Walking dogs can raise injury risk for seniors: study suggests

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(Photo: CGTN)

CHICAGO, March 7 (Xinhua) -- Walking leashed dogs could put senior citizens at risk of bone fractures, a new study published Wednesday suggested.

After reviewing injury surveillance database for patients 65 or older at about 100 U.S. emergency departments, researches of the University of Pennsylvania found that fracture injuries associated with leashed dogs walking have increased significantly from 1,671 cases in 2004 to 4,396 in 2017, representing a 163 percent increase, which was higher than fractures from other types of activities.

According to the study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, among those injured while walking dogs, hip fractures were seen most often, accounting for 17 percent of the injuries in the database. This may raise particular concerns as mortality rates related to hip fractures in patients over 65 are close to 30 percent.

The research also suggested that preventive actions such as obedience training to ensure that dogs do not lunge while leashed, or smaller dog breeds for individuals contemplating ownership could minimize the fracture risk for the elderly.

"This study highlights that while there are undoubtedly pros to dog walking, patients' risks for falls must be factored into lifestyle recommendations in an effort to minimize such injuries," Kevin Pirruccio, the study's lead author, said in a statement published on American website Science Daily.