Revealed: The formula for your dog’s happiness

Revealed: The formula for your dog’s happiness

We know our pooch pals make us happy but how do we know they're happy? Seeing your owner walk through the door + cuddles + belly rubs + doggy treats + two walks in the park a day = ultimate dog happiness, according to new research.

Even though exercise was found to be a key element in the formula for canine happiness, the study by M&S Bank found that four in ten owners don't know how much exercise their pet needs. And more than one in 10 are failing to meet the recommended exercise requirements for their four-legged friends.

The study of 2,000 dog owners found some of the most common reasons for avoiding the recommended one walk a day were unpredictable weather, a lack of time and being too tired.

The research comes as M&S Bank has announced new dog insurance customers will receive a PitPat activity monitor, to support owners with the health and well-being of their dogs.

4 key elements for canine happiness

To develop the formula for canine happiness, M&S Bank enlisted the help of celebrity dog therapist, Nigel Reed.

Nigel notes there are four key elements required to make a dog happy, known as the ‘Pyramid of Dog Needs’ he says: “These comprise a fine balance of physiological, safety, belonging and esteem needs. Regular exercise is an overarching factor, as it is a vital component of canine happiness.”

“It’s great to see activities, such as walks in the park, cuddles and belly rubs feature so prominently in the research into what owners believe makes a happy dog. These aspects fit within the ‘belonging’ and ‘esteem’ components of the canine happiness formula, as they contribute to mental and physical health.
“The key to a happy dog is finding and maintaining a balance across all four elements. Regular exercise is a fundamental aspect to a dog’s well-being.”

Border collie owners were revealed to be the most diligent with walking their dogs, with six in 10 declaring their dogs get more than enough outdoor time.

  • New M&S Bank pet insurance customers receive a free gift with every policy. Either a PitPat – Dog Activity Monitor (RRP £39.99) with every new dog policy, or a £20 M&S voucher to spend in store with each cat policy.

Things that make a dog happy

  1. Seeing me walk through the door
  2. Cuddles
  3. Belly rubs
  4. Doggy treats
  5. Playing in the park
  6. Two or more walks a day
  7. Daily exercise
  8. Playing ball games
  9. Seeing the lead
  10. Sleeping on our bed
  11. Playing with cuddly toys
  12. Exploring a new location on a walk
  13. Meeting other dogs
  14. Eating people's leftovers
  15. Playing in water
  16. Sat by my feet
  17. Chasing squirrels/birds
  18. Sunbathing
  19. Home-cooked treat meals e.g. steak
  20. Tickles
  21. Keeping cool