The association between dog ownership and physical activity in adults – a brief review

Lara Eldering, Sarah Martin


This brief review explores the research question: Do dog owners have increased levels of physical activity and improved weight loss outcomes compared to non-dog owners?

Full Text:

PDF Export Citation


1. Better Health Channel. Dog walking—the health benefits. Victoria: Better Health Channel [Cited 2016 November 2]. Available from: 2. Australian Bureau of Statistics. Special feature: Household pets. Canberra: Australian Social Trends; 1995 [Cited 2016 October 30] Available from: 3. Christian HE, Westgarth C, Bauman A, et al. Dog ownership and physical activity: A review of the evidence. Journal of Physical Activity & Health. 2013;10(5):750–9. 4. Australian Bureau of Statistics. Overweight and Obesity. Canberra: Profiles of Health, Australia; 2011-13 [Cited 2016 October 30]. Available from: 5. Bauman AE, Russell SJ, Furber SE, et al. The epidemiology of dog walking: An unmet need for human and canine health. The Medical Journal of Australia. 2001;175(11-12):632–4. 6. Australian Government Department of Health. Australia's physical activity and sedentary behaviour guidelines. 2014 [Cited 2016 October 30]. Available from: 7. Garcia DO, Wertheim BC, Manson JE, et al. Relationships between dog ownership and physical activity in postmenopausal women. Preventive Medicine, 2015;70:33–8. 8. Gretebeck KA, Radius K, Black DR, et al. Dog ownership, functional ability, and walking in community-dwelling older adults. Journal of Physical Activity & Health. 2013;10(5):646–55. 9. Lentino C, Visek AJ, McDonnell K, et al. Dog walking is associated with a favorable risk profile independent of moderate to high volume of physical activity. Journal of Physical Activity & Health. 2012;9(3):414–20. 10. Soares J, Epping JN, Owens CJ, et al. Odds of getting adequate physical activity by dog walking. Journal of Physical Activity & Health. 2015;12 Suppl 1, S102-9. 11. Curl AL, Bibbo J, Johnson RA. Dog Walking, the Human-Animal Bond and Older Adults' Physical Health. The Gerontologist. 2016; March 21. 12. Critical Appraisal Skills Programme (CASP). CASP Checklists UK; 2013 [Cited 2016 May 20]. Available from:!casp-tools-checklists/c18f8 13. Pachana NA, Ford JH, Andrew B, et al. Relations between companion animals and self-reported health in older women: Cause, effect or artifact? International Journal of Behavioral Medicine. 2005;12(2):103–10. 14. Parslow RA, Jorm, AF. Pet ownership and risk factors for cardiovascular disease: Another look. The Medical Journal of Australia. 2003;179(9):466–8. 15. Salmon J, Timperio A, Chu B, et al. Dog ownership, dog walking, and children's and parents' physical activity. Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport. 2010;81(3):264–71. 16. Jr TR, Kreisle RA, Glickman LT, et al. Physical activity and pet ownership in year 3 of the health ABC study. Journal of Aging & Physical Activity. 2006;14(2):154–68. 17. Utz R. Walking the dog: The effect of pet ownership on human health and health behaviors. Social Indicators Research. 2014;116(2):327–39. 18. Kushner RF, Blatner, DJ, Jewell, DE, et al. The PPET study: People and pets exercising together. Obesity (Silver Spring, Md.). 2006;14(10):1762–70. 19. Jr TR, Simonsick, EM, Brach, JS, et al. Dog ownership, walking behavior, and maintained mobility in late life. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. 2006;54(9):1419–24. 20. Reeves MJ, Rafferty AP, Miller CE, et al. The impact of dog walking on leisure-time physical activity: Results from a population-based survey of Michigan adults. Journal of Physical Activity & Health. 2011;8(3):436–44. 21. The Humane Society of the United States. Pets by Numbers. US Pet Ownership, Community Cat and Shelter Population Estimates. [Cited 2016 November 30] Available from: 22. Richards EA. Does Dog Walking Predict Physical Activity Participation Results from a National Survey. American Journal of Health Promotion. 2016 May 5. 23. Schofield G, Mummery K, Steele R. Dog ownership and human health-related physical activity: An epidemiological study. Health Promotion Journal of Australia: Official Journal of Australian Association of Health Promotion Professionals. 2005;16(1):15–19.

This website uses cookies to enhance your experience and to help us improve the site. Please see our Privacy Policy for further information. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive these cookies. You can change your cookie settings at any time. I accept / More info