The Gerontologist, Volume 57, Issue 5, 1 October 2017, Pages 930–93
We used data from the 12th wave (2012) of the Health and Retirement Study…
…Dog walking was associated with lower body mass index, fewer activities of daily living limitations, fewer doctor visits, and more frequent moderate and vigorous exercise. People with higher degrees of pet bonding were more likely to walk their dog and to spend more time walking their dog each time, but they reported walking a shorter distance with their dog than those with weaker pet bonds. Dog ownership was not associated with better physical health or health behaviors.
This study provides evidence for the association between dog walking and physical health using a large, nationally representative sample. The relationship with one’s dog may be a positive influence on physical activity for older adults.