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Owners not aware of the importance of play, poll reveals

Dog owners believe going for a walk or watching TV with their pet is enough stimulation to keep their pets happy, new research reveals. 

The survey of 2,000 British dog owners by US firm Bark shows 82% of owners considered walking to be a form of play, while 28% believe ‘watching TV’ together counts. 

The research found that while owners recognised that 15-30 minutes of dedicated daily playtime is needed, 56% do not manage it, and 28% admitted they only play with their dog on three days a week. 

Bonding and relationship strengthening was recognised as the most common benefit of play within the survey (60%), however, 49% of owners were not aware that play also supports mental stimulation and training (64%). 

In addition, the survery shows that 62% of owners expect to spend less time outdoors as the weather changes. 

Bark is hoping to change things with the nationwide launch of its Bark to School Playbook at Pets At Home. 

With the help of canine behaviourist Shelby Semel and veterinarian Dr Margo Hennet, the playbook includes five play games based on Bark’s five archetypes of play, which includes simple and fun games to help bonding. 

Semel said: “Playing games with your dog is valuable for both mental and physical stimulation and also for strengthening the Dog to Human bond. You can bond further by learning dog body language; signs of being happy and playful Including a play bow, circular wagging tail, and mouth open and relaxed.” 

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