In a bad mood? Try running with your dog!

New research has found that running with a dog is a top remedy for bad moods.

Grain-free pet food brand, Canagan, and the University of Chichester, teamed up to study whether runners had an enhanced physical and emotional experience when accompanied by their dog.

Their new research reveals that exercising with a dog can actually enhance the feel-good effect, leaving us with significantly greater feelings of stamina and vigour compared to going it alone. The mood data also showed that negative mood states like depression, anger and fatigue decreased.

They found that it’s even possible to maintain the same exercise intensity when running with your dog as without.

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’.

It looks like the 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.

“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,” says Dr Sarah Edmunds of the University of Chichester who led the study. 

“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 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.”

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