“I’m fascinated by what a great motivator dogs can be,” said Dr. Sandra McCune, co-editor of the study, titled "The Health Benefits of Dog Walking for People and Pets."
The survey of 1,011 adults who own dogs also found 44 percent of 65-and-older respondents exercise every week because of their four-legged fur balls.
“Personally, I have a Labrador,” McCune said. “When it’s dark, when it’s raining, the dog needs a walk, every day.”
Mars Petcare commissioned the survey.
• Dog owners are more likely to enjoy an active lifestyle because of their companion animal.
• One-quarter of respondents with children said they regularly visit parks and other outdoor venues because of their dog.
• Dogs offer energy, enthusiasm, and social support — all important elements when trying to stick to an exercise regimen.
Laura Cartwright Hardy lives in Little Rock, Ark., with two German shepherds.
“I’ve had big dogs since I was 20, and that’s definitely been part of the reason I've always been fit,” said Hardy, a grandmother. “They certainly keep you honest about walking. Those big brown eyes make it impossible to say no.”