Lack of time and weather conditions are biggest obstacles to owning a dog, says study

A new study reveals that a lack of time and poor weather conditions are the biggest obstacles to owning a dog.

The study by clothing and home décor retailer, Lands’ End found that 1 in 5 people in the UK own a dog (20%), with this number rising to 1 in 4 in Wales (24%) and Northern Ireland.

Despite dogs being a popular pet, over a third (35.2%) agree that the most challenging aspect of having a dog is finding time for outdoor activities, followed by health care and costs associated with having one.

On the other hand, the lack of time (51%), weather conditions (21%) and lack of energy (17%) have been identified as the biggest obstacles to spending quality time with dogs.

Almost two thirds of dog owners change their dogs’ activity depending on the season – 1 in 3 keep dogs more active ins summer and 1 in 4 say that activities depend on weather conditions.

Long walks and runs in the parks tops the list of favourite activities with dogs, followed by playing games with their dog (27%) while almost a quarter of UK dog owners prefer staying in with their dogs (23%).

Alison Thomas, Clinical Compliance Manager at animal welfare charity, Blue Cross, said: “It is important to ensure that your dog gets a walk in all weathers, but only if it is safe for you to go out. If you aren’t able to head outdoors on dark and cold evenings, make sure your dog feels exercised and is mentally stimulated through games inside the home.”

When it comes to keeping dogs warm in colder months the study found that 43% of UK dog owners rely on dogs’ coats, boots and drying them off after the walk (35%). However, 1 in 4 dog owners go on walks as normal, taking no special care of the dog when it gets colder.

Alison added: “In colder months, short-coated breeds, like Greyhounds, Dobermans and Staffordshire bull terriers struggle the most to cope with the cold, so make sure your dog has some winter clothes, like a cosy jumper or coat on when they go outside.

“Where grit or salt spreading has taken place in icy weather, it is important to give your dog’s paws a wash when you get home. It is possible for your dog to become ill as a result of taking in a lot of salt when licking their paws.”

According to the study, less than half of the UK dog owners describe themselves as active, while almost two thirds would like to increase their activity levels. The key to better activity levels seems to lie in having the right walking attire as that makes 50% of dog owners more likely to keep their pooches active despite the weather conditions, the study suggests.

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