Guide dog puppy needs to do a bit of growing before the harness will fit.
Guide dog puppy needs to do a bit of growing before the harness will fit. Guide Dogs Australia

Is your dog happy? Take the quiz to find out!

WHILE a wagging tail and slobbering mouth may be signs your dog is happy, do you really know for certain if they are as happy as they could be?

To help launch their annual fundraising campaign Pawgust next month (see what they did there?), Guide Dogs Australia have released a Dog Happiness quiz to lets owners measure the happiness of their dog.

The annual fundraising challenge encourages people to commit to walking their pooches 30 minutes a day for 30 days during August, which, according to dognitive therapist and PAWGUST Ambassador Laura Vissaritis, could do wonders for a dog's mental health and happiness.

"Dogs and humans are more similar than you might think! The link between exercise and improved mental health for people exists for dogs as well. Exercise releases neurotransmitters, such as endorphins, oxytocin and serotonin into the brain, all which aid in pain relief, happiness and optimism for our dogs," Ms Vissaritis said.

With only 30 per cent of owners reportedly walking their dog every day, Ms Vissaritis says Australians could be ignoring a vital way to ensure their pups are feeling their healthiest and happiest. She is urging all owners to consider the positive impact that committing to walking 30 minutes a day for PAWGUST could have on their pup.

"Dogs crave consistency and purpose, so an initiative such as PAWGUST has a multitude of benefits," she said.

"You're making a commitment to regular exercise, which is healthy for dogs and owners, all while raising funds for Guide Dogs Australia."

Guide dogs in training.
Guide dogs in training. Guide Dogs Australia

According to Ms Vissaritis, there are some obvious signs and symptoms that dogs are experiencing poor mental health or anxiety; these include barking, loss of appetite or trying to escape, but not every sign is so easy to read.

"Sometimes, the body language we perceive as excitement or happiness are in fact a sign that a dog is feeling anxious. Things like certain tail wags can indicate your dog is actually experiencing distress," Ms Vissaritis said.

"There are certain activities dog owners should implement to maintain the health and happiness of their dog. These include dog walking, problem-solving activities, exploring new places and socialisation with other dogs."

This Pawgust, Australians can pledge to walk their best mate for 30 minutes a day for 30 days via www.pawgus.com.au and ask their friends and family to sponsor them to raise vital funds for Guide Dogs Australia.

Findings from Guide Dogs Australia's Aussie Dog Owner survey:

● 1 in 10 (13%) dog owners do not walk their dog at all

● One third (33%) of Australian dog owners say their dog only gets walked twice a week or less.

● 42% of dog owners attribute lack of time as the reason they don't walk their dogs more frequently, followed by weather (35%)

● 63% of Australian dog owners say they feel happier/healthier after walking their dogs.

● 29% of dog owners walk their dog for 30 minutes or less

About Pawgust

Back for its second year, Pawgust is an initiative from Guide Dogs Australia that is encouraging Australian dog owners to challenge themselves to walk their dogs for thirty minutes a day for thirty days in August to raise vital funds that help to support people living with vision loss or blindness. It costs in excess of 50,000 to breed, raise and train a Guide Dog or Assistance Dog.

Register at: www.pawgust.com.au



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