5 Ways Your Dog Can Help You Be Healthier

It’s no surprise that having a pet — a dog in particular — can have a positive impact on your life. Just like babies tend to bring everyone joy, so do puppies

According to WebMD, having a dog can make your heart healthier, soothe stress, improve your immune system, and provide social support.

Getting a dog is good for not only your mental health but your physical health as well. If you’re on a mission to lose weight, get stronger, or combat a condition like heart disease, diabetes, or high blood pressure, your pup can actually be just the thing to help you get a jump start on your goals.

In addition to committing to a healthy diet and fitness plan, using health and fitness resources like Noom to help you find the best way to meet your goals, and lining up plenty of support, you can use your dog as a great source of motivation. Here are five incredible ways having a dog can make you a healthier person!

1. Dog Walks Count

dog walking

When you have a dog — especially a puppy — you’re forced to put on your sneakers and hit the pavement daily. Dogs need to go outside to do their business, but most dogs also benefit greatly from the regular exercise. Many dogs will be much calmer and more well-behaved indoors when they’re given ample opportunity to let out their energy during their walks. If that isn’t great motivation to get outside and get in some mileage, I don’t know what is.

2. Ramp It Up With Weekend Hikes

dog hike

Dogs evolved from wild animals into the domesticated buddies we know and love, and many breeds love nothing more than getting out in nature with their best friend. While sleeping in and enjoying a long, lazy Saturday has lots of appeal, getting some fresh air with a brisk morning hike will keep your pup happy, help you burn a ton of extra calories, and help improve your heart health so you can enjoy that brunch mimosa guilt-free.

3. Throw the Ball Around

playing fetch

Who doesn’t love playing fetch with their dog?! Get in a few rounds of fetch with your pup each week and you’ll burn plenty of calories without even thinking about it. After a few minutes of back-and-forth, you may even find yourself sweaty and out of breath. There’s nothing better than having fun while getting in a good workout, and we bet your furry friend will keep a smile on your face the whole time. Having a dog practically builds in opportunities for fitness!

4. Sharing Food Can Help

dog eating

If you’re committed to keeping your pup on a healthy diet, it may inspire and motivate you to do the same for yourself. You can make your pet’s food at home using healthy ingredients like boneless and skinless chicken, whole grains, sweet potatoes, and nut butters. Buy enough for yourself, too, and you’ll always have something on hand to prepare yourself a nutritious meal or snack, rather than turning to the drive-through or takeout menus when you’re too hungry to scavenge around your kitchen.

5. Mental Health Matters, Too

woman hugging dog

Having an animal companion can help keep you happier and feeling less lonely, not only because you’ll have someone to cuddle with and care for, but because they can also help you break the ice when you’re meeting new people. Whether you and your pup are at the dog park or on the trails, dogs can present a great opportunity for social interactions that result in new friendships. You might even schedule some puppy playdates so that you get to enjoy adult conversation while your puppy benefits from some much-needed socialization. Plus, having a pet gives many people a sense of purpose and responsibility, so even when you’re feeling blue, you have a reason to get up and keep pushing forward.