
Accidents in the house
Whining, panting, or whimpering
Depression or irritation
Diagnosis & Treatment
In order to treat your dog’s arthritis, your veterinarian will want to perform a thorough physical exam and take a complete history of your best friend. Your veterinarian will perform simple motion tests and observe your dog’s movements.
They may recommend the follow additional tests, as well:
Antibody/Antigen tests to identify if your pet has been exposed to tick-borne diseases, such as Lyme disease
PCR testing, if necessary, to confirm exposure to certain diseases
Chemistry tests to evaluate kidney, liver and pancreatic function as well as sugar levels
A complete blood count to screen for infection, inflammation, or anemia
Urine tests to screen for urinary tract infections and other diseases, and to evaluate the kidney’s ability to concentrate urine
A thyroid test to determine if the thyroid gland is producing too little thyroid hormone
Radiographs (x-rays) of the joints and back
Joint fluid analysis to help evaluate the cause
The most popular dog in the last 7 years is the Frenchie. If you don’t believe me, then you obviously don’t go on Instagram. They’re great dogs and they’re hearty, so they are good when it comes to holding their own with big dogs and kids. French Bulldogs are expensive because French Bulldog is just not an easy dog to breed. First of all, very few French Bulldogs can breed naturally, mainly due to their narrow hips which makes mounting difficult. Because of this, most Frenchie females must be artificially inseminated. This is a fairly costly and time consuming process. You’re looking at an average of 3,000-4,000 per puppy.
Although it is important to always supervise young children and dogs when they are together, the French Bulldog does very well with children. … French Bulldogs are companion dogs and thrive when they have human contact. They are not a breed that can be left alone for long periods or left outside to live.
Although it is important to always supervise young children and dogs when they are together, the French Bulldog does very well with children. … French Bulldogs are companion dogs and thrive when they have human contact. They are not a breed that can be left alone for long periods or left outside to live.
You have probably heard the saying that where there is one flea, there are likely hundreds or thousands more. It doesn’t take long for a few fleas to multiply into a major and fast-spreading infestation. Though fleas may not be quite as dangerous as ticks when it comes to transmitting diseases, your dog could still develop an allergic reaction to flea bites and an infestation could cause significant itching, irritation, and even hair loss. Luckily, there are many flea control and protection products on the market that are specifically designed to protect your dog against these pesky pests.
Being Proactive with flea shampoos that are made with various active ingredients but the two main types are pyrethroids and pyrethins. Both are powerful insecticides, but pyrethrins are natural while pyrethroids are synthetic. Adams Plus Flea & Tick Shampoo with Precor contains natural pyrethrins to kill fleas, ticks, eggs, larvae, and lice upon contact. Meanwhile, Precor, an insect growth regulator, prevents eggs from developing into biting adults. This formula also contains natural ingredients like aloe, oatmeal, and coconut extract to soothe your dog’s dry and irritated skin. Totally Goldens names this flea shampoo its top pick, noting that it may have a somewhat unpleasant odor.
While there are many different forms of flea control for dogs, topical flea treatments tend to be the most fast-acting and long-lasting products on the market. These treatments typically come in liquid form and need to be applied directly to the dog’s skin once a month for maximum protection. Our top pick for the best flea control product for dogs is Frontline Plus because it kills both fleas and ticks in all life stages and protects against re-infestation for a full 30 days.
Frontline Plus is made with two powerful active ingredients – fipronil and s-methoprene – which work together to kill fleas and ticks in all life stages, including eggs and larvae. This product comes in several formulas for dogs of different sizes and it offers continuous protection for 30 days. Available in an easy-to-use, waterproof formula,Frontline Plus is one of the most comprehensive and effective topical flea control products on the market.
Entirely Pets names Frontline Plus one of the top ten flea treatments overall, noting that the formula’s dual active ingredients provide comprehensive protection against fleas in all life stages. With more than 1,600 reviews on Amazon, Frontline Plus has a consistent 4-star rating. DogFood notes that Frontline Plus is the top-selling and top veterinarian-recommended flea product on the market, plus it is highly effective against all species of ticks.
Though Frontline Plus may be a little more expensive than other topical flea preventives on the market, it is generally considered to be one of the safest options and it is by far one of the most effective. An in-depth review from Top Dog Tips confirms all of these points.
Pros: Dual active ingredients for maximum efficacy, kills both fleas and ticks in all life stages, provides a full 30 days of protection, waterproof, easy-to-use 3-step application process, available in multiple formulas for dogs of different sizes, safe for pregnant and nursing dogs
Cons: More expensive than other topical preventives, not recommended for dogs and puppies under 5 pounds or less than 8 weeks of age, bathing within 24 hours of application may wash away some of the product, may not prevent ticks from attaching (but will still kill them)
If you have already found fleas on your dog, you may want to give him a nice bath with a flea shampoo. Flea shampoos are a type of medicated shampoo that can help to kill fleas and cleanse your dog’s coat. Keep in mind that some flea shampoos only kill adult fleas while others kill eggs and larvae as well. Our top pick for a dog flea shampoo that kills fleas in all life stages and provides a full 28 days of flea prevention is Adams Plus Flea & Tick Shampoo with Precor.
