We have all heard the phrase, “Dogs are a man’s best friend”, but just how true is it? Research carried out in recent years points to this being more accurate than you might think, with dog ownership being linked to a number of both physical and mental health benefits. Read on to find out more…
People who own a dog tend to be more active
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 and isolation 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! Has your pet helped you in unexpected ways? Have you met a great friend or partner through your pets? If so, we would love to hear your story! Get in touch via our We Love Pets Facebook page.