A study undertaken by the University of Chichester found that running with a dog can enhance the energising effects of exercise. The research undertaken with grain-free pet food brand, Canagan, suggests exercising with a dog will significantly increase feelings of stamina and most of all, vigour - compared to going it alone. The mood data also showed that negative mood states like depression, anger and fatigue decreased following all runs.
What is more, it’s possible to maintain the same exercise intensity when running with your dog as without, showing this activity is a feasible way to build exercise into both you and your dog’s routine, discounting perceptions that a dog’s need to stop intermittently would hinder your regime.
Despite knowing we’ll feel better after exercise it’s easy to feel ‘treadmill-dread’ and put it off. The study reveals that dog owners who participated in the study felt that the prospect of running with their dog gave them the motivation to get up and go – turning ‘good intentions’ into ‘action’. Emotional connection with our dogs helps us go the distance. Dog owners also reported feeling satisfied knowing that they’re doing an activity their pet loves too. The feeling of companionship on a run makes the activity itself more enjoyable.
Study leader, Dr. Sarah Edmunds from the University of Chichester said: “Despite nearly a quarter of adults in the UK owning a dog, there has been very little research investigating the role dogs play in their owners’ motivation for exercise. This is the first study, that we are aware of, which has looked specifically at the impact of running with dogs on their owner’s exercise experience.
"Results show that our participants exercised at the same intensity both with and without their dog and they experienced a psychological benefit from running with their dog. Interview data found participants were autonomously motivated to run with their dogs. From a behaviour change point of view this is of interest as autonomous motivation is associated with exercise adherence.
"This was a small-scale study, but it indicates taking your dog as a running companion may help to provide that extra motivation to get you out running and help you enjoy the activity.”
Exercising with a dog has been proven to improve cardiovascular health, leading owners to a more physically active lifestyle. Better yet, exercising with a dog isn’t just good for you, but it also boosts your dog’s overall health, mood and fitness levels.
Henry Dove, veterinary expert for the grain-free pet food brand, Canagan said: “The companionship you share with your dog offers so many benefits and this can be applied to running with your dog. Building runs into your pet’s daily exercise regime will ensure they will be fit, will be less likely to be overweight, will keep their joints mobile, and will strengthen their muscle mass.
"They will also get mental stimulation from going to new places and be happy that they are doing something with you. It is important to remember that like humans, your dog will need to build their running endurance over time, and they will need water along the way too."