Flea shampoos are made with various active ingredients but the two main types are pyrethroids and pyrethins. Both are powerful insecticides, but pyrethrins are natural while pyrethroids are synthetic. Adams Plus Flea & Tick Shampoo with Precor contains natural pyrethrins to kill fleas, ticks, eggs, larvae, and lice upon contact. Meanwhile, Precor, an insect growth regulator, prevents eggs from developing into biting adults. This formula also contains natural ingredients like aloe, oatmeal, and coconut extract to soothe your dog’s dry and irritated skin.
Totally Goldens names this flea shampoo its top pick, noting that while it may have a somewhat unpleasant odor, it lathers easily and works to remove dandruff and scales while also cleansing and softening your dog’s coat. This product receives an A+ rating from Peanut Paws and Ready Set Dogs praises the shampoo for killing fleas in all life stages for long-lasting protection.
Adams Plus Flea & Tick Shampoo with Precor has more than 500 reviews on Amazonwith a solid 4-star rating. Some users found the product to be ineffective, but multiple reviews state that it is necessary to lather the product well and work it into the dog’s coat for the best results.
Pros: Made with natural pyrethrins as the active ingredient, kills fleas in all life stages, protects against ticks and lice, contains an insect growth regulator for 28 days of flea prevention, contains soothing natural ingredients, removes dandruff and scales while cleansing coat, safe for puppies and adults
If you’re looking for long-lasting protection against fleas that you don’t have to reapply month after month, a flea collar might be the best option for your dog. Though there are many flea collars on the market, the Seresto Flea and Tick Collar from Bayer is far and away the best option. With more than 8,000 reviews on Amazon and a solid 4-star rating, this is our top choice for dog flea collars.
The Seresto Flea and Tick Collar offers a full eight months of protection from both fleas and ticks. Made from a unique polymer matrix with two powerful active ingredients, this odorless flea collar kills fleas and ticks on contact — they don’t have to bite your dog for it to work. This collar is non-greasy and easy to use, plus it has a two-way release safety feature in case your dog gets it caught on something. It is also water resistant so it can be worn through monthly bathing and occasional swimming.
Whereas most flea collars deposit low-dose insecticides into your dog’s skin to poison fleas as they bite, the Seresto Flea and Tick Collar utilizes a unique delivery system that distributes the active ingredients in low concentrations over your dog’s hair and skin. As the active ingredients wear off, the collar continuously replenishes them for hassle-free, long-lasting protection. No other flea collar works in quite the same way or offers the same degree of protection.
A review from HerePup names the Seresto Flea and Tick Collar the best flea and tick collar for small dogs and Top Dog Tips gives it the highest A+ rating. Heavy names this collar among its top five picks for flea prevention in general, commenting that it is very similar in price to a six-month course of topical flea preventive but offers an extra two months of protection. No other flea collar receives such consistently high ratings or as many positive user reviews.
Pros: Offers a full eight months of protection from both fleas and ticks, insects do not have to bite for the collar to work, odorless and non-greasy, two-way release safety feature, comfortable and easy to wear, water-resistant for monthly bathing and occasional swimming
Cons: Not recommended for puppies under seven weeks of age, not recommended for dogs under 18 pounds, should not be combined with other forms of flea prevention, effective duration may lower to five months if worn frequently during swimming.
You know how it is hard to leave the couch because Netflix and chill pretty much beats out all other social options? Last time I checked, doctors are not prescribing more couch time and postmates. After all, sitting is the new smoking, but luckily if you have a dog, you can mitigate all of that stuff by going for a walk with your dog! The more you walk, the more you can reward yourself with couch time… until the next walk. Here are some benefits of walking your dog because there’s more to life than the backyard.
If you’re a dog lover, spending time with your pet can be a powerful antidote to stress. Research has shown that being around a dog can lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol and dampen other physiological stress responses. The effect is so strong that service dogs are sometimes used tohelp war veterans manage PTSD. Know what else is a proven stress reliever? Physical activity. When you combine these two things in dog walking, you’ve got a double-strength stress remedy.
Dog owners who walk their dogs get more total physical activity, on average, than those who don’t. Plus, they reap other rewards, such as less stress, which may also improve their health. So it’s no surprise that researchers have found a link between having a canine pal and possessing a healthier circulatory system. In 2013, the American Heart Association issued a scientific statement, which says: “Pet ownership, particularly dog ownership, is probably associated with decreased [cardiovascular disease] risk.” That includes a lower risk for stroke, a leading cause of disabling brain injury.
When you walk a dog, you’re bound to go outdoors, and you may start spending more time in parks and on trails. Studies show that getting out into nature can help restore your attention when it starts to flag. It can alsoincrease your sense of well-being, especially if you’re attuned to the naturalbeauty around you.
If your dog likes to walk, you can count on always having an enthusiastic walking buddy. That companionship not only makes walking more enjoyable. It may also reduce loneliness when your human relationships aren’t going so well. In one clever study, college students were asked to write about a time when they felt excluded—an activity designed to make them feel rejected. Then they were asked to write about their favorite pet, write about their best friend or draw a map of campus. Thinking about a pet was just as effective as thinking about a friend for staving off feelings of rejection.
Building community spirit
Dog walking is a great excuse to get out and meet your neighborhood and strike up conversations with your neighbors. In a study of more than 800 people over 50, those who walked a dog at least four times per week were more likely to report feeling a strong sense of community, compared to people who didn’t own a dog. They were also more likely to spend at least 150 minutes per week walking in their neighborhood.
In short, by taking your dog for a walk, you may be boosting your own health and happiness.
Me & My BFF, Luna, had 9 great years of friendship.