Could Walking Your Dog Be Your Best New Year Resolution?

20th December 2023 8 min read

Guest Blog: Anna Webb

Dogs don’t make New Year's resolutions. Dogs depend on us to make so many choices for them, from what they eat, whether they wear a collar or a harness, to where they sleep. What if we turn the tables and let our dogs inspire New Year's resolutions?

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As the year draws to a close, ‘tis the time to think about New Year resolutions, not just for you, but your dog too!

Despite great intentions, 80% of us give up on resolutions by the second Friday in January, it's known as ‘quitters’ day’!

Whether it’s to kickstart more healthy eating, lose some excess pounds, take up running, yoga or just practice mindfulness, it appears us humans give up!

Dogs don’t make New Year's resolutions. Dogs depend on us to make so many choices for them, from what they eat, whether they wear a collar or a harness, to where they sleep.

What if we turn the tables and let our dogs inspire New Year's resolutions?

I’d guess that all ‘Fidos’ would suggest we all drink more water - preferably filtered and fresh. Keeping us hydrated naturally helps our metabolic function, bearing in mind our body chemistry is 70% water, just like a dog’s.

Studies concur that when given the choice between fresh or processed food, dogs jump to the fresh as their number one choice.

If you are what you eat, so is your dog. Make 2024 the year of fresh, whole food options, packed with a variety of meats and species-appropriate nutrients.

Dogs inspire us to see the world from a different perspective, arguably helping us appreciate another’s point of view.

Perhaps switch a session in the Gym for regular fun games like tug of war with your dog. It can really build arm strength, flexibility and mindfulness. Plus, it helps you connect with your pooch, working through frustration, building confidence, whilst being a mutual serotonin boost.

Challenge your own mental dexterity by learning a new language. I recommend we all learn how to speak dog. By understanding their subtle body language, we can guide them and empathise in any situation.

Dogs know when to rest and that’s something we could also aspire to in the New Year. Rest and restore to help manage stress and anxiety.

So many studies concur that dogs are good for our health. Dog owners smile more than non-dog owners, which promotes well-being naturally.

Another study suggests that dog owners often live longer, and people recovering from heart surgery, benefit from being able to walk their dog.

More science concurs that stroking a dog will reduce your blood pressure and the flow of the love hormone Oxytocin.

Being mindful / in the moment. Dogs do this naturally, they do have memory and episodic memory, but they won’t be fretting about what happened yesterday or what’s possibly happening tomorrow.

I think our dogs can guide us, balance us, and become an antidote to technology overload, provided we take the time to tune into our ‘best friends’.

Through January, it’s ‘Walk Your Dog Month’, an initiative to highlight the health benefits to both dogs and their owners. Apart from a chance to get outdoors, a commitment to walk your dog builds routine, responsibility, and the chance to train and have fun with your dog.

With 54% of owners engaging a dog walker at least three times a week, many of us are missing out on what’s free canine therapy! Let’s ‘paws’ for thought this New Year.

Anna Webb – as a Canine Nutrition and Behaviour expert, Anna combines her psychology degree, with study at the College of Integrated Veterinary Therapies (CIVT) and over 20 years of experience. Host of the award-nominated A DOG’S LIFE podcast, she lives in London and is owned by Prudence, a Miniature Bull Terrier, and Mr Binks, a re-homed English Toy Terrier.

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