Ruff news for man's best friend: One in ten dog owners are not walking their dogs, according to new research.
Australia is a self-confessed nation of dog lovers but Aussie 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 and industry experts.
A new survey by Guide Dogs Australia of 1,000 Australian dog owners revealed that 1 in 10 pet dogs are not being walked at all and one quarter of Australian dog owners say they only hit the pavement with their dogs once a week, if at all. With an estimated 4.7 million pet dogs in Australia, the findings suggest that 3.15 million are not being walked daily.
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.
So how often should we be walking our pet dogs?
According to PAWGUST Veterinary Ambassador, Professor Paul McGreevy, "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."
Professor McGreevy stresses the importance of regular walks for the health and happiness of the nation's dogs. "A dog that isn't walked regularly can demonstrate frustrated, destructive, anti-social behaviours and is also more likely to develop cardiovascular diseases and soft muscles, as well as gain weight. In fact, Australia is the world leader in dog obesity."
Guide Dogs Australia is calling on Aussies to walk their dogs daily this PAWGUST
Upon learning about Australia's alarming dog walking habits, Guide Dogs Australia's PAWGUST Spokesperson Dale Cleaver said, "This research confirms that many Australian dog owners need to be walking their dogs much more regularly – not only for the well-being of their pet, but for themselves too! By getting behind a great cause like PAWGUST, Australians can develop healthy daily exercise habits, while raising funds for an important cause".
"Guide Dogs Australia plays a critical role in enabling people with impaired vision to move around their communities safely and independently, by providing orientation and mobility services, including Guide Dogs. Guide Dogs are also a source of constant support and companionship," Mr Cleaver went on to say. "It costs in excess of $50,000 to raise and train a guide dog, so we'd love the support of as many Australians as possible to provide the best services possible to people living with vision loss or blindness".
This PAWGUST, Australians can pledge to walk their best mate for 30 minutes a day for 30 days via www.PAWGUST.com.au and ask their friends and family to sponsor them to raise vital funds for Guide Dogs Australia.