Tips For Including Your Dog In Your Healthy Morning Routine
Establishing a healthy morning routine or ritual helps to set you up for a productive day ahead. But what happens when you have a four-legged friend who has his/her own morning routine?!
I found myself in this conundrum recently when I was asked to pet-sit my brother’s Labrador. Our routines completely clashed. A morning ritual is designed to be selfish. It’s a sacred time for you to indulge in your own self-love practices without being disturbed by the outside world.
But here’s this pup. And he’s craving your attention. And as much as you want to, basic human instinct (and morals!) tells you not to ignore your four-legged pal in favor of a couple of hours of yoga and mindful eating.
So what’s the answer? Including your dog in your morning routine, of course! And trust me, you’ll feel even better for it.
Why you should include your dog in your a.m. routine
Including your dog in your healthy morning routine is a great way to inspire healthy habits in both yourself and your pet. For the longest time, my morning routines consisted of rolling out of bed, drinking my weight in coffee, stumbling into the shower and getting straight into an 8-hour day of work. That was until I was made to be held accountable by my four-legged nephew.
Dogs need a morning routine as much as we do. Think about it. They wake up, they have their bowl of food, and then they’re often left alone while their family goes to work or school. If they’re lucky, they’ll have a dog minder or someone home to walk and play with them, but for the most part our dogs endure a very long and boring day with little stimulation.
Enter: the dog-friendly morning routine!
This pet-friendly morning ritual allows both you and Fido the best possible start to your days, leaving you both energized and rejuvenated for the day ahead.
The perfect dog-friendly morning routine
My own flexible work schedule meant my morning routines varied from day to day. With a dog, I was able to make some even healthier changes while enjoying quality cuddle time! (And if that’s not a motivation for your day, I don’t know what would be!)
Starting the day with a positive attitude has a flow-on effect on the rest of your day.
Meditation is one of the best ways to cultivate a positive attitude and reduce stress, anxiety, and depression.
First thing in the morning is the perfect time to sit quietly and make a gratitude list (whether in your mind or on paper). Grab your dog and include them in this sacred time. You may wish to light a candle or incense and cuddle up on the couch to do this, or sit outside on the grass and let the earth and sunlight ground you.
Extend the practice by mindfully petting your dog. Feel the texture of their fur, the warmth of their body – really take this time to be present and appreciate your existence in the here and now.
Eat something nutritious
Eating a healthy breakfast works for both you and your dog! Find a breakfast option that is packed with nutrients and vitamins to give you energy for the day ahead.
For you, this could be a bowl of cooked oats with nuts & seeds and fresh berries or sliced banana. For your pooch, this can be a combo of cooked meat with grated carrot (for fiber), and a fresh egg for protein and a healthy, silky coat.
While your dog might be ready to go for a walk the second you finish breakfast, some of us need some extra wake-up time!
Doing some deep restorative stretches and gentle yoga is a good way to wake up tired limbs and get the blood flowing.
While your dog cannot physically join in (even though they might try!) there is a benefit of doing yoga with your dog. It has been said that animals are attracted to the energy of these spiritual practices, with yoga or meditation creating harmony and synchronization between you and your pet!
Go for a walk
There are many benefits of an early morning walk. While it can be hard to motivate ourselves to step outside (especially on those chilly mornings!), once we get our bodies moving in nature there’s an instant boost in our energy and alertness.
Your dog feels it too! Exercising your dog every day keeps them happy and healthy, and opens them up to new sights, tastes, and sounds. Whether it’s at a designated dog park, a beach, or around the block, aim for at least 30 minutes of brisk walking daily and make it a permanent part of your morning ritual!
Ease into your routine
Upon your return from your walk, you can use this boost in energy to continue working out or by settling into your to-do list.
Whether you’re leaving to go to the office or you work from home, pull out a Kong toy for your dog and fill it with some treats or peanut butter. Leave them in their yard or crate with some of their favorite toys, a pig’s ear, or some raw carrots to snack on and keep occupied with while you’re gone.
You’ll find that the after-effect of a healthy morning routine extends to your dog too – helping them with feelings of separation anxiety and burning off excess energy.
Enjoy your mornings with your pet
Routines form an important aspect in both you and your dog’s day. A regular feeding time and exercise regime keeps you both healthy and happy and gives you a renewed sense of motivation for the day ahead. Not to mention, that extra quality time spent in the mornings boosts our moods – which can be a true blessing when you’re faced with a particularly busy day.
As soon as you return from work or school, make sure you greet your dog with enthusiasm and extra cuddles! Use this time to catch up on some play, and every night you can now prepare yourselves for another great morning ahead.