How do you get a tech loving child to step away from the game consoles and tablets and start making memories this summer? Get a dog! A survey by Dogs Trust, the UK’s largest dog welfare charity, found that parents cite** the family dog as a distraction for kids that are ordinarily glued to tech, 42% say the family take more exercise thanks to the pet dog and (44%) think their dog is their child’s best friend.

Today our nation’s children are spending more time playing indoors on technology than ever before, so the charity is keen to highlight the benefits of dog ownership for the whole family. 

Today [10th August] Dogs Trust launches its Get A Dog campaign to inspire families to start making technology-free memories this summer. The charity has also created a playful video that demonstrates the humorous inadequacy of an iPad or Wii, compared to the fun that can be had with a pet, and encourages parents to consider getting a family dog.

The survey also asked current parents about their own childhoods and found that overwhelmingly growing up with a dog is seen as a positive part of their childhood:

·         69% of parents surveyed grew up with a dog and of those, 93% believe their family pet enriched their own childhood.

·         Of those surveyed who felt their family dog enriched their childhood, 39% said it taught them responsibility.

·         Now that they are parents themselves, over half (54%) of those polled who had a pet dog when they were younger now have one for their own children

·         43% of those who have dogs now have sentimentally chosen the same breed they had when they were growing up.

Owning a dog as a family can be extremely rewarding as dogs can act as companions and support for children. They can also provide children with a sense of responsibility as they can get involved with their daily care and understand the commitment involved in owning a dog. In addition, it can mean that children are often more physically active, playing with the dog and taking them for walks, which can help with health related issues.

Dogs Trust Chief Executive, Adrian Burder, comments:

“No one remembers a day spent gaming, but a family day out making memories with your dog won’t be forgotten. The summer holidays are a fantastic time to introduce a new dog to your family because the kids are around to enjoy those special first months together. It’s time to put down the iPad and walk away from the Wii and… get a dog. Dogs Trust has 20 Rehoming Centre across the UK, full of rescue dogs ready and waiting to start making memories with you and your family.”