Prioritising Self-Care as a Dog Owner: 7 Strategies for a Healthy Balance

Prioritising Self-Care as a Dog Owner: 7 Strategies for a Healthy Balance

There’s nothing quite as fulfilling and rewarding as owning a dog. The unconditional love, loyalty and happiness you get just for having one of these furry creatures running about your home is second to none. That ole saying, ‘a house is not a home without a dog?’ Yep, that’s it. 

A rescue dog has lots to learn – like a new pupper, everything is exciting and daunting and that in itself can be really demanding. Asking for a puppy now hits differently – when I was a kid, my parents would warn me of the mountains of responsibility that comes with... and boy, were they were right!

Amidst the routine duties that are part and parcel with caring for our beloved furry companions, it's important not to overlook our own well-being. I’m sure you always pay attention to the safety demonstration on aeroplanes, aka the part that says ‘always put your oxygen mask on first before helping others’.  Prioritising self-care as a dog owner is crucial to maintaining a healthy balance and ensuring both you and your pooch lead happy and fulfilling lives. 

Here’s some things that I’m working on as a pawrent myself:

Setting Boundaries and Scheduling Time for Myself

Dogs thrive in a routine and so do we! Make sure you’re blocking out time in your day that’s just for you. Whether it's for relaxation, exercise, hobbies, or simply unwinding – the choice is yours! Communicate these boundaries to those around you, ensuring that you have uninterrupted time for self-care. When you fill your own cup, you’ll find that you have much more patience and a greater sense of care when it comes to looking after your doggos. 

Delegating and Sharing Responsibilities

Raise your hand if you’re always happy to help your friends or family when they really need support? I’m no psychic, but I’m guessing you mentally raised your hand too (picture me now mentally giving you a high-five). If I asked whether you’d also have no hesitation in asking others for help, would you still have the same answer?

Thing is that we’re taught to tough it out, but we don’t have to do everything alone – and you’d be surprised how many people would lend a hand. Ask your family, friends, or fellow dog owners to help you if you need it. Lightening your load also opens up opportunities for you to connect and socialise. So if you need your dog walked, or help with grooming – don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for help. 

Utilise Pet Services

Outsourcing is a real game-changer in many aspects of life, and it’s no different in pet ownership. By leaving a few of the tasks every now and again for a paid professional to take care of doesn’t make you a ‘bad’ or ‘unworthy’ dog owner. Quite the opposite! Investing in your dog’s care can help you to be a better fur-parent. Take advantage of local pet services, support local businesses, or take that friend up on their offers of pet-sitting and dog-auntie duties. 

Incorporate Exercise Together

You probably don’t need me to repeat the all-too-common knowledge that exercise is… *drum roll* … good for you. And you know as a responsible dog owner that mental enrichment and physical exercise is imperative for your doggo too. 

Want to take it to the next level? Challenge yourselves by going for a longer walk one Saturday morning, or take an easy hike or visit the beach. Get those limbs moving and hopefully feel much better for it! Your doggo will be incredibly mentally stimulated with all that sniffing around in a new area, plus it strengthens the bond between you and your canine companion. Win-win! 

Explore Relaxation Techniques

I know, you’re busy. Honestly, same, but the truth is that you need to balance it all out by finding moments of relaxation. Get into the habit of practising relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing exercises, meditation, or yoga. Some of these things you can do while you’re commuting, or even eating! What’s a great mindfulness tool? Dogs! Partake in a mindfulness exercise while you’re patting your bestie and just be fully present in that moment. Focus on the interaction with your dog, observe their behaviour, and engage in activities that strengthen your bond and rejuvenate your soul. Don’t snooze on this one – practising mindfulness can reduce stress, improve focus, and promote overall well-being.

Note to self: Please listen to your own advice, Cecilia. 

Prioritise Sleep

Zzzzz… are you feeling sleepy? Did you scroll through TikTok for a few too many hours before bed last night? I’m sure we’ve all been guilty of too much screen time before bed. Or succumbing to some sort of unnecessary distraction when really we should be focussing on hitting the hay. 

The reality is that adequate sleep is essential for your physical and mental health. Take it from dogs! This is one rule they definitely abide by. If sleep is something you’re struggling with you could try to create a sleep routine that allows you to get enough restful sleep each night, and try your very best to stick to it. Ensure your dog has a comfortable sleeping space to minimise disturbances and promote uninterrupted sleep for the both of you. Chat to your GP or a mental health professional if you need extra help.  

Seek Support and Connect with Other Dog Owners

Find your people, I promise they’re not hard to find when you have a dog! You could join local dog owner communities, instagram, online forums or connect with a local rescue group for dog walks and markets.

Any opportunity to connect with dog-minded folk is a joy. Sharing our challenges, experiences, seeking advice and providing support can positively impact your life. P.S. we wrote a super cute blog about the importance of community if you’d like to read more! 

Recall these strategies when times get tough, strike a balance between taking care of your doggo and prioritising your own well-being. By setting boundaries, sharing responsibilities, utilising dog services, incorporating exercise and relaxation techniques, and seeking support from fellow dog owners, you can be the very best dog pawrent. Remember, your dog thinks you’re awesome and guess what, we do too!  Be gentle with yourself and your good heart, my friends ♥️

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