A new study suggests that dog walking can potentially be hazardous for senior citizens.
While previous research has suggested going on a walk with a K9 companion can be a good health move for seniors, now researchers at the University of Pennsylvania are warning that going on a walk with a leashed dog could impart “a significant and rising injury risk in older adults.”
The study was published Wednesday in JAMA.
The issue comes less with actually walking the dog and more with what might happen if a leashed dog becomes a bit more active than the person walking it, ultimately causing that person to fall.
According to the study, between 2004 and 2017 the number of bone fractures in patients ages 65 and older doubled, with the number of fractures that happened while walking a dog rising significantly higher than fractures from other types of activities.
Dog walking is often suggested to elderly people by their physician as a way to get more exercise. The study suggests that while the act of walking might be good for patients, adding a dog into the mix might add a layer of risk for older patients that are more vulnerable to falls and fractures.