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.
Additional findings from Guide Dogs Australia’s Aussie Dog Owner survey:
- Only 30% of Australian dogs receive a daily walk
- 63% of Aussies say they mostly feel happier and healthier after walking their dogs
- On average, Australian dogs are being walked 3.6 times per week.
- The Australian Capital Territory have come out best when it comes to walking their dogs. On average, dogs in the ACT are being walked by their owner up to 4.4 times per week, on average.
ABOUT GUIDE DOGS AUSTRALIA
Guide Dogs Australia is the trading name of Royal Guide Dogs Australia which is the national organisation comprised of the state and territory based Guide Dogs organisations across Australia. Together these organisations are the leading providers of both Guide Dogs and orientation and mobility services assisting Australians with a vision impairment. Their services include mobility training with long canes, Guide Dogs and electronic travel devices such as talking GPS technology, to enable people with impaired vision to get around their communities independently.
Visit www.guidedogsaustralia.com or call 1800 804 805.
PAWGUST is a new initiative from Guide Dogs Australia that is encouraging Australian dog owners to challenge themselves to walk their dogs for thirty minutes a day for thirty days in August to raise vital funds that help to support people living with vision loss or blindness. It costs more than $50,000 to breed, raise and train a Guide Dog or Assistance Dog.
Register at: www.PAWGUST.com.au
- $22: Can provide a quality leather dog collar for a Guide Dog pup in training.
- $54: Can help purchase a folding white cane for someone living with vision loss.
- $85: Can help purchase a grooming kit and a bundle of enrichment toys for a puppy raiser.
- $175: Will provide a new Guide Dog user with a Guide Dog instructor for one hour.
- $290: Is enough to help purchase a harness for a working Guide Dog.
ABOUT PAWGUST VETERINARY AMBASSADOR – PROFESSOR PAUL MCGREEVY
Paul McGreevy, PhD, MRCVS, has worked with and studied animals professionally for more than 20 years. He is an associate professor at the University of Sydney’s Faculty of Veterinary Science, where his research focuses on the behaviour and welfare of dogs and horses, and is the author of six books and more than 80 peer-reviewed articles on animal behaviour. He is also the proud owner of three dogs: Wally, Neville, and Tinker.
* Further research from Animal Medicines Australia report – Pet Ownership in Australia – 2016