We all acknowledge how much of a difference our faithful companions make in our day-to-day lives. Now more than ever, they provide great company, keep us fit and let’s face it, make great therapists! They create a positive impact on our personal wellbeing and quality of life, in ways that are at times beyond our understanding.
Our tails were wagging when our friends at Tails.com, StreetVet, and Dogs for Good, alongside psychologist Emma Kenny created the largest ever study to find out just how much of a difference our dogs are having in our life.
We’ve broken the report down for you guys, with just 5 of the many ways in which dogs are transforming lives across the UK.
Dogs Help With Mental Health
The report found that even prior to the outbreak of COVID-19, a staggering 99.7% of dog owners said that caring for a dog has a positive impact on their mental wellbeing. That’s not forgetting all the benefits to our physical health too – we all know that our dog walks help both animals and owners to keep fit and shed pounds.
When it comes to mental health, two-thirds of dog owners described their pooch as a ‘four-legged therapist’, with 85% of women chatting to their dog all day when they’re in the house together, and 79% of men do the same.
TV Psychologist Emma Kenny said, “I’m finding that many people are currently looking to their dogs as therapeutic companions, a silent member of the household who can always be relied upon to listen, without the fear of judgment, and who can also bring some fun and laughter into our lives.”
Since lockdown came into force, 79% said that their dog has helped to ‘boost their mood’, and 70% of people say a dog’s unconditional love means the world to them!
Dogs Make Us Less Selfish
Nearly half of the participants said having a pet makes them less selfish. Caring for a dog helps us to thrive in modern life, by taking us away from our daily situations, problems and stresses while attending to their needs.
Our dogs will always hold us to the routines of feeding, walking, and sleeping, thinking about their needs on a day-to-day basis helps us to be less selfish.
Dogs Improve Family Life
The benefits of caring for our dogs is even more significant now, more than ever. They provide comfort for families and make the home complete for so many singles. In fact, 92% of participants in the Dogs Difference study said that having a dog, improved family life.
Not only can they bring the family together, but they can also reduce family stress, just by the dog being their adorable silly, self. 60% of participants think their dog is just so fun to be around and we couldn’t agree more!
For children, growing up with a dog provides plenty of learning and enhances social skills. That’s not forgetting the family walks and activities that bring everyone together. According to the research, from dog ownership, boys are more likely to demonstrate kindness and empathy, while girls are more likely to be active and interested in nature.
Did we mention dogs make great listeners for the whole family? Mums Dads, toddlers, and teenagers. The research from Tails.com also revealed nearly half of respondents are more likely to tell a dog their secret(s) before their partner or best friend.
If that wasn’t enough, there is also a noticeable ‘halo effect’ with over three quarters of people said having a dog has positively impacted the mental wellbeing of someone else in their home!
Dogs Help Us Socialise
Social isolation and loneliness started increasing even before the impact of Covid-19. The study found that a third of respondents (33%) felt their pooch made them more social.
Having a dog and going out walking with them attending dog-related events in the community and heading to dog friendly places has a positive effect on our interactions with others.
We’ve already seen this difference flourish from members of our community. Having a dog allows us to take the focus off ourselves, and to bring up a topic entirely related to our furry pals. If there’s another dog owner in the mix, it means you instantly have common ground – the perfect ice-breaker.
Dogs Are Changing Lives
For our vulnerable communities, the power of dogs is particularly impactful. Case studies from our chosen charities for Bark Aid, ‘StreetVet’ and ‘Dogs for Good’ shows how the people who are most in need, are often the ones who need their dogs most.
Has Your Dog Made a Difference?
Share how your pooch has impacted your life in the comments below, or share your stories via social media tagging us and @tails.com with #thedogdifference.
We can’t recommend reading this report enough. If anything, it will fill you with so much happiness and joy to see the impact dogs make across the UK and indeed, the rest of the world. The full report can be found here.