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Depression, anxiety and loneliness are some of the biggest issues affecting young people aged 23 and younger, but a new survey conducted by pet food brand EUKANUBA shows a desire for companionship is driving dog ownership amongst Generation Z.

As well as stress at work and at school, loneliness and weight-related issues, one in five young people also claim to suffer from bullying both on and offline, while 19% feel pressure to conform to social media ideologies. This could be why almost half (46%) of dog owners born between 1996-2016 cited companionship as the top reason for getting a dog, and the majority of young people (84%) said they looked for comfort from everyday pressure in their canine friends.

Those who took part in the survey said their overall wellbeing and happiness improved after getting a dog

The survey, which involved 1,000 dog owners across the UK, found that the average age of a first-time dog owner in the UK is 18, with 90% wholly responsible for the family pet by the time they reach 16-years-old.

One in four Gen Z-ers claim their overall wellbeing and happiness is better since getting a dog, with their fitness, mental wellbeing and physical health seeing the most improvement. Two thirds (69%) also feel their relationships with friends and family have benefited as a result of bringing a dog into their life, while 39% feel their confidence has improved.

Roxy and her Cockapoo Poppy are the stars of a new children’s book

Roxy’s story

The results from the survey have helped inspire a new heart-warming children’s book, written by 17-year-old Roxy Carr about her special bond with Cockapoo Poppy.

The EUKANUBA Live Life Well Together Ambassadors from Bournemouth share their story in A Pawfect Pair to celebrate the benefits of living life with dogs. In the book, Roxy talks about dog ownership and the friendships they’ve encountered along the way, which she hopes will inspire the next generation of dog owners.

Says Roxy, “I’ve always been a dog lover, but I was inspired to get my own after seeing the close relationship of Britain’s Got Talent winners, Ashleigh Butler and her dog, Pudsey. After spending a summer persuading my parents to let me get my own pup, I finally found Poppy. She’s my best friend. We do everything together and even compete in agility competitions all over the UK!” 

EUKANUBA has released ‘A Pawfect Pair’, a children’s book designed to celebrate dog ownership

Commenting on the activity, Kellie Ceccarelli, EUKANUBA’s Veterinary External Relations Manager says, “The survey results not only show that dog ownership is important to Britain’s youth, but also just how disconnected many young adults feel. At EUKANUBA, we’re passionate about helping owners of every age to live life well together with their dogs. While caring for a dog is a responsibility that should only be taken on by those who have the time and patience, the results highlight how powerful the connection between humans and dogs truly is, and how beneficial this relationship can be for positive mental health.

“This is one of the reasons why we created the book, A Pawfect Pair, to highlight the special bond between dog and owner, as well as showing what’s truly important in today’s fast paced world. By telling the inspiring story of Roxy and her friends on the EUKANUBA Ambassador Programme, we want to inspire pet owners of all ages to share a long healthy life with their dogs.” 

To promote the children’s book, the pet food brand has also teamed up with former Britain’s Got Talent winner, Ashleigh Butler, who says, “It’s great to see that so many young people are interested in dog ownership today. I’m delighted to be part of EUKANUBA’s new campaign, celebrating the special bond owners have with their dogs. I hope that in so doing, I can help to inspire the younger generation about the benefits of dog ownership and raise awareness of how they can live life well with their canine companions – just like me and Sully!”

Visit the EUKANUBA website to download a free digital copy. You could also be in with a chance of winning a signed hard copy by joining the My VIP competition supported by Pets at Home or by visiting the EUKANUBA stand at Crufts 2019. 

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