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Dog ownership better than a gym membership? A new survey says yes

December 2, 2009 |  1:41 pm

Dog walkAny dog owner can attest to the staggering number of benefits our four-legged friends bestow on us.  Add to that list the health benefits associated with exercise. 

According to a new survey out of the U.K., a group of 3,000 dog owners spent an average of eight hours and 11 minutes exercising their pets each week.  (That total, the researchers behind the survey noted, accounted for an average of two 24-minute walks daily, as well as three longer walks per week.)  A total of 2,000 pet-less people questioned as part of the same survey reported logging an average of only one hour and 20 minutes of exercise per week.

Further, the dog-owning respondents said overwhelmingly that they actually enjoyed walking their pets (86%).  And the dog owners were far less likely to come up with excuses to get out of exercising than the pet-less respondents, owing, we imagine, to an understandable reluctance to disappoint a dog with a gleam like this in its eye.

According to the Telegraph, only 16% of respondents said they enjoyed exercising in a gym.  But lest we give too much credence to the survey, our colleagues at The Times' health blog, Booster Shots, point out that it was sponsored by a British pet healthcare company.

-- Lindsay Barnett

Photo: A professional dog walker hikes with her charges in Runyon Canyon.  Credit: Ken Hively / Los Angeles Times

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