The vast majority of dog owners (70%) take their pets for at least one walk each day, with the average duration of these walks being about 17 minutes. Not only do these walks make dog owners’ lives healthier, but a new study finds that they make their love lives better, too.
According to a Direct Line survey of more than 2,000 adults in the United Kingdom, about half (46%) said that walking a dog is one of the easiest ways to make friends, which may explain why about 29% of dog owners have met lifelong friends while out walking their dogs.
Dogs can also help their owners improve their love lives, as well. Nearly half of surveyed Brits (46%) think loving animals makes a person more attractive, and about one-third (32%) think dog owners are more likely to be loyal, compassionate, and kind. The study also found that women were more likely than men to be attracted to animal lovers, too.
This isn’t the first study that discovered the fact that dogs can affect their owners’ social lives, either.
In a 2012 study, researchers from the University of Houston sent online questionnaires to 120 cohabitating, heterosexual couples, asking them about the relationship they shared with their pets, and the level of happiness they felt in their lives and relationships.
The study found that women felt more satisfied with their relationships if their partners cared about their pets as much as they did. Men, on the other hand, were happy regardless of how their partner felt about their pets.
In other words, loving a partner’s dog can actually lead to a better, healthier, happier relationship.
The Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University conducted a similar study, which found that people who have strong relationships with their pets also have social and relationship benefits as well.
In that particular study, researchers surveyed 500 people between 18- and 26-years-old, and found that those with a “strong attachment to pets reported feeling more connected to their communities and relationships.” Tufts researchers also found that the more attached a person was to their animal as a teenager and young adult, the more empathetic and confident they’d be later in life.
Ultimately, it seems that science has found out what many people already know: that dogs can make their owners’ lives better.