As Valentine’s Day approaches and many people prepare for a day filled with love, some singletons may wonder how to meet someone new. Dogs may be known for being man’s best friend, but they’re also statistically proven to improve their owner's social life. Perhaps even leading to a paw-fect match, according to a recent study which found that one in three dog owners have met a new partner or friend through their pet.
The research by Agria shows that pets can help to create strong, long-lasting relationships. Dogs are found to unleash love the most, with 38 per cent of owners admitting to finding companions, compared to just 22 per cent of cat owners – perhaps conforming to the stereotype that felines aren’t as compassionate as their canine counterparts.
Dog walkers are the pet owners who most obviously routinely get to experience this wonderful social side of dog ownership. Whether it’s rambling through the park or strolling through the local neighbourhood, dog walking gives people the opportunity to meet one another. In some cases, friendships and even romantic relationships can blossom that otherwise wouldn’t occur if it wasn’t for their dogs.
Robin Hargreaves, Senior Veterinary Advisor at Agria Pet Insurance, comments: “It’s undeniable that pets provide owners with an exciting social life full of wagging tails and new relationships. But this is not the only benefit our furry friends can offer. Pets enable us to significantly improve our mental health and reduce feelings of loneliness thanks to the increased number of social interactions that come hand-in-hand with pet ownership. A simple ‘hello!’ when walking your dog can go a long way and might even spark a new partnership.”
Research suggests that being a pet owner is the third most common way humans meet new people. In fact, pet owners are 60 per cent more likely than non-pet owners to form new neighbourhood friendships.
Agria Pet Insurance shares its five ‘pawsome’ tips for meeting new people while out and about with your dog:
- Ensure your dog is well-trained to help ensure friendly encounters with other pups
- Walk your dog at the same time each day and/or in the same place to see familiar, friendly faces
- Offer a simple ‘hello’ or a wave when passing other owners
- Asking about a dog’s breed is an easy conversation starter
- Carry some healthy treats with you to share with other four-legged friends - but always remember to ask the owner’s permission!
- Join a dog walking group to meet like-minded owners
Agria Pet Insurance is a firm believer in creating and maintaining relationships through pet ownership. The annual Agria Dog Walk, which takes place every Spring, is a fantastic example of a community event where dog owners can meet up, exchange stories and form new friendships; all while raising funds to support animal charities across the UK.
Xtreme insight market research, undertaken with dog and cat owners, November 2023.
Harvard Health Publishing, Pets can help their humans create friendships, find social support.