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Before put on your running shoes and grab the leash, read on for exactly how your dog can help you lose weight — and maybe keep it off for good.

If you’re having trouble losing those extra pounds, you may want to consider getting a dog to help jumpstart your weight loss. It turns out a furry family member may be more than just a good cuddling buddy — research shows your dog can help you lose weight, too.

From lowering blood pressure to reducing stress, it’s long been suggested that having a pet has a number of health benefits. Now multiple studies point to dog owners not only exercising more, but also having a better chance of sticking to a successful weight-loss program. And with Forbes reporting that over 50 percent of adults and dogs are obese in this country — getting exercise alongside your pooch is a win-win.

Yes, Your Dog Can Help You Lose Weight!

Before put on your running shoes and grab the leash, read on for exactly how your dog can help you lose weight — and maybe keep it off for good.

How Can Your Dog Help You Lose Weight?

Having a dog leads to more exercise overall. A 2014 study in the Journal of Physical Activity and Healthsuggests that dog owners are 34 percent more likely than non-owners to get the daily exercise they need. “Obviously you would expect dog walkers to walk more, but we found people who walked their dog also had higher overall levels of both moderate and vigorous physical activities,” explained study author and associate professor of epidemiology at Michigan State University Mathew Reeves in a press statement.

And a Higher Quality of Exercise

Not only are dog walkers getting more exercise, but they may be getting better quality exercise (walking longer and faster), than people who go pooch-less. A recent University of Missouri study showed that people who took a daily walk with a furry friend, opposed to those who walked with humans, showed a much greater improvement in fitness, with walking speed among the dog walkers increased by 28 percent, compared with just 4 percent among the human walkers.

A Dog is Good Motivation

Canine companionship can be a just the motivation you need to get a workout in — plus, what could be better than spending quality time with your best friend? Not to mention, walking your dog is essential for his health, weight management, and stress reduction, too. “If we’re committed to a dog, it enables us to commit to physical activity ourselves,” Rebecca A. Johnson, director of the human-animal interaction research center at the University of Missouri College explains to the New York Times.

Your Dog Can Help You Lose Weight — and Keep It Off

A report from People and Pets Exercising Together (P-PET) found that people can be more successful in sticking with a weight loss program when they exercise alongside their pooch. “People really enjoy spending time with their dogs, and our P-PET study demonstrates that dogs provide the companionship, social support, and motivation to stick with the program until the pounds come off and stay off,” study author Dr. Robert Kushner, Medical Director, Wellness Institute, Northwestern Memorial Hospital explains in a press statement, “This just might be the ultimate buddy system for winning the battle of the bulge!”

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