Studies have shown that having a pet can have many positive effects on our health and mood. Recently, experts have explored the scientific benefits of the human-animal bond. They found that the ownership of a pet has been linked to decreased depression, lower blood pressure in stressful situations, and elevated levels of serotonin and dopamine, chemicals produced in the brain that calm and relax us, as compared to those who do not own pets. One of the main reasons for this is because pets fulfill the basic human need for touch. In particular, dogs have become acutely attuned to human emotion and behavior through the interpretation of our tone of voice, body language, and gestures. Although many dog owners are aware of the happiness they feel when they come home to their furry friend, a lot of people do not realize the physical and mental health benefits that can come from playing or snuggling with their pet.
Rather than leaving your pup at home this weekend while you get out and enjoy the nice weather, bring them along to enjoy the sunshine with you. To encourage you to take advantage of the benefits that come with having your dog around, I have put together a list of “dog friendly” activities in the South Bay area that you and your dog can take pleasure in together. So get out there and have fun!
1. Enjoy A Meal At One Of Your Favorite Restaurants
Now-a-days many restaurants in the South Bay area have dog-friendly patios where you are free to enjoy lunch or dinner with your pet. As it is sure to be a warm weekend, what better way to spend a morning or afternoon than relaxing on the open patio of your favorite restaurant with man’s best friend? Restaurants such as Tin Roof in Manhattan Beach, Martha’s 22nd Street Grill in Hermosa Beach, and Rock & Brews in El Segundo all encourage you to enjoy your meal with your dog by your side.
2. Go On A Dog-Friendly Hike
Rather than hitting the gym this weekend, try getting some sun and fresh air outside on a hike with your pup! There are many hikes in the area that allow you to bring your dog along. We recommend Veteran’s Parkway (Hermosa Valley Greenbelt), a trail supported by Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, a non-profit organization that has converted former rail lines into beautiful hiking trails for residents and visitors to enjoy. For some extra fun, bring along a few friends and encourage them to bring their dogs as well!
3. Take A Beach Walk
Although there aren’t any beaches in the South Bay that allow dogs on the actual sand, you are more than welcome to walk your dog along the coastline in Manhattan and Hermosa Beach on The Strand. As long as your dog remains on his or her leash, you are able to enjoy some sunshine and fresh salty air on a brisk beach walk with your pet along The Strand.
As a dog lover and a therapist, I strongly believe in the mental health benefits of having a pet. I also know that talk therapy can be a valuable resource in one’s life. I provide therapy and counseling services for children, teens, adults and couples in Manhattan Beach, Redondo Beach, El Segundo, Torrance, and all over the South Bay area. If you would like to schedule an appointment with me, please call me at 310-892-2572 or email me.