The amount of miles you rack up walking a dog is quite extraordinary

New research has revealed getting a dog is good for your fitness and mental health [Photo: Getty]

Been thinking of getting a dog? Might be time to take the plunge as a new survey has revealed dog owners clock up a whopping 870 miles a year walking their furry friends.

The study of 2,000 adults, half of which were dog owners, found that those with a pet will walk more than 21 miles a week – covering almost 17 miles alone while taking their dog out for a stroll.

By comparison pooch-free participants walked less than 14 miles each week.

The study found the average dog is taken on a walk an average of nine times a week, for 34 minutes on each occasion.

With each walk covering almost two miles, that means a total of around five hours a week – or 11 days a year – is spent exercising the dog.

Just think how happy your fitness tracker will be?

More than a third of dog owners also said they walk further now than they did before getting their furry friend.

It seems pets are acting as fitness incentives too with three quarters of non-dog owning adults wishing they did more walking, and 46% believing they would go out more if they had a pet to exercise.

The research also revealed that not only are dog owners fitter, but almost half believe having a four-legged friend has improved their overall mental health and reduced their stress levels.

The pet related benefits don’t end there either, almost a quarter (23%) of dog owners believe their pet has made them more sociable while 16% feel more connected to the community, with the average owner striking up two conversations with fellow dog walkers during each stroll.

But before you head on down to your nearest rescue centre, its worth considering that there are some not so rosy elements associated with dog walking.

According to the poll, you can expect to clock up more than 100 family rows a year over whose turn it is to take the dog for a walk.

Dog owners clock up 780 miles a year walking their pooch [Photo: Getty]

More than a third of dog owners also admit they try and pass the walk on to their children – an average of four times a month.

The survey, carried out via OnePoll.com, also found that although 92 per cent of dog owners say they enjoy walking their poochs, three in 10 blame poor weather for not getting out more often.

And there are other, not necessarily pleasant, elements of the dog walk to consider too with owners revealing they use 936 poo bags, play 2,340 games of fetch and call their pet’s name at least 1,404 times annually.

Commenting on the findings Gemma Cunningham, spokesperson for Lintbells, which commissioned the research said: “It’s great to see that the results of the survey show how much our dogs have a positive impact on owners’ lives.

“It is important to take time out of your busy schedule to exercise – both for your own and your canine’s overall health and well-being.

“Just like humans, dogs are social beings and don’t welcome loneliness, so getting out and exercising can be a perfect way to leading happier and healthier lives.”

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