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Dogs make people more sociable

Wednesday February 19th 2014

Researchers at the University of Chicago have found that owning a dog can help people be more sociable.

Those that have a canine pet felt less isolated than those that own cats, lizards and hamsters, the study suggested.

"We find that dogs are associated with less loneliness," Professor John Cacioppo told the American Association for the Advancement of Science's conference.

"Unfortunately for cat owners, cats, reptiles and rodents aren't associated with a difference.

"We didn't determine what it was about a dog - but one of the things that dogs require that other pets don't is that you have to walk them.

"When you take them out and walk them you get exercise and you meet your neighbours. I don't know about you, but I've met neighbours over the years through my children and my pets.

"I think my dog also likes me and that may be part of it. But it may not. I think this getting out, walking, talking to people could be sufficient for a dog's health benefits relative to other pets."

Chris Laurence, former veterinary director of Dogs Trust, said that owners often stop and have a chat when dogs greet each other when out on a walk.

"If you are out with your dog, most people who are walking a dog will say "hello" at least, but other people without dogs just walk past," he said.

Copyright Press Association 2014

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