Owning a dog has many benefits, and a great one is the exercise you get from taking the leashed pet for walks. But there's also a potential risk for older adults who walk their dogs: broken bones. According to a study published online March 6, 2019, by JAMA Surgery, researchers who combed through 13 years' worth of data from emergency departments across the United States identified a rising number of fractures among older adults walking leashed dogs: 1,700 in 2004, climbing to almost 4,400 in 2017. Most (53%) of the bone breaks were in the upper arm, and 17% were hip fractures. Almost 30% of the patients required hospital admission during the study period. Either a large dog (which can knock you down or pull you over) or a small dog (which can get under your feet) can pose a fall risk, especially if you have problems with balance. How can you protect yourself? The authors suggest obedience training can help keep Fido from putting you at risk.
Image: © monkeybusinessimages/Getty Images
As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.