5 things you and your dog can do together to improve mental health
In the past, going to the hall cupboard, lifting the lead, and pronouncing ‘walkies’ at the top of our voice was enough to have our furry friend bouncing off the walls. The internet has grown tenfold over the last few years and with it, so has the social media site, Instagram. When we hit the hay at night, it is more than likely that our beloved pooch is perusing through thousands of photos on the app, in which #dogsofinstagram has 144 million posts, thinking about their next day out, and where we’re taking them.
Here, with Cliverton, who provide dog grooming insurance, we take you through some of the best things you can do with your pup — that isn’t taking them to the local park.
When you heard of downward dog for the first time, you’d be forgiven for thinking that it was some American style fad that involved dangling your canine friend upside down. Thankfully, if you were ever to participate in yoga you would know that it was simply one of the poses. Now, however, we have ‘doga’, and yes, it is exactly what you think.
Created by Jacksonville yoga teacher Suzi Teltelman, the concept, which is booming in popularity throughout the states, is being described as one of the perfect ways to bond with your buddy. In general, yoga has proven to be one of the best ways to remain physically fit while also establishing complete mindfulness, but throw your dog into the mix and your entire experience is turned on its head.
Also, if you’ve just picked up a new companion, and adjusting to each other’s routines is proving to be a little more complex that you first imagined, ‘doga’ could be the answer. Yoga is all about relaxation, concentration and deep focus, which goes hand-in-hand with dog training as well. You’ll most likely find a ‘doga’ class somewhere nearby, as this craze continues. Even if the session doesn’t turn out to be a relative success in yoga terms, you are still going to have a whole lot of fun with your dog.
Who doesn’t love a good birthday party? Have you ever considered the amount of times your beloved has watched you tucking into a slice of cake or glass of prosecco? While they might not be able to enjoy the real deal, did you know that it is possible to make dog-friendly versions of your favourite celebratory treats?
Throwing a birthday party for your dog is the ideal way to show your ‘bestie’ just how much you appreciate their presence in your life. It doesn’t have to be an MTV style ‘sweet sixteen’, it can be a lowkey affair, depending on their personality. If they have loads of furry friends, certainly invite them all along, just ensure the house is going to be able to cope with the inevitable chaos. If your dog is somewhat of an introvert, buying a party hat for both of you, baking a cake and spending the day in the garden. This is all about showing the animal in your life how much you love them — it’s the thought that counts.
A recipe for potential disaster
We all know that our canine friends enjoy destroying things, so this might be slightly messy, but here’s a cake recipe fit for your furry king or queen — and better yet, you can have some yourself.
¼ cup flavourless oil
1/3 cup applesauce
1/3 cup smooth peanut butter
1 cup grated carrot
2 tablespoons honey
1 cup wholeweat flour
1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
Oven preheated to 180 celsius. Grease and line two 6inch tins
Whisk together oil, eggs, peanut butter, apple sauce, carrot and honey
Stir in flour and baking powder, whisk, and then divide mix into tins
Bake for 30 to 35 mins. Test by inserting knitting needle through cake — if it comes out clean your safe. Leave to cool before moving to wire rack. Stick layers together to with added additional peanut butter.
Serve! Freeze left overs (if there is any).
Undoubtedly the most exhilarating option on our list, but beware, this activity is not for the faint-hearted, and if you do decide to participate, proceed with caution. With a Snow Dogs like vibe, ‘bikejoring’, effectively involves attaching a harness on your bike or scooter and letting them start shifting at their own pace. For a dog, restraining them by holding tight on their lead when they go to run is not beneficial in terms of their physical ability. Allowing a dog to run at its own pace will make for a fitter and healthier pup.
For the more physically fit among us, if you have ever taken your dog for a run, you will know going full pace with a dog on a lead is effectively playing a massive game of risk ball — unfortunately they fail to consider the potential effects of us landing face first and therefore will often change direction with no prepositioned warning whatsoever. What we’re suggesting is, if you do take your dog ‘bikejoring’, or ‘ski-joring’, for the more adventurous dog-lovers, make sure to wear protective clothing.
Bubbly Bow Wow and Poochie Colada — yes, you’ve read it right. The Smith and Whistle in central London, is the very first bar in the city to offer an entirely dog based cocktail menu, or ‘dog-tail’, as they prefer to call it. Not only are all the drinks suitable for canine consumption, they are also healthy treats for your companion — so they won’t wake up in the morning with a sore head. Located just off Green Park, the Smith and Whistle offers customers and their pups the perfect opportunity for an evening walk. Obviously, depending on the occasion, there are different options — there are currently around 5000 dog friendly pubs across the UK.
So, now we’ve provided you with the options, where are you going on your next doggy date?