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By Pooja Toshniwal Paharia
Mar 6, 2024
Reviewed by Lily Ramsey, LLM
In a recent study published in BMC Public Health, researchers investigated the impact of the human-dog bond on physical activity (PA), lifestyle, and health outcomes in dog owners (DO).

Understanding the Human-Dog Connection

Researchers have long emphasized the importance of a healthy lifestyle in preventing chronic diseases. This new study delves into how the strength of the bond between dog owners and their pets influences their level of physical activity, as measured by accelerometry, and overall well-being. The research team analyzed data from 38 dog owners, focusing on various factors including socio-demographics, self-rated health, the Lexington Attachment Pet Scale, and the FANTASTICO Lifestyle Assessment Scale.

Insights from the Study

The findings revealed significant correlations between light-level physical activity in dog owners and vigorous physical activity in their pets. Owners who reported a closer attachment to their dogs were more likely to engage in walking their pets, which was linked to better self-rated health and more attention to the health of their pets. Additionally, employed owners showed higher levels of physical activities compared to those who were unemployed. The study also noted that dogs with a higher BMI were walked more frequently by their owners, highlighting the role of the human-animal bond in promoting physical activity.

Health Benefits Beyond the Walk

The study underscores the positive impact of a strong human-dog bond on adopting healthier habits and improving the health perception of both the owners and their pets. It suggests that the emotional and physical connection shared with pets can significantly influence lifestyle choices, encouraging more active participation in physical activities and leading to improved health outcomes. This research adds to the growing body of evidence on the benefits of pet ownership, pointing to the need for further exploration into how these relationships can be leveraged for better health.

This research not only highlights the physical benefits of dog ownership but also emphasizes the profound emotional connection between humans and their pets, suggesting that this bond plays a crucial role in fostering a healthier, more active lifestyle.

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