Science has finally proved what I think we all suspected in the first place; owning a dog is actually good for your health.
There’s all sorts of reasons people get dogs. Most simply, they’re adorable, fluffy and a delight to be around, but of course they also provide company, and offer comfort and assistance for many.
You’re welcome to use any of those points to convince your parents, partner or roommate to let you welcome a new four-legged best friend into your home, and when you point out there’s also science on your side there’ll be no way anyone could argue back.
Researchers from the University of Liverpool analysed activity levels in a community in west Cheshire, studying 191 dog owners, 455 people without a dog and 46 children and found the UK would be less active if man’s best friend wasn’t around.
The NHS recommends we get 150 minutes of exercise a week, and the study revealed 87.3 per cent of people with dogs achieved that target, compared to 62.7 per cent of those without a pet pooch, the MailOnline report.
As well as venturing out on some exciting walkies, the researchers found there were higher rates of joggers and runners among dog owners.
The study concluded dog owners walked with their pets for a median average of seven times and 220 minutes per week, meaning they walk more frequently and for longer periods than those without dogs.
This activity was in addition to – not instead of – other exercise.
Discussing the findings, the researchers said:
Our findings provide support for the role of pet dogs in promoting and maintaining positive health behaviours such as walking.
Without dogs, it is likely that population physical activity levels would be much lower.
Those behind the study went on to point out that although dogs are good for us, people shouldn’t take in a furry friend purely for the health benefits.
Our pet dogs play an important role in keeping us healthy and this should be recognised and facilitated.
However, this should not be interpreted to as a recommendation for people to go out and get a dog purely for their own benefit.
Dog welfare needs must be carefully considered.
I think all the good furry boys and girls out there deserve an extra-special head scratch to thank them for keeping us healthy!
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Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.