Health Benefits of Dog Ownership

A woman holding a small dog

My friend Cheryl and I have arisen very early over the past 10 years, to enjoy a daily 3-5 mile walk. During these walks, we meet numerous neighbors most of whom are walking their dogs. I noticed that very few of these frequent walkers are overweight. It made me wonder if any studies existed that would prove that dog ownership keeps you slimmer and possibly healthier.

According to Dixie Thompson, director of the Center for Physical Activity and Health, there are several. These studies show that dog owners are more likely to meet recommended levels of physical activity than non-dog owners. Additionally, research shows that older adults (70-82) who continue to walk their dogs tended to walk at a faster pace and maintain their overall flexibility and mobility as they age.

Research shows that children in households with dogs are more active and less likely to be obese compared with children from households without dogs. However, dog ownership alone is not enough to battle physical inactivity and obesity.

To win these battles it takes a combination of exercise, diet, and personal commitment. These studies also show that having a dog provided the extra motivation and accountability to build physical activity into daily life. So I say, stay healthy, get a dog!

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