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National Dog Walking Month

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According to an article written by Caren Osten found on PsychologyToday.com, “Dogs can be much more than simply a trusting buddy. The evidence proving the physical benefits of living with a canine companion has been well documented and varies from improved cardiovascular health and increased physical activity to lower cholesterol and decreased blood pressure.”

Along with the aforementioned effects that owning a dog can have one someone is the multitude of ways that dogs can help with our mental health. During the month of January, it is National Walk your Dog month, and we wanted to share with you how your canine companion can not only improve cardiovascular health, but can lead by example ways to improve your stress and anxiety.

Bakersfield Behavioral Healthcare Hospital has partnered with Marley’s Mutt’s for sometime now inviting them to bring their four-legged friends in to participate in pet therapy with everyone in our hospital. We find that the immediate smiles and relaxed shoulders are clear indicators of the calming effect that a pet can bring to someone.

When we really take the time to think about a dog’s actions, they show us so many ways to better improve our overall health. Dogs teach us mindfulness; do you ever watch your dog find a piece of direct sunlight only to lay belly up and stretch, soaking in the warmth. Dogs also teach us to stay active and enjoy the outdoors; one of a dog’s favorite things to do and most important one, walking. Each day your dog will want to go out for either a nice and easy stroll around the block, or demands large bursts of energy through playing catch. Regardless of what kind of physical activity your pet requires, the reminder is the same; it’s vital that we are getting up and staying active in what can often be a sedentary world.

When we think about all of the remarkable things that dogs can do for human kind, it’s can still be awe-inspiring. We utilize dogs in combat, within our police departments, and as service animals helping individuals with various impairments. We have seen canines demonstrate their large ability for empathy by coming to the aid of their companions when the sense that they are agitated, anxious, or scared. We have witnessed their heroics in saving people from dangerous situations, and we watch them simply lay a paw on their companion’s lap when they notice a tear.

During the month of January, we encourage you to recognize and take full advantage of all the benefits that come with owning a canine companion. We encourage to stay active and healthy by walking your dog’s regularly and often. We would also like to remind you though, that each time you take your four-legged friend for a lap around the block, take in the sunshine, take a moment to take some deep breathes, and appreciate each every step!