A study shows being a pet parent can improve Canadians’ lifestyle habits.

The reason 1 in 2 Canadians get a dog is for companionship (50.8 per cent) but it turns out the ‘companion’ comes with more benefits than simply company.1 Nutram Pet Products <http://www.nutram.com/> , a holistic pet wellness company, today announced its findings from a survey conducted by Research Now, which reveals that nearly 7 out of 10 dog owners thank their pet for their improved fitness and health (69.3 per cent).2

“I thank Nacho for being my daily motivation for staying physically active,” said Canadian television personality, Jillian Harris. “I’ve always been health conscious but especially since Nacho joined my family, I’m motivated to get up and take him out for a walk, rain or shine.”

According to a recent Health Canada study, almost half of Canadians (46.3 per cent) are physically inactive and are not meeting the daily recommended moderate-to-vigorous physical activity levels (an hour long walk or twenty-minute jog each day– the amount required to be considered physically active)3. Canadian adults are reported to spend about 70 per cent of their waking hours, or 9.5 hours, sedentary4.

The survey suggests that owning a dog increases physical activity in pet parents as 1 in 2 dog owners (55 per cent) claim to walk or exercise with their dog for more than one hour every day, and the amount of time spent exercising slightly increases over the weekend. Nearly 6 out of 10 pet parents (57 per cent) believe that having a pet helps to improve their habits and regimens. Pet parents who consider themselves to live a very health conscious lifestyle are most likely see a change in their habits and regimens (55.3 per cent). Generally, dogs require a minimum of thirty minutes to one hour of exercise each day, and an inadequate amount of daily exercise can have not only a significant effect on a dog’s physical health but also, their behaviour.

“The responsibility of being a pet parent and the repercussions of having an antsy dog are usually enough to get pet parents off the couch and out exercising,” said Gillian Ridgeway, Nutram OTC Pet Wellness Expert and Dog Trainer. “All dogs require an appropriate amount of sustained aerobic activity every day, based on breed, age and health, and walking a dog can provide the same exercise and lifestyle benefits to the owner.”

Physically active Canadians have proven to exhibit lower levels of stress, are less likely to report high blood pressure, and are less likely to be overweight, obese,5 or experience depression and anxiety,6 which mirrors the finding that nearly one-half of dog owners (46.8 per cent) reported a lower stress level after owning a pet.7

Other findings show:

  • Nearly one-half of dog owners (48.5%) take their dog for exercise on the sidewalk, followed by local parks (32.5%) and hiking trails (18.2%)
  • People who take the scenic route get more exercise; 29% of pet parents who walk their dog on the sidewalk get 30 minutes to 59 minutes of daily exercise and 29% of pet parents who walk their dog on a trail get 1-2 hours of daily exercise
  • Over 7 out of 10 pet parents claim to be happier after owning a pet (71%)
  • Less than 5% of adults identify ‘health benefits or health reasons’ as a motivator for initially becoming a pet parent
    • Over 50 per cent of people between the ages of 55-75 got a dog for companionship (54%)
      • Overall 6 out of 10 of adults over the age of 55 get a dog for companionship (62%)
      • The most common reason seniors aged 75+ get a dog is for companionship (79%)
    • People between the ages of 35-44 are most likely to get a dog for their children (22.3%)

The survey also uncovered social improvements including spending more time with family (27 per cent), greater sense of self-esteem (32 per cent), increased comfort around people (33 per cent), and increased sociability with strangers (26.52 per cent), supporting several previous studies which have also tied the benefits of pet ownership to social well-being and physical health. Overall, healthy pets mean healthy Canadians.

Jillian Harris, a Canadian television personality and interior designer, is Nutram’s official OTC brand ambassador <http://nutram.com/press-release/nutram-announces-jillian-harris-as-a-brand-ambassador-to-kick-off-spring-campaign> . Jillian adopted her boxer Nacho Cilantro from Mexico in October 2014. Currently the host of HGTV’s Love It or List It Vancouver and Love It or List It Too (USA), Harris is a former contestant on ABC’s The Bachelor and was the first Canadian Bachelorette on the series. She has also appeared on Extreme Makeover: Home Edition and Canada’s Handyman Challenge. In addition to her television work, Harris is a lifestyle blogger who writes about food, beauty, interior design, and style at JillianHarris.com <http://www.jillianharris.com/> .

Nutram Links:

Twitter: www.twitter.com/nutram <https://twitter.com/nutram>

Facebook: www.facebook.com/nutram <https://www.facebook.com/nutram>

Instagram: www.instagram.com/nutrampetproducts/ <https://instagram.com/nutrampetproducts/>

Online: www.nutram.com <http://www.nutram.com/>

About Nutram

Nutram Pet Products is a 100 per cent Canadian owned and operated, privately held company with more than 30 years of pet food manufacturing experience. Located in Elmira, Ontario, Nutram produces super premium dry dog and cat food that can be found in over 25 countries worldwide. Nutram was first developed in 1993 and was re-introduced to the North American pet industry and to consumers in 2015. With an extensive history and list of product innovations in the pet food industry, Nutram truly is Canada’s Pet Food Experts! Learn more at www.nutram.com <http://www.nutram.com/> .

About the Survey

Research Now Group, a market research company, conducted a survey on behalf of Nutram among 1,000 dog owners (age 18+) across Canada. The online survey was conducted from April 18-May 2, 2016.