New Research Shows Dogs Provide Vital Comfort and Support for Mental Health, According to The Kennel Club

The Kennel Club has unveiled compelling research ahead of Mental Health Awareness Week (15-21 May), shedding light on the significant role dogs play in helping their owners cope with stress and sadness.

After enduring a tumultuous period marked by the pandemic and the ongoing cost-of-living crisis, dog owners have found solace and support in their four-legged companions. The study reveals that an impressive 69 percent of dog owners consider stroking or cuddling their dogs as their primary means of seeking relief from stress and emotional distress. Furthermore, an overwhelming three in five (59 percent) respondents admit to finding more comfort in their canine companions than in fellow humans, with 67 percent going as far as declaring their dog to be their “best friend.”

This year’s Mental Health Awareness Week centers around the theme of anxiety, a prevailing mental health issue affecting individuals of all ages. The research underscores the diverse ways in which dog owners, representing all walks of life, perceive their dogs’ positive impact on their mental well-being. Among owners aged over 55, nearly half (48 percent) credit their dogs with reducing their stress levels. Similarly, over a third (37 percent) of owners aged 16-24 attest to feeling less anxious due to their canine companionship.

In addition to emotional support, regular exercise plays a significant role in promoting mental well-being. Over 45 percent of dog owners believe that walking their dogs enhances their mood, while an impressive 63 percent assert that their dogs have played a crucial role in improving their fitness and overall health.

Bill Lambert, spokesperson for The Kennel Club, which organizes Crufts, comments on the research findings, stating,

“This research truly underscores the importance of the relationships we cultivate with our pets for our mental health. Dogs not only offer us comfort and unwavering love during challenging times, but they also help us manage stress and anxiety, providing us with a structured routine and more opportunities to engage in physical exercise.”

Lambert adds:

“Given these insights, it comes as no surprise that our first instinct is to turn to our pets when we feel down. Their immeasurable positive impact has proven to be a reliable source of comfort, particularly in recent years.”

To commemorate the invaluable contributions of our nation’s pets and their pivotal role in our lives, a new virtual event called “cyber-Crufts” will be launched on May 15. The Asda Crufts Online Pet Show, accessible to all pets, will kick off with the category “Best Pet Companion.” Spanning six weeks, the online event will take place on the Crufts Facebook and Instagram pages, offering participants the chance to win prizes ranging from a framed photograph of their pet to a pet-friendly vacation. The grand finale, “Best in Show,” will be held on June 23, with the winner receiving the ultimate Crufts 2024 VIP experience.

Raj Varma, Senior Buying Manager at Asda, Pet and Paper, expresses his enthusiasm for the collaboration, stating,

“Our pets contribute so much to our lives, and this research emphasizes the profoundly positive impact they have on us each day. As the cost of living continues to affect many individuals, we remain committed to providing our customers with great value and high-quality pet products. We are delighted to partner with Crufts and launch the new Pet Pawtal, which will offer expert advice, pet health guidance, photo-sharing competitions, and money-saving tips. We hope that this educational and entertaining content will continue to support our customers in celebrating and cherishing their pets.”

For more information on how dogs can support good mental health, please visit The Kennel Club website. Details about the Asda Crufts Online Pet Show, including how to participate, please visit the official Crufts website.