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Get in shape for summer by exercising with your pup
Dogs are a great way to help keep people in tip top shape as pups always need to go for walks and they're not shy about letting their owners know when it's time to go. Although this can be somewhat annoying on rainy or cold days, overall going for a walk with your dog is rewarding and beneficial.
A recent study conducted by researchers from the George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services has found the proof is in the pudding in terms of dog owners working out more than non-dog owners. To test this, the scientists compared the physical activity and health risk factors for 399 dog owners who walked their dogs, 137 dog owners who did not regularly walk their pups and 380 people who do not have dogs.
From the data, researchers found people who walked their dogs regularly were in the best shape and were the most healthy even after adjusting for certain risk factors including age and disabilities.
More surprisingly, scientists noticed diabetes was two-and-a-half times more common among non-dog owners than dog owners, while people without a dog were 70 percent more likely to suffer from high blood pressure and high cholesterol over participants with dogs. Non-dog owners were also 50 percent more likely to have depression.
"Because of the health benefits associated with dog walking, this activity should be encouraged within communities as a method of promoting and sustaining a healthy lifestyle," said the authors of the study.
Keeping Fido safe on walks
Just as their dogs are helping them stay healthy, owners will need take certain precautions to do the same for the pups while on the walks. Fleas, ticks and other parasites are in full force during the warmer months so it's important for owners to keep their dogs on flea and tick preventative pet drugs like Sentinel all year long to avoid infestations. Owners should always bring along a Flexi Retractable Leash and fresh water for the pup to drink along the way should it get too hot. It might even be nice to hose the dog off after a hot walk – pull out the pet shampoo as well to give it a thorough clean. During the summer, it may be a good idea to walk your dog in the morning before the sun is fully up or at night after the sun sets.