Spending time in nature with your dog enhances physical health and mental well-being for both of you, while strengthening your bond of love and companionship.
There’s a reason your dog loves the outdoors. And it’s not just because of all the exciting smells, although that’s certainly a part of it. Like humans, dogs need to spend time in nature, for their physical health and their mental and emotional wellness. This article looks at how regular outings in natural areas benefit your dog in three important ways.
1. NATURE PROVIDES HIM WITH PHYSICAL EXERCISE
Regular physical exercise is one of the keystones of keeping your dog healthy. Getting outside every day, whether it’s a hike in the woods, playing ball in the backyard or a nearby field, or even a walk around the block in a residential area, gives your dog the physical activity he needs to optimize and maintain his health.
Keeping active is also important for a dog’s longevity, and will help him age much more gracefully when he does eventually start to show signs of growing older. The act of running, walking, and playing outdoors can help prevent conditions and diseases such as heart disease, dementia, and arthritis.
2. NATURE STRENGTHENS YOUR BOND WITH YOUR DOG
Physical wellness isn’t the only thing that nature has to offer your dog. It can also boost and support her mental health, while enhancing the bond you share with her. In fact, being outside in nature is vital to her mental health, as it is for yours. “Spending time in nature is healing and soothing, as it calms the nervous system, and lowers blood pressure and cortisol levels,” says veterinarian Dr. Paola Cuevas.
Nature helps reduce stress in your dog. If you’ve ever noticed her misbehaving after being cooped up at home for a few days, there’s a chance it’s due to a lack of time outdoors. Being without access to nature for long periods is a stressor for any dog — or human.
Flag it: We live in a fast-paced world full of distractions, busyness, and constant noise, and studies show this can contribute to a plethora of diseases, in both dogs and people.
“Dogs kept inside chemical-loaded houses or apartments without access to an outside area have increased probabilities of developing behavioral disorders and chronic diseases such as cancer, endocrinological issues, sensitivities, and dermatitis, to name a few,” says Dr. Cuevas.
Although it’s not always possible to prevent the development of certain diseases in your dog, taking her to natural areas outdoors on a regular basis can have long-lasting positive effects that will help her fight illness.
Flag it: “Studies have shown that both humans and dogs, when given the chance to go outside and come in contact with the soil, get the chance to develop a strong immune system,” says Dr. Cuevas.
“Regular contact with healthy soil helps us and our dogs develop a healthy and varied microbiome in our guts and skin,” she continues. “This strengthens our immune systems and makes us less susceptible to infections, allergies, and sensitivities. This has been proven both in babies and puppies, as well as in adult populations.”
3. NATURE STRENGTHENS YOUR BOND WITH YOUR DOG
Spending more time in nature with your dog also nourishes your mutual bond. The relationships between humans and their dogs run deep. Your dog is completely dependent on you, and relies on you for food, security, and stability. Because of this, as with children, you need to offer your dog emotional availability and time for play so he can stay happy and healthy.
Flag it: It’s also important to keep yourself happy, because your dog can pick up on your emotions.
“Dogs are a reflection of ourselves,” adds Dr. Cuevas. “They take on our emotional states, they adopt our habits, our looks, and ultimately our diseases as well. Humans can greatly benefit from long walks in nature with their dogs, and dogs are a perfect excuse to get us moving even on challenging days.”
Spending time outdoors is a mutually beneficial way to love your dog and yourself. Disconnecting from work to take in the smells and colors of nature with your pooch is a pleasurable way to prioritize physical and mental health, as well as your friendship, and will ultimately improve your quality of life, and his.
The post 3 Reasons Why Being in Nature Is Good for Your Dog appeared first on Animal Wellness Magazine.
The post “3 Reasons Why Being in Nature Is Good for Your Dog” by Laurie Riihimaki was published on 10/13/2023 by animalwellnessmagazine.com