Research conducted by The Kennel Club ahead of Mental Health Awareness Week has unveiled the positive impact of dog ownership on both mental and physical health.

With a focus on the importance of physical activity for mental well-being, the findings highlight how dog walks contribute significantly to improving mood and overall well-being among owners.

The study reveals that three-quarters of dog owners attribute an improvement in mood and well-being to walking their dogs. This correlation between dog walks and enhanced mental health underscores the therapeutic role that canine companions play in individuals’ lives.

Impact Across Generations

While the benefits of dog companionship are widespread, older age groups report experiencing the most significant advantages. Over 80% of individuals aged 45-54 and those over 55 credit their dogs with keeping them active, thereby positively impacting their mental health. Additionally, two-thirds of all owners attest to becoming fitter and healthier since owning a dog.

Emma Bryden, from Ayrshire, shares her personal journey, highlighting the transformative impact of her dogs, Shahla and Lana, on her mental health. Emma’s dogs have been pivotal in her battle against depression and autism diagnosis, with their companionship fostering an active lifestyle, including agility training. She credits her dogs for enabling her to come off antidepressant medication after a decade, emphasising the profound influence of canine companionship on mental well-being.

Promoting Mental Well-Being

Beyond physical activity, dogs offer holistic support for emotional well-being:

  • Nearly eight in ten owners cite their dog’s unconditional love and comfort.
  • Three-quarters find relief from loneliness through their dog’s companionship.
  • 72% agree that their dog helps alleviate feelings of anxiety.

Bill Lambert, spokesperson for The Kennel Club, underscores the multifaceted benefits of canine companionship. He highlights the significant role dogs play in enriching lives through unconditional love, companionship, and active engagement. Lambert encourages individuals to explore various activities with their dogs, ranging from agility to heelwork, catering to diverse ages and abilities.

During Mental Health Awareness Week, The Kennel Club is championing the positive influence of dogs on mental well-being. Resources and information on leveraging canine companionship for improved mental health can be accessed via