A new study has found that dog owners trek 870 miles a year, just by walking their pet.
The study of 2,000 adults, including 1,000 dog owners, found those with a pet will walk more than 21 miles a week, covering almost 17 miles alone while taking their beloved pooch out for a stroll.
In comparison, those without a dog to walk will travel less than 14 miles each week. It also revealed that not only are they fitter, but dog owners believe having a four-legged friend has improved their overall mental health and reduced their stress levels.
Gemma Cunningham, spokesperson for Lintbells, a manufacturer of natural joint supplements for pets, which commissioned the research, said: “Dogs can be a great addition to the family and friends.
“It’s great to see the results of the survey show how much our dogs have a positive impact on their owner’s lives. It is important to take time out of your busy schedule to exercise – both for your own and your canine’s overall heath and well-being. Just like humans, dogs are social beings and don’t welcome loneliness so getting out and exercising can be a perfect way to leading happier and healthier lives.”
The study found the average pooch is taken on a walk on average nine times a week, for 34 minutes on each occasion. With each walk covering almost two miles, that means a total of around five hours a week – or 11 days a year – is spent exercising the dog.
More than a third of dog owners also said they walk further now than they did before getting their four-legged friend. And three quarters of non-dog owning adults wish they did more walking with 46% believing they would go out more if they had a pet to exercise.
The study also found that 23% of dog owners believe their pet has made them more sociable while 16% feel more connected in the community, with the average owner striking up two conversations with fellow dog walkers each week.
Lintbells’ Gemmer Cunningham added: “The winter months, especially January can make even the best of us feel down in the dumps. The cold dreary weather, post-Christmas blues and lack of sleep can make us feel sluggish and overweight.
“At Lintbells, we have always emphasised the importance of staying active as it is key to a happier and healthier lifestyle, both mentally and physically. The results of this survey solidify this claim and we urge all dog and non-dog owners to set aside some time for exercise every day.
“If you’ve got a dog that’s the perfect motivator as well. Different breeds and age of dogs require different amounts of exercise, so we have developed a handy exercise calculator to check how many miles your dog would benefit from walking each week.”