Dog walking? Good for your health!

Dog walking: its association with physical activity guideline adherence and its correlates. OBJECTIVE: We examined the prevalence and correlates of dog walking among dog owners, and whether dog walking is associated with meeting the American College of Sports Medicine/American Heart Association physical activity guidelines. METHODS: In March 2008, we mailed a survey to dog-owning clients from two San Diego County veterinary clinics. Useable data were obtained from 984 respondents, and 75 of these completed retest surveys. We assessed associations between potential correlates and

dog walking (i.e., yes/no dog walking for at least 10 min in past week).RESULTS: Test-retest reliability of measures was generally high. Approximately one-third of the sample (31.5%) were not dog walkers. Proportions of dog walkers versus non-dog walkers meeting United States guidelines were 64.3% and 55.0%, respectively. Dog walking was independently associated with meeting guidelines in a multivariate model (odds ratio=1.59, p=0.004). Three variables were independently associated with dog walking in a multivariate model: dog encouragement of dog walking, dog-walking obligation, and dog-walking self-efficacy. CONCLUSION: Dog walking was associated with meeting physical activity guidelines, making it a viable method for promoting physical activity. Dog-walking obligation and self-efficacy may be important mediators of dog walking and may need to be targeted if interventions are to be successful.Published by Elsevier Inc.Authors: Hoerster KD, Mayer JA, Sallis JF, Pizzi N, Talley S, Pichon LC, Butler DA. San Diego State University Graduate School of Public Health,San Diego, USA.  Katherine Hoerster News from: PubMed U.S. National Library of Medicine ~ Dog walking is both a pastime and a

profession involving the act of a person walking with a dog, typically from the dog’s residence and then returning. This constitutes part of the daily exercise regime needed to keep a dog healthy. It also provides exercise and companionship for the walker. In the UK, The Kennel Club conducted a survey of 1,000 dog owners and found that one in five did not walk their dogs on a daily basis. Dog owners who are working professional couples are sometimes referred to by the acronym DOWDies, or Dog Owners With Dollars online. Dogs are walked with a collar around their neck, or a dog harness,or by following their owner by familiarity and verbal control (where safe). Commonly the dog is walked by the owner, or another family member, but there are also professional dog walkers. Professional dog walkers, both individuals and businesses, are paid by dog owners to walk their dogs for them, and some walkers take many dogs for a walk at once. In some jurisdictions dog walking businesses must be licensed and have animal first-aid-trained employees. Professional dog walking services can be obtained locally or thorough online referral services such as Dog walkers in the United States can post their services for free in places such as SkillSlate which lets customers review different services, and enables service providers to specify hours and fees and contact information. GoodNews International

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