There’s no question that living with a dog can change your life. For many, dogs are more than a pet – they are day-to-day companions and can help us in ways we as dog owners may not even notice. But can dogs really benefit our health?
The simple answer is…yes!!
The NHS recommendations for physical activity for adults age 19-64 is 150 minutes per week. This is just over 20 minutes per day. In 2017 a survey of 2,400 dog owners revealed that on average they walked their dogs for 48 minutes a day and covered approximately 1,000 miles in a year!
Research has also shown that older people who own a dog can expect “lower body mass index, fewer activities of daily living limitations, fewer doctor visits, and more frequent moderate and vigorous exercise.”
The physical benefits of regular brisk walking include; improved cardiovascular fitness, lower blood pressure, stronger muscles and bones and decreased stress. It will also hugely benefit your dog, too.
Having a dog can also help us in less obvious ways. Tackling feelings of loneliness being one.
In today’s modern world it can be quite easy to go about our day without speaking to anyone. From social networking to online shopping, it is entirely possible to function without leaving the house. This isolation and inactivity not only has negative implications for our physical health – it can impact our mental health, too. Dog ownership gives people a daily motivation to get up and about and can provide a lifeline when it comes to tackling loneliness.
A WLP customer states, “Having a dog gives you a license to speak to strangers where otherwise it might be awkward. It’s an instant thing you have in common, and it’s so much easier to talk to a stranger about our dogs than it is about ourselves!”
A research piece carried out via Onepoll in 2018 identified that 50% of dog owners are more likely to speak with someone they don’t know when walking their pet. The research also identified that of those surveyed, “just 21 per cent of those with cats and dogs said they were lonely, compared to 32 per cent of those without pets.”
We knew that dogs were amazing already, but it seems there is a growing amount of evidence to support this theory, too! Our We Love Pets franchisees experience many of these benefits – from the health benefits of walking every day to the social side of being part of the dog walking community. Has your pet helped you in unexpected ways, too?