Dog ownership is popular in Australia. Of the 7.5 million households that own pets in this country, a good deal of these are home to a canine companion. For the most part, we consider the relationship with our canine companions a fairly simple one – we provide food, water, shelter, exercise and attention in exchange for companionship and perhaps the opportunity to teach our children a sense of responsibility of caring for another living being. Few of us really consider how profound some of the benefits of owning a dog can be.
Studies have revealed that pet owners visit the doctor less and use less medication, have lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels, recover more quickly from illness and surgery and deal better with stressful situations. Results of a study conducted by the International Social Science Survey Australia estimated pet ownership actually saved 3.86 billion dollars a year on our national health budget. Through dog ownership especially, people receiving more exercise due to daily walks was one of the main contributors to better health outcomes.
The simple act of taking a dog for a walk gives us the opportunity to sustain both our physical and mental wellbeing, through helping to manage our body weight and cardiovascular health with exercise and encouraging social interaction and strengthening communities. Studies have found that dogs are a conversation starter for 94% of people while walking them, and that 38% of people who meet at dog parks have become more than just passing acquaintances.
Having the opportunity to go for a walk, exercise and explore the surroundings is important for the welfare of your dog, too. The RSPCA is taking the requirements of a dog to be walked so seriously that they have lobbied to introduce fines to those owners who fail to provide their dog with the opportunity to exercise.
Dog walking etiquette
As dog owners, we need to respect those around us.
- Never allow your dog to urinate on anyone’s garden – make sure your dog sticks to the nature strip only, or designated areas for this.
- Always carry a poo bag and USE IT. If you’re one of those sly types who get the poo bag out when they see someone walking past as Fido does the deed, then stashes it back in your pocket once you think everyone is out of view beware-if you’re caught, the council can issue you with a nasty fine.
- Always have your dog under control. Remember, not everyone is a dog lover, and some people might not enjoy an exuberant, loosely restrained mutt jumping all over them as they walk by. Similarly, not all dogs enjoy the random approaches of other dogs. There is no excuse for not having your dog under control.
Photo credit: Patrice Alsteen
Posted on 14 August 2017
Last updated on 15 January 2020
Tagged with: behaviour