We are a self-confessed nation of dog lovers but dog owners are putting their four-legged friends’ health and happiness at risk by not walking them as frequently as they should be, according to new research. A new survey by Guide Dogs Australia of 1,000 dog owners revealed that 1 in 10 pet dogs are not being walked at all and one-quarter of dog owners say they only hit the pavement with their dogs once a week, if at all.
According to Animal Welfare Scientist, Professor Paul McGreevy, not being walked impacts dogs in multiple ways, including weight gain, poor behaviours, lack of social interaction with the owner and other dogs and softer muscles.
It’s not only our furry friends missing out on the benefits of going for a walk, their owners are too. Health benefits including improved cardiovascular fitness, lower blood pressure and decreased stress.
Surveyed dog owners blame lack of time (42%) as the biggest factor preventing them from walking their dog more often, followed by weather conditions (35%).
The new research coincides with the launch of a new Guide Dogs Australia initiative, PAWGUST, which is challenging all dog owners to walk their dog for at least 30 minutes, every day, for 30 days this August 2018. McGreevy says, “All healthy dogs – big or small – need to be walked regularly, I recommend daily, and not just because of the inherent exercise benefits. Dogs thrive on daily walks for the opportunities they provide to socialise, indulge in some one-on-one attention from their owner, explore beyond the home and discover new smells. This inspires curiosity and excitement to release endorphins and make them happier dogs.”