LONDON, June 11 /PRNewswire/ -- Parents with dogs claim that since the arrival of their four-legged friend their children are less stressed and fitter. Research conducted by Mars Petcare reveals the beneficial impact pet dogs can have on children's lives with nearly half of all dog owners commenting that their children do more walking since their dog arrived. A quarter say they witnessed improvements in their children's health and fitness.

Dog owners believe that, not only has their family's level of exercise increased since getting a dog, but their family bond has also been strengthened as they now spend more time playing together or walking the dog.

Forty per cent of dog-owning parents comment that despite the increasing popularity of computers and video games, playing with the family pooch still tops the list of their children's favourite pastimes. Dogz and Puppy Luv may be top selling computer games but it seems that children prefer the real thing!

Nicki Waterman, dog owner and one of the UK's foremost fitness experts comments, "This research by Mars Petcare highlights the positive impact a pet dog can bring to a child's life. Walking and playing with the dog are both brilliant forms of exercise and also a great way to coax children outside and away from the TV."

According to the research conducted by Mars Petcare, makers of Pedigree and Cesar, families with dogs spend more time out and about exploring. One in three dog owners say that they and their family visit their local park more frequently since the arrival of their canine companion and 22 per cent now choose to walk the dog, rather than use their car, as they run errands.

'Petsercise', supported by Mars Petcare provides further ideas about how families can exercise and have fun with their dogs. An information booklet includes a guide to the level of fitness needed and also includes some practical advice and top veterinary tips on medical considerations.

More information about Petsercise can be found on the Pet Health Council website Please contact +44-(0)207-255-1100 for a copy of the booklet.

Note to Editors:

The survey was conducted by from 03.04.08 - 18.04.08. The sample was 849 UK dog owners that are parents.

For more information contact: Katherine Wood / Natalie Andrews, +44-(0)207-255 5431 / +44-(0)207-255-5437, ,