A poll commissioned by Purina sheds light on the social benefits of owning a canine companion – and of dog walks.

The findings highlight how dog walks not only promote physical activity but also create opportunities for social interaction and forging new friendships.

The poll revealed that nearly half (44 per cent) of dog owners have made at least one new friend while out on a dog walk. Moreover, a significant majority (66 per cent) stated that owning a dog and going for regular walks together encouraged them to be more socially engaged with new people.

Martina Mchowat, web lead for Purina.co.uk, underscores the positive impact of dog walking on social interaction, noting that walking a dog often leads to meaningful connections between owners. She adds, “Whilst dogs are getting the exercise they need, owners are very often building new friendships with other dog owners as well. Amidst growing concerns about social isolation and the detrimental effects of loneliness, spending time walking your dog appears to offer owners valuable opportunities for meaningful connections.”

Dog Walks Spark Conversations

Furthermore, the poll highlights the role of dog walks in initiating conversations with new people. A staggering 79 per cent of dog owners reported being more inclined to engage in conversations when accompanied by their furry friends. This increased likelihood of interaction is accompanied by a boost in confidence, with 59 per cent of respondents stating that owning a dog has made them more confident in conversing with strangers.

Not only do dog walks facilitate human friendships, but they also foster bonds between dogs. A notable 67 per cent of respondents confirmed that their dogs made friends with other canines while out on walks, reinforcing the idea that dog walks are not just about exercise but also about socialisation for pets.