A study carried out in Australia has revealed that almost 6 in 10 dog walkers feel safer in their neighbourhoods when accompanied by their dogs, with more women than men admitting their dog helps them to feel safe.

The study, which was carried out by The University of Western Australia (UWA) gathered insights from dog owners in Perth, Australia and three US cities (San Diego, Nashville and Portland), and was the first international study of its kind to consistently examine the relationship between dog walking, physical activity and people’s perception of safety in their community.

Speaking about the findings, lead researcher for the study Dr Hayley Christian said “Particularly in US study sites, dog walkers had a greater feeling of security and perceived higher levels of neighborhood surveillance from dog walking than those studied in Perth. This may be due to social and cultural differences in dog-keeping and exercise practices between the two countries”.

Unsurprisingly, the study also found that people who walked their dog achieved at least 30 minutes of physical activity on more days per week than non-dog walkers, helping them to meet the World Health Organisation recommendation of at least 150 minutes of physical activity per week, however perhaps this just reinforces what dog owners already know to be true about the health and social benefits of owning a dog.

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