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Why petting your dog is the 'best form of stress release'
2 August 2010 -MailOnline
Don't reach for a glass of wine or watch your favourite soap at the end of the hard day.
For research has shown that the most effective way to unwind is to spend time with the family dog.
It has been revealed that a dog's enthusiasm is infectious and that simply spending time with them leaves owners feeling more relaxed, more optimistic and less preoccupied with everyday worries.
Stress relief: Stroking a dog such as this pug can prove calming as a result of the animal's relentless enthusiam
The survey of dog owners also found that walking the dog is the best quality time that can be spent with the family, beating family mealtimes and even holidays.
Television presenter and dog owner Ben Fogle, 36, says his relationship with his dog has brought countless happy memories and also led to him meeting his now wife, Marina.
He said: '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.'
The poll of 1,000 of the UK's seven million dog owners, conducted for dog food makers Winalot, showed 55 per cent felt more relaxed after time with their dog, 44 per cent were more optimistic and another 44 per cent were less worried about life's everyday problems like job security and financial troubles.
Psychologist 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.'
In addition the survey found that one in four people describe their dog as their best friend and one in six women share their deepest, darkest secrets with their pet alone.