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PAWGUST 2020 - Get active with your dogs in August 2020

Dogs helped 80% of Australians stay paw-sitive during Covid restrictions

But new research from Guide Dogs finds we are failing to reward furry companions with enough walkies.

2020 hasn’t been a ‘good boy’ so far, and dogs have played a vital role in keeping Aussies smiling during a tough start to the year. But according to new Guide Dogs research, dog owners aren’t repaying the favour and giving man’s best friend the exercise they needed during COVID-19 restrictions.

The survey [1] of 1,000 dog owners found four out of five Aussies (81%) relied on ‘puppy-love’ for emotional support and a positive frame of mind during the height of the pandemic, however, this wasn’t reciprocated when it came to dog walking.

Before COVID-19 restrictions, over 70 per cent of owners weren’t walking their dog at least once a day.

During restrictions this hardly changed and owners admitted to walking their dogs for shorter distances over shorter periods than they usually would.

Ten per cent didn’t walk their beloved pooches at all.

The study was conducted as part of PAWGUST, a campaign in its third year that is inviting the public to give back to their dogs who have helped them through COVID-19 by committing to a 30-minute walk together for 30 days in August. That’s roughly 2km a day and 60km in total - no small feat in the middle of winter!

Guide Dogs NSW/ACT CEO, Dale Cleaver said: “The lockdown period highlighted an interesting change in dynamic for Aussies and their pets, with many people able to spend quality time with their dog, but also confined to their homes for large parts of their day – something that our pet dogs are all too familiar with.”

“To reward their furry friends’ companionship in the most valuable way, we’re encouraging dog owners to get out and enjoy a walk together every day in August.”

The research from Guide Dogs also revealed that if they weren’t man’s best friend before COVID-19 restrictions, they certainly are now, with 70 per cent of respondents reporting feeling closer to their dog as a result of restrictions, and half worried that returning to work might emotionally impact their dogs.

Dog ownership also spiked with 63 per cent of dog owners saying they know someone who got a new dog during restrictions, and 18 per cent knowing five or more.

More than half (53%) said they chatted more with other dog owners while walking during restrictions, and 40 per cent increased their dog-related social media activity.

Dog owners around the country can now give back by signing up to PAWGUST

By getting friends and family to sponsor them, they will also contribute to raising and training Guide Dogs, which costs roughly $50,000 per dog but provides years of independence and companionship to someone with blindness or low vision.

“At Guide Dogs we are always grateful to our dogs, and PAWGUST is about encouraging Australians to join us by getting the steps in with their four-legged friend while raising money to help us raise and train more Guide Dogs at the same time,” said Mr Cleaver.

Australians can sign up for PAWGUST or donate by visiting

[1] The research is based on a survey of 1,000 Australian dog owners, conducted via online survey method in June 2020.

About Pawgust

Back for its third year, PAWGUST is an initiative from Guide Dogs that is encouraging Australian dog owners to challenge themselves to walk their dogs for thirty minutes a day for thirty days in August to raise vital funds that help to support people living with vision loss and blindness. It costs more than $50,000 to breed, raise and train a Guide Dog or Assistance Dog.

Register at:

About Guide Dogs Australia

Guide Dogs Australia is the trading name of Royal Guide Dogs Australia which is the national organisation comprised of the state and territory-based Guide Dogs organisations across Australia. Together these organisations are the leading providers of both Guide Dogs and orientations and mobility services assisting Australians with blindness or low vision. Their services include mobility training with long canes, Guide Dogs and electronic travel device such as talking GPS technology, to enable people with blindness or low vision to get around their communities independently. 

Visit or call 1800 804 805.

MEDIA RELEASE, 8th July 2020

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