Friday, 6 August 2010

Ben Fogle proven stress reliever...or am I getting muddled?

I get asked to put lots of things on this blog.
But being asked to put up a picture of Ben Fogle, running like an extra on Baywatch, with his hair flowing in the wind, is no stress at all. After all his lovely dad Bruce has a long history of writing for our magazine.
Here's the press release that goes with the above photo. 
There's a competition where your dog could end up on starring on a pack of Winalot - I kid you not! And look, we all already know that dogs are great at reducing our stress levels but there's a survey. (Well apart from when they break their lovely china water bowl like Oscar did this morning, or jump the fence (like Tess does whenever there's a rabbit in the paddock or a vowel in the month), or eating unspeakable things and then having upset tums on very hairy bottoms....(Oscar)... I could go on and on. Perhaps other people's dogs are great stress relievers!)

Dogs Proven as Effective Stress Relievers

Forget eating dinner as a family - dog owners believe that walking their dog together is the best activity for family bonding, as well as being their favourite way to unwind.

In a new poll by Winalot dog food of 1,000 of the UK's seven million dog owners, it is revealed that simply by spending time with the family dog, dog owners feel more relaxed and less stressed (55%), happier and more optimistic (44%), and less occupied with every day worries and problems (44%).

The findings also reveal two thirds (67%) claim walking the dog is the best quality time they spend with their family – more than watching TV, eating dinner or even going on holiday together.

The research is supported by a study conducted in the homes of dog-owning families with Mindlab International. Using monitoring equipment and stressor tests* to compare the effect different relaxation techniques have on family members, the study proves the simple act of petting the family dog is the most effective method of lowering stress within families – beating other popular methods of relaxation such as reading and listening to music.

Dr David Lewis, of Mindlab International, said: "You've had a tough and stressful day. The boss has been on your case, the children playing up, the shops packed and the traffic bumper-to-bumper! Now all you want to do is relax and unwind. Actually, forget the TV and interact with the dog instead. The research we conducted shows this is a profound and effective stress reducer and increases feelings of contentment and relaxation."

Those polled also identified many other benefits associated with owning a dog, including the sense of responsibility (54%) and care (41%) that owning a dog instills in young family members, as well as the role dogs play in getting families off the couch and outside being active (54%).

Winalot released the results today to launch Winalot Family Moments ( ) - a new photography competition celebrating those special moments families spend with their dogs. Dog owners across the UK are being invited to share favourite family snaps, complete with their dog, to win a chance to bag their pet a starring role on packs of Winalot and a professional photoshoot with their dog.

Celebrity dog-owner, Ben Fogle, is fronting the campaign. He says his relationship with his dog has brought him many happy moments, including an introduction to his now wife, Marina. “Having a dog is rewarding in so many ways and I enjoy nothing more than coming home and being greeted by Inca, her daughter Lola, and Maggi.  Their enthusiasm is infectious and we feel at ease and more relaxed after spending time with them. They complete our family.”

Findings from the research also reveal the unique relationship that dogs have with their owners, with one in seven respondents (14%) claiming their dog is so in-tune it's as though they can read their mind. Additionally, one in four (25%) describe their dog as their best friend. And - if only dogs could talk! One in six women share their deepest, darkest secrets with their pet alone!

If you would like to enter your favourite family moment photograph with your dog, log on to  for your chance to win.
Closing date of competition 1st October 2010

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