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How spending time with our dogs can improve our lives

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It will come as no surprise to Dog’s Monthly readers that it’s a proven fact that our dogs add to our quality of life. When we interact with them, oxytocin levels rise in both species. We don’t really need science to tell us that though. We know because of the dozens of stories from other cultures all-around the world that point to our collective belief in the power of dogs.

We know because of how our own dogs make us feel. It only makes sense to utilize these assets as often as possible. If you’re feeling the weight of a chaotic schedule and a stressful load of responsibilities, then why not take advantage of your best, four-legged friend?

For the most part, your standard dog owner is most interested in the parts of the day they get to spend with their dog, of course. That’s because when we’re with our dogs, we just feel better. It’s almost like the relief that can come via a therapist's office. Finding ways to let your pooch participate in more of life can help you to feel better about your life.

At Work

If you’re lucky enough to work at a place that allows your dog to tag along, you should consider whether or not it would be a good fit for the two of you. If you do think your dog would be comfortable with it, the benefits of bringing your dog to work are far-reaching. Your dog can potentially make your space less stressful and more productive. And what’s better for boosting your mood than those puppy dog eyes?

A major thing to consider is whether or not your workplace and your dog are compatible. If you work in an office with an open floor plan, and your dog gets nervous around large groups of people, it’s probably not going to work out.

However, if you think your dog would enjoy it, give it a try with some precautions in mind. Make sure none of your coworkers are allergic and that they know what is and isn’t okay to feed your dog. Make sure your dog is vaccinated and healthy. If other animals will be there, introduce them appropriately.

In general, it’s best to take a “trial period” approach and to not have unrealistic expectations of your pet. Understand what your dog’s body language means so that if he’s sending signals that he’s not comfortable, you’re ready to respond and remedy the situation.

At Play

A positive component of four-legged friends: unlike your introverted human friend, they’re always up for a good time! So consider what activities would help you unwind, and then think about how you can make it a dog-friendly activity.

Maybe you’re the type of person who needs to get out of the house to really feel refreshed. If that’s the case, don’t dismay, there are a lot of ways to include your dog.

Glamping: Glamping is camping, but if you’re not interested in being exposed unnecessarily to the elements, it’s the superior form of camping. And you can glamp with your dog, thus rendering it the ultimate way to getaway.

Eating out: There are plenty of restaurants where your pup would be welcome to come along. Brunch with your family should include all of your family, right? Wouldn’t the pub with friends, be more fun if it included your furry friend?

Hiking: Hiking is one of the best ways to utilize the great outdoors. To ensure that you and your pup have a successful adventure, plan ahead. Make sure you know what kind of terrain you will encounter. Ensure that your dog has adequate leash skills and trail manners, and that you don’t forget to bring the water and food that your dog will need.

Swimming: In the warmer weather especially, swimming can be just the thing to cool off and relax. Some dogs aren’t fans of the water, but if yours is, the lake or the pool can be just the place to bond. You’ll want to make sure that the lake you’re heading to is dog-friendly and that, like with hiking, you bring everything your dog will need like clean water and a towel.

If you’re swimming at your own home there are important things to remember for your dog’s safety. Make sure that you are always supervising your dog’s pool access. Pool owners need to make especially sure that their dog cannot access the pool if they aren’t around, perhaps even investing in a pool alarm.

Also, it’s smart to give your dog a way out. Most of the dog breed’s that are athletically qualified to swim, are large enough to use in ground pool stairs. There are also options for special ramps, which allow small dogs and above ground access. That way even if they do gain access to the pool and can’t get out, your bases are covered. Multiple methods of protection are the key to keeping your pet safe!

At Ease

Life can be difficult, but if you have a dog, it can be significantly less difficult. Our dogs are quite powerful in their ability to alter how we perceive our life and the spaces where we live our lives.

Our experiences can be transformed if they are present; their ability to boost our oxytocin, combat our loneliness, and enhance our creativity advances them beyond just best friend right on through to furry therapist. Why wouldn’t we make an effort to spend as much time with them as possible?

This story is a guest submission and does not reflect the views of Dogs Monthly Magazine, always consult a qualified expert.