The bond between Canines and Sapiens dates back thousands of years. In fact, it is of very little surprise to learn that the domestication of dogs directly correlates with the domestication of humans. Theories present that it was the relationship between man and dog that allowed both parties to become superior hunters, establish more permanent residences, and begin to make monumental progress that has helped us become who we are today.
Modern agriculture has lessened the reliance on dogs for hunting, and technological advances such as home security systems make us less dependent on the use of canines as a security measure, however, the two way bond between humans and dogs is just as strong today. In fact, strengthening the relationship with your dog can have a significant impact on the overall health and well-being of both of you and your dog!
Many dog owners try to develop healthful habits for themselves but leave Fido behind. They exercise, eat right, and may even practice mindfulness regularly. Meanwhile, Fido spends the majority of his day laying around the house and eating a diet of harmful kibble. While the owner feels great and is getting in shape, poor Fido becomes obese and eventually faces metabolic-related diseases such as diabetes and cancer.
Shifting your mindset from only being concerned about your personal health to that of you and your pup will have profound results on both of you. Just as our ancient ancestors were able to begin on a lifelong journey to the development of the human and canine races, you and your dog can begin a lifelong journey to the maximization of personal health and wellness.
You and your dog should both be eating whole, natural foods that are as close to their natural states as possible. Meats should be grass-fed/finished and should not be pumped with steroids, antibiotics, or any other chemicals. Plants should be organic and as fresh and local as possible. Your dog should be consuming a species appropriate raw diet and your foods should be gently cooked at low temperatures.
When you look at nutrition from a simplified perspective you may soon realize that you and your pup are eating many of the same foods. This is perfect! You can now share in the meal process by using the same ingredients and essentially creating the same meals. You can even eat together, although we recommend putting your plate on the table.
Eating the same style as your four legged companion is not limited to the types of foods that you consume. Eating practices such as fasting (intermittent or prolonged), nutrient timing, and nutrient cycling can all be applied to both humans and dogs. We have personally used some of these strategies to help our dog, Maddie, regain her health and consistently and safely lose excessive weight.
By enhancing the bond between you and your pooch in regards to health and wellness, you can both become more active. Exercising with your dog is a great way to ensure accountability and consistency. We’ve all had the days when we come home from work and are “too tired” to exercise. But, when someone else is depending on you, it becomes much more difficult to say no to exercise. Coming home and receiving that sad “I’ve been laying around the house all day” look from Lassie can even make you tough out bad weather days and get your exercise in anyway!
For those of you who are fans of fitness wearables, consider purchasing one for your dog. Fitness trackers specifically designed for your dog, such as the FitBark2 (be on the lookout for our comprehensive review of the Fitbark2!), are an eye opening way for you to track your dog’s activity levels. By having concrete data and getting movement reminders throughout the day you will be strongly encouraged to get your pup active. Even more, you will be more active as a result! We found that purchasing the FitBark2 took all of our fitness levels to the next level and we now take much longer and more frequent walks, as well as have more play sessions.
The increase in activity levels have had notable effects on Maddie’s moods and energy levels. Prior to the boost in activity, Maddie was in a little bit of a funk and was sleeping a lot. Since becoming more active, she is generally happier and is much more likely to pick up a toy and play on her own when we are home.
There are tons of gimmicks and bad supplements out there. The best way to get the most effective nutrients is through the consumption of high quality whole foods. However, due to modern environmental conditions, simply eating the best foods is not enough. High quality supplementation has become necessary to combat the daily stressors on our bodies.
Our dogs can benefit from supplementation every bit as much as we can. Obviously we encourage doing substantial research and purchasing supplements derived from natural resources. Proteolytic and digestive enzymes, amino acids, neurotransmitters, vitamins, minerals, and even CBD oil can have life changing effects on your dog. Don’t be afraid to supplement with these but, again, be sure to do your research in order to ensure that your pup will not face any adverse effects.
We have combined intermittent fasting practices with supplementation of proteolytic enzymes for both ourselves and Maddie. We now start each morning with a dose of the enzymes and a mug of warm lemon water, although Maddie tends to skip the lemon water. Starting our morning this way allows our bodies to recover and rebuild properly. We have noticed a significant drop in inflammation, injury-related symptoms, and a greater sense of well-being.
One of the greatest benefits of working with your dog to improve health and wellness habits is a focus on mindfulness. Putting the phone down and simply being with your beloved pet is a great way to pause throughout your day. The benefits of meditation are astounding and spending time fully invested in playing with your pet can mimic those effects.
We live in a time when our attention is constantly being pulled in opposite directions. Practices in mindfulness allow us to get the attention pulls under control and give us the ability to seek out deeper thought. This can lead to an increase in creativity and productivity, as well as a decrease in anxiety and stress. You would be hard pressed to find someone that would not want these advantages in their lives.
One of the best parts about mindfulness practices is that a short period of time goes a long way. You can feel the effects with something as little as five to ten deep breaths. We recommend taking at least ten minutes to do nothing but play with your dog. Completely focus on her, pay attention to her personality, and remind yourself why you got her in the first place. Don’t have your phone out and don’t post your play time to Instagram. In fact, leave any technology in another room. Simply be present with your dog and embrace the happiness that comes as a result.
Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (EDC’s)
If you have not yet started paying attention to Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals, now is the time. EDC’s have alarming effects on our personal health. As the name implies, EDC’s disrupt the function of the endocrine (think hormones) system. As many people looking to make a health-related change soon come to realize, simply eating better and exercising are not all it takes to make a change.
Hormones are the missing link on the path to better health. EDC’s are found everywhere and can wreak havoc on the health of you and your dog. From household cleaners to personal care products to carpeting, EDC’s are everywhere. Many baby products are free of EDC’s, which is fantastic. However, somewhere along the line the decision is made that we no longer need to pay attention to EDC’s, and our health suffers as a consequence.
The good news is that EDC’s are very easy to replace. The best thing you can do is start using the Environmental Working Group‘s website and database. If a product you are using is not listed as suitable on their site, replace it. You will be surprised to find how easy and cost-efficient it can be to use natural products that are safe for both you and your furry friend.
Tying It All Together
When looking at all the information that relates to the health of you and your pet, it can be quite overwhelming. However, by simplifying and going back to the basics and the way of life that our ancestors and our dog’s ancestor’s lived for thousands and thousands of years together, we can live a much higher quality of life. Combining ancient practices with modern technologies can give you and your canine access to a quality of life that many only dreamed of.
Embarking on the journey together with your dog will make your efforts more meaningful. It will give you a sense of duty and selflessness that will not only improve the health and well-being of you and your dog, but will strengthen the bond between the two of you. Healthy, happy, and helping others, does it really get any better than that?
How do you and your dog achieve optimal health? We want to know! Leave a comment below!