To keep our communities safe from COVID-19, many of us have been spending more time indoors. An unintentional consequence of this may be weight gain. With weight loss and stress reduction especially on top of mind during the beginning of the year, here are some ways pet ownership can help.

Your dog will be your best exercise coach and motivator. The reason is that dog-walking and other forms of dog relate strongly to the health and happiness of your pup. You do not want to let them down, so it is a very sustainable physical activity. Exploring a neighborhood with your dog is much more fun than using a treadmill or exercise bike, and you are spending quality time with your pet. This is especially true in the cold winter months when your dog needs to walk even inclement weather. Just playing with your dog can increase your heart rate and provide incidental exercise.

It is no surprise that dog owners are active. As a new dog owner, Mt. Pleasant Animal Shelter Media Manager, Tyler says, “I am always exercising with Butterscotch. It is a wonderful motivation to stay active, as she has a ton of energy and requires regular exercise. On top of her usual walks, we also hike and explore parks.” Tyler adds, “Finding new ways to play and get her moving is fun and exciting.”

Different breeds of dogs require different amounts of exercise. It is important to do your research. While every dog is different, a Basset Hound may require less physical activity than a Siberian Husky. Be prepared to run a lot if you have an active breed.

Spending time with animals also simply feels good. According to Prevention Magazine simply petting a dog or cat for 15 minutes lowers the stress hormone cortisol and causes the brain to release the calming hormone oxytocin.

For almost 50 years, Mt. Pleasant Animal Shelter has been providing exceptional care for homeless animals, working tirelessly to find a permanent, loving home for every cat and dog it serves.

Their priority is to save abandoned animals within our community; however, the efforts don’t end there. They also partner with shelters around the country to save at-risk animals from being euthanized. Mt. Pleasant Animal Shelter envisions a community of people and organizations committed to working together to eliminate the occurrence of abused, neglected and homeless animals.

Mt. Pleasant Animal Shelter is a registered 501(c)(3) organization that is solely funded by contributions, grants, and bequests. Donate today at http://www.njshelter.org/givenow.