Over half of owners admit they don't walk their dog every day
Less than half of the nation's dogs are walked on a daily basis, according to new research.
Natural pet food maker Forthglade surveyed 1,500 dog owners in the UK, revealing that only 42% take their dog out for a walk every day and the average weekday dog walk is over in less than 20 minutes.
The company has launched the Great British Dog Walk campaign to encourage owners to get outside walking more.
Kennel Club guidelines say that the average adult dog needs at least 30 minutes of exercise each day to stay fit and healthy, while larger breeds may need up to two hours.
"Our research highlights a growing need for people to extend their daily dog walks, to really make the most of all the health and well being benefits to both us and our dogs. It's also a wonderful way to nurture the special bond between dogs and owners, which in itself, makes us so happy," commented Forthglade's joint managing director, Gerard Lovell. "As a dog owner myself, I know finding the time to walk isn't always easy, but once firmly in your daily routine it can be so positive and rewarding. Alongside a nutritious diet, walking really is one of the best ways to support your dog for a happier and healthier lifestyle."
Owners gave a variety of reasons for not walking their dogs for longer, ranging from not having enough time (28%) or being too tired after work (15%) to preferring to watch TV (4%).
Meanwhile, 15% said their dog misbehaves on walks, 11% said they have a small dog who doesn't like long walks, 20% claimed their dog doesn't like to be out in the rain and 4% said their dog doesn't like getting dirty.
Dr Carri Westgarth, a dog behaviourist specialising in human animal interaction, is among the experts supporting the campaign.
"These findings are extremely familiar to me as dog owners tell me the same in my own research," she said. "It sounds obvious to state that regular walks are good for us, but in our busy lives, it's easy for walks to slip by in a hurry, or be put off until tomorrow. We want to help people rediscover the joy in walking their dogs and appreciate those moments that are not only benefiting the dog and themselves physically, but also helping us de-stress and improving our mental health."
As part of the Great British Dog Walk you can download a six-week challenge, designed to help you enjoy the benefits of longer, more frequent walks with your canine companion and create a better daily dog walking routine.
To find out more, visit Forthglade's Great British Dog Walk.