Dogs living in the South West of England are more likely to have longer walks than the national average, according to a new survey.
The survey*, of more than 3,000 dog-owners across the country, showed that 38% of dogs have a walk of longer than an hour, compared to 35% nationally.
The survey was commissioned in the lead up to the RSPCA’s Big Walkies challenge in October, which invites people to walk 10,000 steps a day, with or without a dog, to raise money for animals in need. The results also found that 22% of dogs in the region have three walks a day - while almost 7% aren’t walked at all.
The survey also showed that, in the South West the dog owners who responded reported that:
Almost 44% of dogs go out for a walk at least twice a day;
43% of dogs have a daily walk of 30 minutes to an hour; 30% go out for one to two hours, and 8% for more than two hours, while almost 18% are walked for less than half an hour;
28% of dog-owners always let their dogs off their leads during a walk, while 18% never go off their leads.
Nationally, the survey suggested that:
Dogs in London have the ‘best walkies’ in England, as their owners reported that they are most likely to be walked at least once a day with almost half having two strolls a day, and they are more likely to be allowed off the lead, play with other dogs and have a ball or toy to play with;
44% of owners said that their dogs go out for a walk at least twice a day, while 6% don’t get a daily walk at all;
Nationally, 49% of dog owners reported to a daily walk of 30 minutes to an hour; 27% go out for one to two hours, and 9% for more than two hours;
28% of dog-owners report to always let their dogs off their leads during a walk, while 18% never go off their leads.
Animal-lovers who sign up to My Big Walkies will pledge to walk at least 10,000 steps a day - approximately five miles - with or without their dog throughout October while being sponsored to do so.
If they complete the challenge animal lover will have clocked up 155 miles in October - the same as walking from Penzance to Glastonbury.
Dog-loving singer Peter Andre who is supporting the RSPCA Big Walkies challenge, said: “It's important to remember how much happiness dogs bring to our lives. Sadly there are many dogs which are ill-treated every day and the RSPCA works incredibly hard to combat animal cruelty.
“I encourage dog-owners to sign up for My Big Walkies. Taking part will help raise money which will enable the RSPCA to carry out this vital work.
“It's also a fantastic opportunity to get out and about with your dog, while helping less fortunate dogs at the same time. It’ll be fun, great for your health and fitness, great for your dog and it's all for a fantastic cause - the RSPCA.”
Dr Samantha Gaines, the RSPCA’s dog welfare expert, said: “The results from our survey suggest that where we live has an impact on how we exercise our dogs.
“London dogs in particular appear to have more opportunities to do what many dogs love - playing with other dogs and their owners as well as toys and balls.
“There are some very lucky pooches in the capital but no matter where you live, you and your dog can enjoy some great walks.
“Taking your dog for a walk can have huge benefits for both of you. For many people dogs are a huge part of the family, and exercising with them offers great opportunities to spend quality time together and helps form a strong bond. It can also boost your own fitness and happiness levels.
“For dogs, having a good sniff and investigating their surroundings while on a walk can boost their health and happiness.
“There are also huge benefits to you as a dog-owner - as a recent study showed that a brisk 10-minute walk a day can add years to your life.** So imagine the benefits you will reap by walking 10,000 steps a day!”
The level of exercise a dog needs will depend on their age, breed and health and 10,000 steps may be too much for some dogs. So if owners aren’t sure how much exercise their dog needs we would advise them to seek advice from their vet.
To find out more and to sign up for My Big Walkies, visit https://loveanimals.rspca.org.uk/mybigwalkies.
Walkers will find tips for them and their doggy friends as well as some great fundraising advice and photos to share on social media.