PAWGUST promotes the link between daily exercise and a happy pup

August 05, 2019
Two people walking in the park, pushing a young child in a pram and walking a Chocolate Labrador

This year, for the launch of PAWGUST 2019, we're excited to share a new Dog Happiness Quiz to help dog owners assess their best friend's wellbeing.

PAWGUST is an annual fundraising challenge encouraging people to commit to walking their pooches 30 minutes a day for 30 days during August. According to Dognitive Therapist and PAWGUST Ambassador Laura Vissaritis (known as Laura V), daily exercise can 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."

With only 30% of dog owners reportedly walking their dog every day, Laura V says people could be ignoring a vital way to ensure their pups are feeling their healthiest and happiest. She is urging all dog 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. You're making a commitment to regular exercise, which is healthy for dogs and owners, while raising funds for Guide Dogs Australia."

According to Laura V, 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 is, in fact, a sign that a dog is feeling anxious. Things like yawning or certain tail wags can actually indicate that your dog is experiencing distress," said Laura V.

"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," said Laura V.

Guide Dogs is calling on you to walk your dog daily this PAWGUST

Guide Dogs SA/NT Chief Executive Officer, Aaron Chia said, "There's no denying people in South Australia love their dogs, but we need to commit to walking them every day. Not only does daily exercise boost our wellbeing, but the mental and physical wellbeing of our pets as well. By getting involved in PAWGUST, dog owners and their dogs can improve their health while raising funds for an important cause."

"Guide Dogs SA/NT plays a vital role in enabling access and inclusion for people living with vision impairment. Our orientation and mobility services, including Guide Dogs, support our clients to move through their communities safely and independently," Mr Chia went on to say.

"It costs in excess of $35,000 to raise and train a Guide Dog, so we need the support of as many people as possible to ensure we continue to enable independence, social inclusion and wellbeing for people living with vision impairment in South Australia."

This PAWGUST, people can pledge to walk their best mate for 30 minutes a day for 30 days and ask their friends and family to sponsor them to raise vital funds for Guide Dogs Australia. Take our Dog Happiness Quiz and register for PAWGUST at: