DOG owners in the south east are walking their furry friends to get some peace and quiet, a new study has found.

As well as exercising their pooch, 79 per cent believe this space is a vital de-stressing tool in the hustle and bustle of life, while time spent with mans’ best friend gives more that eight in 10 of owners valuable thinking time.

The study of 2,000 dog owners also revealed 79 per cent in the south east see it as a chance to escape from the stresses of everyday life.

The data revealed that 25 per cent of dog owners in the south east have used a walk to contemplate whether to end a relationship, with 13 per cent saying they have thought about divorce.

Almost six in ten claim the daily dog walk is the only point in the day they are guaranteed some peace and quiet, with almost half saying getting some regular ‘me time’ is the best part of their walk.

It emerged almost one in five dog owners have made a major life decision while out walking their pet, allowing them space to ‘mull over’ any problems or dilemmas they may be facing and finding a solution.

Gemma Cunningham, brand manager for YuMOVE, which commissioned the research, said: “Walking the dog is one of the most important jobs as an owner.

"But while it is primarily for the benefit of the dog, it can also be beneficial for dog owners too.

“Getting away from everyday life for a bit while you go on a quiet stroll can give you some much needed time with mans best friend to clear your head and enjoy some time to yourself – something many can struggle to get otherwise.

“Not only is it good for your own health and wellbeing, but you can be safe in the knowledge that your beloved pooch is also going to be better off for it.”

The study found the average dog owner in the south east heads out on eight walks with their pet during the week, with each one lasting around 30 minutes, effectively providing four hours of thinking time per week for the walker.