Has walking the dog made Britain fitter?

4 minute read
New survey results say 75% of British dog owners believe having a dog made them walk more than they ever did without one. OS wants to keep this going.

Fed up with walking the dog around the same block? Bet the dog is too.

We all need variety and the same goes for our four-legged companions, which is why Ordnance Survey is encouraging dog walkers to use OS Maps to find new routes to explore.

It comes after OS conducted a survey of British dog owners which revealed their walking habits.

The study of 2,000 adults found that four out of ten owners (40%) walk their dog seven times a week or more. Three out of 10 (30%) walk theirs between four and six times a week, while one in four (25%) take the dog out between one and three times.

Five per cent of dog owners don’t walk their dog at all.

The most popular length of time spent walking the dog was between 30 minutes and an hour, with four out of ten owners claiming this was how long they spent strolling with their companion.

On average in Britain dogs are taken out for a walk six times a week with each trip lasting about 48 minutes. It works out that the average dog owner walks their pet 750 miles a year – roughly the equivalent distance from Plymouth to Jon O’Groats.

The survey, carried out by One Poll, revealed three out of every four dog walkers felt owning a dog had made them walk more than they ever did before having one.

The news follows data published by Statista, which showed that dog ownership among UK households had risen to 33% in 2021 – up from 22% at the start of the Covid pandemic. And according to the Pet Food Manufacturers’ Association, 3.2 million pets were bought during lockdown in the UK.

It coincides with a huge increase in use of OS Maps, with people using mapping to discover and explore urban areas and greenspaces to seek out new parks, footpaths, and woodlands.

Nick Giles, OS Managing Director for Leisure, believed the growth in dog ownership had led to more people getting outside to walk them.

"We feel there has been a definite trend in more dog walkers using our OS Maps app, as has been proven by recorded routes in urban areas and use of our greenspace mapping layer which has grown by 1,500 per cent since the pandemic."

Nick Giles, OS Managing Director for Leisure

“One of the best things about a dog is going outside to exercise it. Not only is it vitally important for a dog’s health, having the chance to stretch your legs and de-stress your mind is great for you too.

“The OS Maps app caters for all dog walkers with many different routes saved and shared in there, from shorter 30-minute walks for your pug through to 60 minute plus routes out there to tire out energetic spaniels.

“To break the trend of walking around the block, you can plot routes in OS Maps from the comfort of home, record the walk and then share it with fellow dog owners.

Nick added: “If you are looking for ideas for somewhere different to walk the dog, no matter where you are in Britain, we’ve got over 4 million routes that have been logged and shared already.”

We’ve found some of the best places to walk your dog and picked 10 best dog-friendly routes, tried and tested by our OS Champions and their canine companions. For more information, visit OS Maps.

In addition to maps OS also supplies a range of products for four legged friends – essential kit when taking the dog out for a walk. Dog walking gear for active pups (and humans!) (ordnancesurvey.co.uk)

Explore OS Maps

You can share your walking, cycling or running routes in Great Britain by downloading the OS Maps App on your phone, PC or laptop

Ordnance Survey
By Ordnance Survey

Our highly accurate geospatial data and printed maps help individuals, governments and companies to understand the world, both in Britain and overseas.