Can owning a pet help you stick to your diet?

Polka Dog Bakery co-owner and biscuit baker Deborah Gregg helps a customer with a treat. The boutique was created to produce all-natural gourmet dog treats for local pets. (Photo by Rick Friedman/Corbis via Getty Images)
Polka Dog Bakery co-owner and biscuit baker Deborah Gregg helps a customer with a treat. The boutique was created to produce all-natural gourmet dog treats for local pets. (Photo by Rick Friedman/Corbis via Getty Images) /

While a pet and diet can seem like two totally separate things, they have some common ground in terms of improving your health. What’s even more remarkable is that your domesticated canine can lend a paw by helping you stick to your diet.

Why Is It Tough to Stick to a Diet?

More than a third of Americans are on a diet, usually to improve their health and lose weight. However, it can be a struggle to stick to them. People don’t like to be restrictive, especially when it comes to their food consumption.

In addition to that, diets can result in losing minimal weight. The notion of regaining those same pounds after just a few months can be a tough pill to swallow. It lessens one’s motivation to follow their program to some extent.

Many people have their own solutions to this dilemma, such as introducing healthier food rather than cutting options out. Others look to reward themselves with a little cheat day. But what you may need is a four-legged assistant to help you out.

Do Dogs Promote a Healthy Lifestyle?

Yes, dogs influence your physical health and mental well-being. Most people in the U.S. own at least one pet in their household and their presence can greatly impact their lifestyle. Just remember to look into how active you want your pup to be and to find hypoallergenic dog breeds if you have allergies.

Owning a pet doesn’t mean you will automatically be 100% healthier or stick to your diet right away. However, taking care of your furry friend can make you adopt certain disciplines that will make your diet much easier to follow through.

Checking the Ingredients

Having a dog makes you more conscious about the ingredients packaged in a particular food item and what you put in your grocery cart. For instance, food packed with MSG can make your dog feel sickly. This flavor enhancer can also boost your appetite and make you eat more. Leaving it out of your list can do your pet and you a favor.

Trying Healthier Options

It’s ideal for dogs to have a balanced homemade diet and the same goes for humans. Try cooking for yourself and your pet to have control over both your regimens. You can even explore healthier options for your own personal diet as well. For instance, rather than going for fatty cuts of beef and pork, opt for lean meat.

Portioning Out Meals

One difficulty of sticking to a diet is knowing how much or how little to eat. Luckily, prepping food for you and your dog can provide perspective on how to portion-control your food. Making enough meals for both you and your pet is a fantastic way to stick to your diet since you won’t have too many leftovers and overeat.

Tracking Weight More Often

Overweight pets may experience difficulty breathing and stress in their joints. Thus, it’s vital to track their weight from week to week. As you record your dog’s weight, be more inclined to check on your own too. Forming this habit of tracking your weight will help you keep tabs on your diet’s effectiveness.

Other Ways a Dog Can Keep You Healthy

A dog can also contribute to your healthy lifestyle beyond your diet. Here are some of the benefits to look forward to:

  • Helping in fun mental challenges: Dogs are in need of mental stimulation like humans, so you can bond in those activities together. For instance, you can give your pet a treat-dispensing puzzle to work on. While they focus on that, you tackle a jigsaw puzzle in the same room for a mental stretch.
  • Getting you out of the house: If you don’t go outside often, you’re in for a treat. Almost every dog craves the outdoors, so you’re bound to get out of the house as you accompany them. Even a daily 30-minute walk outside can lower the risk of heart disease and improve your sleep quality.
  • Becoming your workout bestie: Active dog breeds can engage and keep up with various workouts. People share their stories about bringing their pets to a nature hike or the local pool for a workout. If you’ve always wanted a companion, your furry friend may just fill in that role.
  • Providing you with motivation: Your pet is a loved one that’s near and dear to you. While they will have moments encouraging you to move, you start to change your mindset, too. You would think to yourself about becoming healthier to be in a condition to care for and be with your pup.

Let Your Pet Assist With Your Diet

There are many responsibilities associated with taking care of your dog and yourself, but it is more than worth it at the end of the day. A pet’s presence can help with your diet, but it’s still up to you to practice discipline and stick to your regimen.

Next. 11 fun fall activities to get the whole family (and pets) outside this fall. dark