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‘Hair of the dog’ for man's best friend

Forget woodland walks searching for rabbits and chasing balls across open fields, according to the biggest ever 'dog' census, it's more a case of 'hair of the dog' for man's best friend.

The census, conducted by Winalot, revealed a staggering 2.5 million dogs in the UK could be pub regulars as 40% of owners surveyed regularly take their dog to the pub.

The census, which looks into the lifestyle of over 1,000 dog owners and their relationship with their pets, also discovered that dogs' lives are becoming increasingly interlinked in all aspects of their owner's daily life.

For example: Almost half of dogs go on holiday with their owners every year; 1 in 5 people find being with their dog more relaxing than having a drink with friends However, despite dogs becoming more involved in their owner's lifestyle, it was discovered that leisure facilities are still limited. Although parks are the most obvious place to walk the dog, it was revealed that they are considered the most dog unfriendly; 35% of British owners put parks at the top of their list when asked what they would like to be made more dog friendly. The beach came second with 21% of the vote, followed by hotels at 13%; 51% of owners enjoy walking their dog because it gives their dog enjoyment, and 20% said walking their dog makes them feel fitter.

Psychologist, Glyn Collis of Warwickshire University comments, "These results strongly suggest that man and dog are spending a lot more 'social' time together. Dog and owner relationships are becoming more integrated and the leisure industry has already identified a niche for dog friendly facilities."

Sam Gutsell from Winalot comments, "The first ever Winalot census shows that dogs are enriching our lives. We are spending less time apart from our dogs and we are taking them beyond the traditional territory of the park, to include them in our lives, from trips to the pub, to holidays together. But perhaps we should be doing more to make Britain more dog-friendly - it would be great to see public areas becoming more accommodating to dogs in the future."